Composer, musicologist and pianist Kayleen Asbo, the acclaimed cultural historian for the Santa Rosa Symphony, will introduce us through lecture and performance to four of the most fascinating women from music history. Meet Hildegard von Bingen, a Benedictine abbess of the 12th century whose art, music and writings about nature contain revelations of wonder for our own time; Italian courtesan Barbara Strozzi, whose ravishing works for voice and lute are models of intimate sensuality; the genteel Fanny Mendelssohn, who was the musical colleague and soul mate of her famous brother Felix, and whose own magnificent 400+ compositions (some published under Felix’s name) are only being rediscovered and published in the past few decades. Our afternoon ends with a performance of the music of the heroic Clara Schumann, dubbed the “High Priestess of the Piano” by Franz Liszt, a woman whose lifelong career as celebrated performer and teacher also encompassed the role of mother to eight children, muse and champion for both her beloved husband Robert Schumann and her devoted friend Johannes Brahms.
Kayleen Asbo is a passionate scholar: a cultural historian, musician, writer and teacher who weaves myth, music, psychology, history and art with experiential learning. A faculty member of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for seventeen years, Kayleen also teaches regularly for the Osher Life Long Learning Institutes at UC Berkeley, Sonoma State University and Dominican University. Her classes on a wide array of topics ranging from Depth Psychology to Dante to Contemporary Classical Music have been hailed as “inspirational,” “fascinating and compelling,” “transformational” and “truly life-changing.”
Educated at Smith College, Mills College, the San Francisco Conservatory, Pacifica Graduate Institute and the University of California, Kayleen wrote her Ph.D dissertation on Passion and Paradox: The Myths of Mary Magdalene in Music, Art and Culture. Kayleen also holds three master’s degrees: one each in music (piano performance), mythology and psychology. Kayleen has been a guest presenter and lecturer on the intersection of history, mythology, psychology and the arts at Oxford University in England, the Assisi Institute of Depth Psychology Conference in Italy, the Houston Jung Institute, Chartres Cathedral in France, Grace Cathedral and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. In 2016, she has taken on the roles as a pre-concert lecturer with the San Francisco Opera and Santa Rosa Symphony and has become a consultant in archetypal psychology, myth and ritual for Proctor and Gamble.
The Creative Director and Resident Mythologist for the Mythica Foundation for Education, Contemplation and the Arts, Kayleen leads workshops and retreats throughout the country and offers a pilgrimage to sacred sites in France every year.