Birth Date: Summer of 1098
Date of Death: 17 September 1179 (aged 81)
Place of Birth: Bermersheim, Holy Roman Empire
Place of Death: Rupertsberg, Holy Roman Empire
Nationality: German
Occupation/Field of Study Benedictine abbess and polymath; fourth female Doctor of the Church.


KEYWORDS: Hildegard of Bingen, Sibyl of the Rhine, monastic women, science and art



A Benedictine abbess, the founder of two convents, writer, preacher, advisor to the powerful and powerless alike, composer, healer, visionary, and even exorcist1 (p.9), Hildegard of Bingen was one of the most important thinkers of the twelfth century renaissance2 (p.62) and remains the earliest woman whose scientific work has survived intact2  (p.63). Her achievements bear even more gravity when one considers the potential hindrances, personal and political, to her success: her enclosure as an anchoress from a young age, her frequent debilitating illnesses, her defiance of orders from her superiors and the general historical unwillingness to properly record and disseminate the contributions of women to their fields – these impediments all add to the extraordinariness of her production and did not hamper several revivals of interest in Hildegard: despite some scholarly dismissal3 (p.xxiii), she has become widely recognised across fields for her contributions to her numerous areas of work.

Despite the diversity of her polymathic work, ranging in form from the artistic (having composed over seventy Gregorian chants, the Ordo Virtutum, the earliest known morality play4 [p.ix], and the Symphonia, a collection of several musical pieces), to the scientific (Physica and Causae et curae, two works on medicine), her focus was largely religious in nature: among her known works are three book-length accounts of her visions, biblical commentaries, hagiographies, and extensive correspondence with many important figures within the Catholic Church, as well as with many secular correspondents, such as Frederick Barbarossa or Eleanor of Aquitaine. She was also the creator of the lingua ignota, a “series of invented words corresponding to an eclectic list of nouns”1 (p.7), and its accompanying alphabet.

Her scientific work, although unrecognisable as such by contemporary standards, incorporating elements from the religious and drawing from now outdated theories of medicine, was produced as “a medieval phenomenon immersed in a medieval milieu”5 and must be understood as such. It arose in the context of the twelfth century Renaissance and its rediscovery of Greek and Arabic scientific production6 (, Hildegard being one of the earliest to display the influence of Arabic science2 (p.74), and although most of her scientific work appears in books without a visionary focus (that is, Liber simplicis medicinae and Liber subtilitatum diversarum naturarum creaturarum, compiled as the Physica in 15332 [p.66]), her ideas pervade even her accounts of her visions, the “vehicles by which God communicates truths about Christian belief and practice”7 (p.349).

Hildegard’s cosmology is discussed in her visionary texts Scivias, Liber vitae meritorum and Liber divinorum operum; she viewed the earth as spherical, surrounded by concentric, ovoid celestial layers2 (p.67-69). In keeping with medieval scientific thought2 (p.69), she puts forth her conception of the macro- and microcosm, illustrating the relationship between the universe and man, respectively1 (p.136). Hildegard proposed that they are structurally similar and that they influence one another, while connecting their relationship with contemporary anatomical knowledge2 (p.69-72), conceiving the body’s blood and humours as subject to changes enacted by the elements of her cosmology2 (p.72).

Hildegard’s Physica and Causae et curae are more practical scientific works, dedicated to human health5, and drawing partially from contemporary medical texts8 (p.22). In Physica, Hildegard lists the properties of almost three hundred plants, as well as many animals, stones, and metals2 (p.66), while Causae et curae “consist[s] of five books of medical theory and remedies”2 (p.66), with many of the ingredients for her medicines being closely tied to agriculture and the kitchen9 (p.399) and with a general focus on the traditional properties of hot, cold, wet, and dry associated with the natural philosophy of the time4 (p.xii). Hildegard was also one of the earliest women writing about human sexuality, with a serious, broad approach to its study, which contrasted with that of her contemporaries10 (p.149-50) and went as far as exploring sexual pleasure from a female perspective1 (p.97, see also “She Said It”) in what may be the earliest description of the female orgasm11.



The tenth daughter of nobles Hildebert and Mechtilde12 (p.13), Hildegard of Bingen was promised as a tithe to the Church9 (p.383). Hagiographical sources depict the young Hildegard as a precocious child with health problems, while her own writings detail her early visions, starting before the age of five1 (p.2). Around 1106, aged eight, Hildegard was sent to Jutta of Sponheim13 (p.3), a nobly-descended anchoress at the monastery of Disibodenberg, to share her minute dwellings and receive a religious education from her1 (p.3). They were presumably enclosed together in the fashion of contemporary anchorites: that is, in a cell with a single door and window, after a liturgical ceremony in which the office of the dead was recited13 (p.3); over time, however, the anchoress’ cell grew into a small monastery3 (p.xix). Sources provide scant detail until 1136, when Jutta died and Hildegard took over her position as magistra, elected unanimously1 (p.3). In 1141, aged 42, she experienced a sudden understanding of religious texts and described being divinely instructed to set her visions to writing1 (p.4), an order she initially defied out of hesitation and due to the “diverse sayings of men”1 (p.4). This was followed by a bout of illness, interpreted as divine punishment for her failure to write1 (p.4), leading her to consult with Volmar, a monk and later her advisor, friend13 (p.7), and amanuensis3 (p.xx), who assisted her, encouraged by Abbot Kuno of Disibodenberg1 (p.4). At the Synod of Trier (November 1147 – February 1148), Pope Eugenius III (1145-53) was told about the writings of Hildegard, and sent for a fragment of Scivias, reading it aloud to the participating clerics1 (p.5) and granting her apostolic license to write down her visions3 (p.xix).

