Leonora Duarte

Last night, I attended a concert by Sonnambula, an early music consort, at the Cloisters. Their program was built around works by Leonora Duarte, one of the few women composers from the period whose music has survived. The music aside, the focus on Duarte added layers of thought about her life, the Jewish diaspora, the nexus of cultures that flourished in Antwerp during the 17th century. And then, of course, one wonders, with her talent, what her life might have been like were it not for the limitations imposed on her because of her sex. Instead of the world visiting her in her father’s household, she would have been out and about, visiting the world.