Illumination from the Liber Scivias showing Hildegard receiving a vision and dictating to her scribe and secretary

As Hildegard’s fame grew, so did the number of nuns at Disibodenberg, reaching a point where they could no longer be accommodated. Hildegard then announced she was commanded by God to set up a new monastery at Rupertsberg1 (p.5), a move resisted by the monks at Disibodenberg, but ultimately approved, after a similar bout of incapacitating illness, by the Archbishop of Mainz, thanks to the influence of Richardis of Stade1 (p.6), Hildegard’s friend, ally and possible amanuensis1 (p.173). In the early Rupertsberg years, Hildegard began work on her music and medico-scientific texts and created her lingua ignota1 (p.7). In 1151, Richardis was appointed abbess of Bassum, part of the diocese of Bremen1 (p.173), a loss felt strongly by Hildegard, leading her to write to the Pope in what proved to be an unsuccessful appeal for Richardis to remain by her side1 (p.175).

Between 1158 and 1161, despite health troubles, her advanced age and the writing of her second visionary work, the Liber vitae meritorum, Hildegard undertook several preaching tours1 (p.8), preaching both to a clerical audience at monasteries and to the public at Trier, a rarity for a woman1 (p.9); her final tour, in 1170, took her on a 400km journey to several Swabian monasteries1 (p.9).

Hildegard began work on the Liber divinorum operum in 1163, and founded a new convent at Eibingen in 11651 (p.9). There were efforts to document her life and work while she was alive: after Volmar’s death in 1173, Gottfried of St. Disibod took over his position and began work on a hagiography of Hildegard13 (p.12), Vita sanctae Hildegardis, dying before he could finish it. In 1179, already after Hildegard’s death, Theodoric of Echternach completed the biographical work, drawing from her autobiographical writings13 (p.12).

In 1178, the year before Hildegard’s death, she defied the Mainz clergy’s commands to disinter a man buried at Rupertsberg1 (p.177), who they claimed, despite Hildegard’s testimony, had died excommunicate, and was thus not entitled to church burial9 (p.384). Hildegard’s refusal to obey resulted in an interdict being put in place, prohibiting all of the monastery’s religious activity9 (p.384), which was only lifted in March of the following year, after several denials, despite the intervention of the Archbishop of Köln, a friend of Hildegard’s, and his witnesses1 (p.178). Hildegard died on 17 September 1179, after predicting her own death to the nuns1 (p.11); her heart and tongue remain preserved in a reliquary at Rüdesheim am Rhein12 (p.3).



As an abbess, Hildegard held a considerable amount of power, especially when compared to her female contemporaries outside the monastic world. The medieval German abbess could own her own convent2 (p.62) and had jurisdiction over some geographical area2 (p.63), as well as a host of largely noble-born nuns with extravagant dowries2 (p.62). As for Hildegard’s intellectual adroitness, her early education – despite the faults she attributes to it3 (p.xxi) – and her presence in the monastic world seem to be factors in its development. The monastic context was one that presupposed some literacy, making it possible for women to engage in more intellectual work14 (p.192); on the other hand, Hildegard’s years at Disibodenberg, a double monastery housing both men and women9 (p.382-3), probably contributed to her erudition, as she would have access to a wider scope of culture than could be found at exclusively female religious communities9 (p.383) – Hildegard made full use of it, writing her theological texts in the Latin that identified “the male literary and theological élite”1 (p.43).

Around three hundred of Hildegard’s letters survive15 (p.3), detailing her extensive correspondence with eminent contemporary figures – including four popes13 (p.5); her letter to Pope Anastasius IV, in which she disparages him and his policies overtly13 (p.16), is particularly illustrative of both Hildegard’s power and her (carefully worded) factious disposition, also evident in her stern warnings to Frederick Barbarossa13 (p.77-78). Many of her letters were addressed to other monastic women – treated as equals15 (p.4) –, and the vast majority of her surviving epistolary work is primarily focused on theological subjects.

Hildegard’s canonisation process was a complex one that started in the thirteenth century and was only concluded in the twenty-first. Her death occurred around the time when Pope Alexander III began to formalise the canonisation process1 (p.11), assigning greater importance to official papal recognition. The first attempt to canonise Hildegard was initiated by the Rupertsberg nuns in the thirteenth century1 (p.12); the subsequent 1233 papal inquiry, led by the Mainz clergy, compiled accounts of her miracles: the resulting documentation was rejected and later amended1 (p.12), but the new version did not reach the relevant clerics. In the fourteenth century, however, Hildegard began being named in the martyrologies, and permission for her cult was granted by Avignon Pope John XXII in 13241 (p.12). Centuries later, on May 10th, 2012, she received an equivalent canonisation from Pope Benedict XVI16 and was proclaimed Doctor of the Universal Church on October 7 of the same year17.



O, woman, what a splendid being you are! For you have set your foundation in the sun, and have conquered the world.

cited by Joseph L. Baird / Radd K. Ehrmann (trans.) (1994), “Letter 52r: Hildegard to the Congregation of Nuns”, in The Letters of Hildegard of Bingen, vol. I, Oxford University Press, 128.


He Who Is says: By My own power, I do away with the obstinacy and rebellion of those who scorn Me. Woe, O woe to the evil of those wicked ones who spurn Me. Hear this, O king, if you wish to live. Otherwise, My sword will pierce you.

cited by Joseph L. Baird (ed.) (2006), “Letter 44 – to Frederick Barbarossa”, in The Personal Correspondence of Hildegard of Bingen, Oxford University Press, 78.


When a woman is making love with a man, a sense of heat in her brain, which brings with it sensual delight, communicates the taste of that delight during the act and summons forth the emission of the man’s seed. And when the seed has fallen into its place, that vehement heat descending from her brain draws the seed to itself and holds it, and soon the woman’s sexual organs contract, and all the parts that are ready to open up during the time of menstruation now close, in the same way as a strong man can hold something enclosed in his fist.

cited by Sabina Flanagan (1998), Hildegard of Bingen, 1098-1179: A Visionary Life, 2nd ed., London/New York, Routledge, 97.


The firmament contains stars just as a man has veins that hold him together […]. And just as the veins go from head to foot, so the stars are scattered throughout the sky. And just as blood moves in the veins and moves them with the pulse, so does the fire in stars move them, and emits sparks like the pulse […]. And the stars give beauty and heat to the firmament just as the veins give blood and heat to the liver. They are scattered throughout the firmament, both in the day and in the night, but we see them not in the day because, like peasants in the presence of princes, they cover themselves in the presence of the sun.

cited by Victoria Sweet (1999), “Hildegard of Bingen and the Greening of Medieval Medicine”, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 73 (#3), 390, <> (last accessed 5 May 2017).



Learned men
of the twentieth century, armed with large
finite numbers and radiotelescopes
as big as football fields to measure the pulse of light
from stars beyond the range
of human vision, conclude that this world,
all we call nature,
was once inside such a star.
Heisenberg shrugs
and says, “I am not sure
what an electron is,
but it’s something like a cloud of possibilities.”
saw it plain,
in the monastery at Rupertsberg,
midway through her life, in 1140 or so:
as a cloud,
leaf-green, shining,
containing stars …

“Vision: A Note on Astrophysics” from Little Girls in Church, by Kathleen Norris, © 1995. All rights are controlled by the University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Used by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.


I am delighted to announce that on 7 October, at the start of the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, I will proclaim St John of Avila and St Hildegard of Bingen Doctors of the Universal Church. These two great witnesses of the faith lived in two very different historical periods and cultural environments. Hildegard was a Benedictine nun in the heart of medieval Germany, an authentic teacher of theology and a profound scholar of natural science and music. […] But the sanctity of their [=Hildegard and John’s] life and the profundity of their doctrine render them perennially relevant: the grace of the Holy Spirit, in fact, projected them into the experience of penetrating understanding of divine revelation and intelligent dialogue with that world which constitutes the eternal horizon of the life and action of the Church.

Benedict XVI (27 May 2012), “Regina Cæli” (address), St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City, <> (last accessed 5 May 2017).


When Henry, fourth of that name, ruled the Holy Roman Empire, there lived in hither Gaul a virgin famed equally for the nobility of her birth and her sanctity. Her name was Hildegard. Her parents, Hildebert and Mechthilde, although wealthy and engaged in worldly affairs, were not unmindful of the gifts of the Creator and dedicated their daughter to the service of God. For when she was yet a child she seemed far removed from worldly concerns, distanced by a precocious purity.

Gottfried’s Vita sanctae Hildegardis (Book 1) cited by Sabina Flanagan (1998), Hildegard of Bingen, 1098-1179: A Visionary Life, 2nd ed., London/New York, Routledge, 1.


A woman of superior spirit, prophetess, illuminata, visionary, poet, wanderer, counselor to the common people, to counts and emperors, Hildegard represents the spirit of the twelfth century in Germany. And since she is in every respect a member of the female sex, just as her Latin is truly feminine, this contemplative virgin uses symbolism to direct her energies directly towards man, crying from the bottom of her heart and all her organs: ‘O how great in its forces is the flank of man!’

Rémy de Gourmont cited by Maud Burnett McInerney (1998), “Introduction: Hildegard of Bingen, Prophet and Polymath”, in Hildegard of Bingen: A Book of Essays, ed. Maud Burnett McInerney, New York/London, Garland Publishing, xxii.



1855: St. Hildegard Chapel (Kaplnka sv. Hildegardy) built in Sliač, present-day Slovakia.
1888: Hildegard von Bingen Gymnasium founded in Cologne, Germany.
1892: St. Rupert and St Hildegard’s Church built in Bingen am Rhein, Germany.
1904: Eibingen Abbey restored.
1912: St. Hildegard Church built in Kellenbach, Germany.
1918: The minor planet 898 Hildegard is discovered, named after her.
1927: St. Hildegard Church built in St. Ingbert, Germany.
1937: St. Hildegard Church founded in Berlin, Germany.
1960: St. Hildegard Church built in Wiesdorf, Germany.
1961: St. Hildegard Church built in Mannheim, Germany.
1963: St. Hildegard Church built in Rüngsdorf, Germany.
1967: St. Hildegard Church built in Limburg an der Lahn, Germany.
1979: Deutsche Bundespost stamp depicting Hildegard issued for the 800th anniversary of her death.
1983: International Society of Hildegard von Bingen Studies established.
1994: A recording of her music (Vision: Music of Hildegard von Bingen by Germaine Fritz/Emily van Evera) tops the Billboard Classical Crossover Chart for at least sixteen weeks.8
1998: Commemorative 10 DM coin depicting Hildegard issued in Germany.
1998: Deutsche Post stamp issued for her nine hundredth birthday.
2007: The Hildegarde [sic] Awards for Women in Media and Communication are established in her name.
2009: The Scivias Institute for Art & Spirituality is founded.
2009: Hildegard Center for the Arts is founded.
2012: Equivalent canonisation from Pope Benedict XVI.
2012: Proclaimed Doctor of the Universal Church by Pope Benedict XVI.
2016: Ignota Magazine, a queer artistic and cultural journal named after Hildegard’s lingua ignota, is founded.

The Historisches Museum am Strom – Hildegard von Bingen is located in Bingen am Rhein, Germany.

The plant genus Hildegardia was named after her.




Vaughan, William (1992), “THE CHVRCH MILITANT HERE ON EARTH FOVNDED AND RENEWED BY OVR SAVIOUR CHRIST”, in The Church Militant, Historically Continued from the Yeare of Our Saviours Incarnation 33. untill this present, Cambridge, Chadwyck-Healey [1640]. Poem.

Williams, William Carlos (1998), Paterson, Alexandria, VA, Chadwyck-Healey [1946]. Epic poem.

Cedering, Siv (1985), “Letter from Caroline Herschel (1750-1848)”, cited by Rubin, Vera (1996), Bright Galaxies, Dark Matters, New York, AIP Press and Springer, 184-185.

Gonick, Larry (1990), The Cartoon History of the Universe—Volumes 1-7: From the Big Bang to Alexander the Great, New York, NY, Doubleday.

Peck, John (1997), “En Avant de nos jours”, in The Poems and Translations of Hi-Lö, Cambridge, Chadwyck-Healey [1991]. [The first four lines of the poem quote Hildegard]

Lachmann, Barbara (1993), The Journal of Hildegard of Bingen: A Novel, New York, Bell Tower.

Ulrich, Ingeborg (1993), Hildegard of Bingen: Mystic, Healer, Companion of the Angels, trans. Linda M. Maloney, Collegeville, MN, Liturgical Press. Novel.

Norris, Kathleen (1998), “Vision: A Note on Astrophysics”, in Little Girls in Church, Alexandria, VA, Chadwyck-Healey [1995]. Poem.

Nesanovich, Stella (1996), A Brightness that Made My Soul Tremble: Poems on the Life of Hildegard of Bingen, Blue Heron Press.

Ohanneson, Joan (1997), Scarlet Music. Hildegard of Bingen: A Novel, New York, NY, Crossroad Publishing Company.

Baxter, Erika (1997), “A Song in the Manner of Hildegard von Bingen”, Massachusetts Review: a quarterly of literature, the arts, and public affairs, 38:3, 342. Poem.

Göbel, Gabriele (1998), Die Mystikerin – Hildegard von Bingen, Berlin, Aufbau Verlag. Novel.

Lehner, Christine (2002), “Lost in the mail”, Southwest Review, 87 (1), 106-20. [The narrator attends a lecture on Hildegard, whom her bulldog is named after, and also quotes her]

Makuck, Peter (2002), “Family”, The Hudson Review, 55 (3), 385-402. Short story [Hildegard is mentioned].

Molloy, Dorothy (2007), “Stigmata”, in Hare Soup, Cambridge, ProQuest LLC [2004]. Poem.

Noske, Edgar (2004), Der Fall Hildegard von Bingen: Ein Krimi aus dem Mittelalter, München, Goldmann Verlag. Novel.

Candelaria, Xochiquetzal (2005), “Here We Are”, Massachusetts Review: a quarterly of literature, the arts, and public affairs, 46 (3), 470. Poem.

Fugard, Athol (2006), “THE ABBESS: Based on an episode in the Life of Hildegard of Bingen”, South African Theatre Journal, 20:1, 339-375. Drama.

Winter, Jonah (2007), The Secret World of Hildegard, illus. Jeanette Winter, New York, NY, Arthur A. Levine Books. Children’s picture book.

Darré, Bettina (2008), Die Wächterin: Das Geheimnis der Hildegard von Bingen, Berlin, Aufbau Verlag. Novel.

Marstrand-Jørgensen, Anne Lise (2009), Hildegard, Oslo, Gyldendal. Translated excerpts from this novel have been published: Aitken, Martin (trans.) (2013), “Excerpts from Hildegard”, by Anne Lise Marstrand-Jørgensen, Scandinavian Review, 100 (1), 64-71.

Marstrand-Jørgensen, Anne Lise (2010), Hildegard II, Oslo, Gyldendal. Novel.

Gage, Carolyn (2011), Artemisia and Hildegard: An Exorcism In One Act, self-published. Drama; Artemisia and Hildegard talk about survival strategies for women artists.

Hedrun, Roswitha (2012), Die Hexenköchin, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. The main character, Dorith, draws from Hildegardian knowledge during her studying.

“Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen”, by Mary Sharrat (2012)

Sharratt, Mary (2012), Illuminations: a Novel of Hildegard von Bingen, Boston, MA, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Hoyt, Megan (2013), Hildegard’s Gift, illus. David Hill, Orleans, MA, Paraclete Press. Children’s book.

Coles, Katharine (2014), “Kept in Mind”, Poetry, May 2014. Poem.

Griffin, Gabriel (ed.) (2014), Hildegard: visions & inspiration, edited by Gabriel Griffin, Wyvern Works. Anthology of poems inspired by Hildegard.

Ohanneson, Joan (2014), Hildegard of Bingen: Lady of the Light, Woman for the World, New York, NY, Crossroad Publishing Company. Historical novel.

Ray, Joyce (2014), Feathers & Trumpets: A Story of Hildegard of Bingen, illus. Lisa Greenleaf, Amherst, NH, Apprentice Shop Books. Novel.

Hale, Diane Baia (2014), The Wisdom of Serpents: Hildegard von Bingen and Her Darkest Hour, Bloomington, IN, Xlibris. Drama.

Paintner, Christine Valters (17 Sep. 2014), “St. Hildegard Strolls through the Garden”, Abbey of the Arts: transformative living through contemplative and expressive arts. Poem.

Stewart-Nuñez, Christine (2016), Bluewords Greening, West Caldwell, NJ, Terrapin Books. Poetry.

Sterringer, Shanon Marie (2016), An Enchanted Journey: The HILDEGARDEN, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. Memoir interwoven with texts about Hildegard.

Marriage, Alwyn (2016), “Hildegard: Doctor of the Church”, A Medieval Woman’s Companion, ed. Susan Signe Morrison, <> (last accessed 21 Mar. 2017). Poem.

Nelson, Marilyn (2016), “Hildegard von Bingen”, The Hudson Review, LXIX (no. 2). Poem.

Trooger, Sabina (2016), Hildegard von Bingen: Roman eines brennenden Lebens, Hanau, Styx Verlag. Novel.



Richter, Jutta (text) / Peter Janssens (mus.) (1997), Hildegard von Bingen, Peter Janssens Musik Verlag, CD. Recording of a musical play (Singspiel) about Hildegard.

Gubaidulina, Sofia (comp.) (6 Jul. 1997), Aus den Visionen der Hildegard von Bingen, perf. Stephanie Haas, Ludwigsburg, performance. Music piece; composed in 1994.

Medek, Tilo (comp.) (8 Sep. 1997), Monatsbilder (nach Hildegard von Bingen), Bad Sobernheim, performance. Twelve songs for mezzo-soprano, clarinet and piano.

P.O.N.D. (1998), “Hildegard Von Bingen”, The Best Of P.O.N.D. (Electronic Instrumental Dream Musik), Synthetic Peaches, Spotify.

“Lux Vivens (Living Light): The Music of Hildegard Von Bingen”, Jocelyn Montgomery with David Lynch (1998)

Jocelyn Montgomery with David Lynch (1998), Lux Vivens (Living Light): The Music of Hildegard Von Bingen, Mammoth / UMGD, CD.

The Webstirs (2000), “St. Hildegarde”, Radio Racket, Bandcamp.

Silk84 (2003), “Hildegard of Bingen”, Good Copies, Spotify.

Theofanidis, Christopher (comp.) (2003), ”Rainbow Body”, Rainbow Body, cond. Robert Spano, perf. Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Telarc, CD. First performed by the Houston Symphony in April 2000, also conducted by Robert Spano19. Winner of the 2003 Masterprize.

Hildegurls (2009), Electric Ordo Virtutum, Innova, Spotify.

Jenny Bird (2009), “Hildegard of Bingen“, Mystics Muse, Earthlight Records, Spotify.

EDASI (2009), “Tempus Incognitum (Hildegard von Bingen interpretation)”, Pikse litaania, Bandcamp.

Stone Age (2012), Heilsteine der Hildegard von Bingen, Mandala Musikverlag, Spotify.

elizabeth veldon (2012), “hildegard of bingen”, a process of decomposition part 1, Bandcamp.

Ludger Stühlmeyer (comp.) / Georg Stanek (organ) (2013), “O splendidissima gemma, for voice and organ”, Ein Hofer Königspaar: Die Orgeln in St. Marien und St. Michaelis, perf. Zene Kruzikaite and Eva Gräbner, Rondeau, CD. Text from Hildegard of Bingen.

Devendra Banhart (2013), “Für Hildegard Von Bingen”, Mala, Nonesuch, CD. Hildegard is reimagined as a runaway from her convent who becomes a VJ.

Elizabeth Veldon (2014), my distorted vision (for Hildegard of Bingen​)​, CDR. Three CDRs with a twelve page zine, co-designed with Ryan Hughes.

Velvet Speed (2014), “Eulogy For Hildegard Of Bingen”, Live At Strange Alchemy Studios (PS008), Bandcamp.

Hamilton, Gordon (comp.) (14 Feb. 2015), The Trillion Souls, cond. Gergely Madaras, perf. Dominique Fegan, Nicole Youl, Henry Choo, David Wakeham and The Australian Voices, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Queensland Performing Arts Centre Concert Hall, Brisbane, performance. Music piece expanding on Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, incorporating plainchant by Hildegard and the poem The Trillion Souls, by Andy West, about the disenfranchisement of gay people’s relationships20. Dedicated to Alan Turing.

Hildegard von Binge Drinking (2016), Hildegard von Binge Drinking, art. Johannes Reinhart, Unbreakmyheart, LP, Bandcamp [Naming themselves after a pun on Hildegard of Bingen’s name, Hildegard von Binge Drinking (Daniel Gehret and Matthias Labus) often perform dressed as nuns].

Daniel de Jesús (2016), “Virgen del Carmen – Inspirado por Hildegard Von Bingen”, Virgen del Carmen EP, Bandcamp.

Hildegard von Binge Drinking (2016), Present, Past and Future, art. Felix Lindacher and Benjamin Sickel, Unbreakmyheart, cassette/CD, Bandcamp [Compilation album featuring artwork by Felix Lindacher and Benjamin Sickel depicting nuns in martial arts poses].

The Whip Angels (2016), “Hildegard on the Female Orgasm”, Mistresses of Theology, Bandcamp [Musical version of Hildegard’s description of the female orgasm].


Film, video, television

Hildegard of Bingen (1994), dir. James Runcie, perf. Patricia Routledge, BBC, television. Documentary.

Vision – Aus dem Leben der Hildegard von Bingen (2009), dir. Margarethe Von Trotta, perf. Barbara Sukowa, Zeitgeist Films, film.

Barbarossa (2009), dir. Renzo Martinelli, perf. Ángela Molina, 01 Distribuzione, film.

“Hildegard von Bingen und die Macht der Frauen”, Die Deutschen (21 Nov. 2010), dir. Carsten Gutschmidt and Judith Voelker, perf. Deborah Kaufmann and Hana Tomásová, ZDF, television.

Seret, Isaiah (dir.) (29 Oct. 2013), “Für Hildegard von Bingen”, Youtube, uploaded by MOCA, perf. Devendra Banhart and Jodie Smith. [See also Music; Hildegard is reimagined in Devendra Banhart’s song as a runaway from her convent, who later becomes a VJ]

“Episode #2.6”, Psychobitches (23 Dec. 2014), dir. Jeremy Dyson, perf. Michelle Gomez, Sky Arts, television. Comedy show in which famous historical women attend contemporary therapy sessions; Hildegard was one of those women, played by Michelle Gomez.


Visual arts

Hildegard of Bingen and the Archangel Michael (ca. 1400), Egidienkirche, Eltersdorf. Medieval mural in the altar room of the Egidienkirche.

Altarpiece (1480), St. Sylvestrikirche, Wernigerode. Belgian-built altarpiece; one of the panels depicts Hildegard.

Hildegard von Bingen. Line engraving by W. Marshall. Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0

Marshall, William (17th century), Line engraving of Hildegard of Bingen, Wellcome Library, London.

Heindl, Wolfgang Andreas (ca. 1722), S. Hildegardis, fresco, Kloster Metten.

Sancta Hildegardis (ca. 1856), stained glass window, Old Hall, East Bergholt.

Frères, Ott (1892), Stained glass window, Église Sainte-Foy, Sélestat. Stained glass window depicting Hildegard.

St. Hildegard (19th century), stained glass window, Pfarrkirche St. Josef, Koblenz.

Busch, Jakob (ca. 1895), Hildegard Altar, Rochuskapelle, Bingen. Altar depicting scenes from Hildegard’s life and containing a pedestal with her reliquary.

Statue of Hildegard at the Anthony of Padua altar (1907), Pfarrkirche Bleiburg.

Andriessen, Mari (1922), Sculpture of Hildegard of Bingen, wood, Antoniuskerk, Aerdenhout.

Bernhard, Franz (1957), Sculpture of Hildegard holding Scivias, Muschelkalk (shell bearing limestone), Pfarrkirche St. Hildegard (Eibingen), Rüdesheim am Rhein.

Baur, Ludwig (1965), Altarpiece of the Cathedral, mosaic, Pfarrkirche St. Hildegard (Eibingen), Rüdesheim am Rhein. The altarpiece is modeled on plate 11 from the Scivias codex, “Der Urquell des Lebens – Die wahre Dreiheit in der wahren Einheit”.

Chicago, Judy (1974-79), The Dinner Party (Hildegard of Bingen place setting), mixed media (ceramic, porcelain, textile), Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum, NY.

Steiner, Peter (9 Aug. 1979), 850. Todestag von Hildegard von Bingen (1098—1179). Stamp.

Oswald, Karlheinz (1998), Sculpture of Hildegard, bronze, Abtei St. Hildegard, Rüdesheim am Rhein.

Geburtstag von Hildegard von Bingen (15 Apr. 1998), silver (92.5%) and copper (7.5%), 32.5 mm. Commemorative 10 DM coin.

Nitzsche, Peter (16 Apr. 1998), 900. Geburtstag Hildegard von Bingen, Hildegards Vision vom Lebenskreis. Stamp.

van Vliet, Claire (painter) / Katie MacGregor (painter, cover artist) / Audrey Holden (pop-up artist) / Anima (music performance) (2001), Sanctae Hildegardis Circulus Sapientiae = Circle of Wisdom, trans. WR Johnson, intro. and notes Elizabeth Thompson, bookbinding Judi Conant and Mary Richardson, Newark, VT, Janus Press, book and CD [Containing a recording, the Latin text and a translation of Hildegard’s music from Symphony of the Harmony of Celestial Revelations, bound in a book featuring paintings and pop-ups based on Hildegard’s work. Only 120 copies were made]

Derges, Susan (2008), Recycling Lucifers Fall (series of photographs), unique dye destruction print dry-mounted onto aluminium, 174.6 × 67.5 cm. [Based on Hildegard’s illumination “Recycling Lucifer’s Fall into Humanity’s Glory”, which was projected on the wall at a show of photographs from Susan Derges in dialogue with Hildegard’s work; see also Curatorial projects]

Clarke, Mark (2008), “Hildegard of Bingen”, Clarke’s Cabinets of Cures, mixed media (felt, 18th century grandfather clock, others), Wellcome Collection, London. Felt-worked altar with depiction of Hildegard of Bingen; on display at the Wellcome Collection between October 14, 2008 and January 25, 2009.

Brigham, Holly Trostle (2011), Dead Hildegard, watercolour on paper, 47 × 40 cm.

— (2011), Hildegard, watercolour on paper, 47 × 40 cm.

— (2011), Hildegard Box, mixed media (wooden box, jewelled bags, watercolours). [Built like a reliquary, Brigham’s piece has scenes from Hildegard’s life on its sides, as well as two jewelled gold bags holding relics made from an undisclosed material and two back-to-back watercolour portraits of Hildegard on top: in one, she is alive, in the other, dead, a crowned skeleton21 (p.10)]

Vizioli, Nicol (2011), Series of photographs based on Hildegard of Bingen, in DROME magazine, 19.

Jones, Kerri (2013), Hildegard of Bingen, textiles (cotton, muslin). Fabric mosaic depicting Hildegard.

van Duyl, Eveline (2014), Island of Thoughts-Philosophers: Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), mixed media (leather, textile, latex, paint, make up), 140 × 200 × 55 cm.

Maeve, Zoe (2014), What a thirsty person can swallow in one gulp, mixed media on paper (fold-out book), 23 × 23 cm.

Harris, Anne (2016), Physica, natural dye on silk, cotton and wool, 200 × 250 cm. Series of eighteen images based on Hildegard’s Physica.

Pickert, Lothar (2016), Statue of Hildegard, stainless steel, Vorstadtstraße/Hospitalstraße, Bingen am Rhein.

Pommer, Christoph, Heilige Hildegard, terracotta, Pfarrkirche St. Hildegard (Eibingen), Rüdesheim am Rhein.

Tapestry depicting Hildegard, Heilig-Geist-Kirche, Frankfurt am Main-Riederwald.


Theatre, dance, performance

Albrecht, Alois (1998), Hildegard von Bingen. Liturgical play incorporating Hildegard’s writings and music.

Ecstasy of Hildegard of Bingen (15 Aug. 2010), perf. Birutė Liuorytė-Gambus, Lucia Nigohossian, Čiurlionis Quartet, Jonas Tankevičius, Darius Dikšaitis, Gediminas Dačinskas and Saulius Lipčius, Bistrampolis Manor, Kučiai, performance. Music and video performance.

Scott-Conforti, Loralee (choreo.) (9 Jun. 2012), Accendo Dance Company performs music from Hildegard of Bingen, Accendo Dance Co., Vermont Institute of Contemporary Art (VTICA), Chester, VT, performance. Dance piece.

Beckman, Betsy (perf.) (2013), Saint Hildegard of Bingen story dance, Spiritual Directors International. Dance piece.

Maxwell, Linn (23 Mar. 2014), Hildegard of Bingen and the Living Light, Mark Murray Auditorium – Acton Institute, Grand Rapids, MI, performance. Play; one-woman show.

Saillant, Karen (dir./wri.) (7 Aug. 2015), Hildegard von Bingen: Bambina Mistica, trans. Maria Luisa Meo, mus. Mariano Garau, perf. Agnese Pazienti, Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, Assisi, performance. Cantata.

Lo Forte, Gian Marco (dir.) (3-20 Dec. 2015), Hildegard (vision), wri. Abby Felder, comp./sound design John Sully, Pioneers Go East Collective, La MaMa First Floor Theatre, New York. [Performance installation featuring music, found text, video, and puppetry, drawing from the life of Hildegard of Bingen and mimicking the structure of the migraine cycle to explore the possibility of this ailment having influenced Hildegard’s visions and contributed to the production of her work]22

Slover, Tim (wri.) (16-26 Feb. 2017), Virtue, dir. Jerry Rapier, Plan-B Theatre Company, Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, Salt Lake City, UT. Play.

Wolf, Susanne Felicitas (17 Jan. 2018), Hildegard von Bingen—Die Visionärin, Bürgerhaus Unterföhring, Munich. Play.


Interactive media

Civilization VI (21 Oct. 2016), art dir. Brian Busatti, Firaxis Games, video game. Hildegard appears in the video game as a Great Scientist of the Medieval Era.


Curatorial projects

Schwanz, Harald / Elsbeth Vetter (2000), Hildegard von Bingen-Garten, 500 m2, Kurpark Badenweiler. [Garden containing over one hundred plants related to Hildegard and her medical works]

Derges, Susan (9-16 Feb. 2008), Susan Derges & Hildegard von Bingen, Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh, exhibition. [Exhibition of photographs by Susan Derges in dialogue with Hildegard’s work; her illumination “Recycling Lucifer’s Fall into Humanity’s Glory” was projected on the wall]

Kim, Hee Sook (7 May-8 Jun. 2009), Twelve Gates: Encounter with Hildegard Bingen, Causey Contemporary, Manhattan, NY, exhibition. [Exhibition of Hee Sook Kim’s paintings in dialogue with the work of Hildegard]

Barrett, Nina (curator) (2010), The Once and Future Saint: Two Lives of Hildegard von Bingen, Northwestern University Library, Evanston, IL, exhibition.

Goode-Allen, Jeannine (2012), St. Hildegard’s Journey Through The Senses, traveling exhibition.

Cole, Amanda / Heidi Merika / Anne Harris (9-11 Sep. 2016), Three Forces of the Soul, Imperial Hotel Art Space, Eumundi, QL, exhibition. [Collective event celebrating Hildegard of Bingen, featuring an exhibition of Anne Harris’ Hildegard-inspired work, performances and a Hildegard sensory workshop. Amanda Cole is a mezzo-soprano and Heidi Merika a naturopath]

Hildegard Day (21 May 2016), Bozar Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels, festival.

Hildegard Festival (23-25 Jun. 2017), Oakwood Retreat Center, Selma, IN. A festival dedicated to Hildegard, featuring classes and music.



The following is a list of editions of selected works by Hildegard, both in their original Latin and in translation, followed by a selected discography.

See also: Migne, J.-P. (ed.) (1976), Sanctae Hildegardis Abbatissae Opera Omnia, in Patrologia Latina Cursus Completus, vol. 197, Turnhout, Brepols [1855].



Van Acker, Lieven (ed.) (1991, 1993), “Hildegardis Bingensis Epistolarium, Parts 1 & 2”, in Corpus Christianorum: continuatio mediaevalis, vols. 91 and 91a, Turnhout, Brepols.

Baird, Joseph L. / Radd K. Ehrmann (trans.) (1994, 1998, 2004), The Letters of Hildegard of Bingen, vols. I-III, Oxford University Press.



Führkötter Adelgundis / Angela Carlevaris (eds.) (1978), Hildegardis Scivias, in Corpus Christianorum: continuatio mediaevalis, vols. 43 and 43a, Turnhout, Brepols.

Hart, Columba / Jane Bishop (trans.) (1990), Hildegard of Bingen: Scivias, New York, Paulist Press.


Liber vitae meritorum

Carlevaris, Angela (ed.) (1995), Hildegardis Liber vitae meritorum, in Corpus Christianorum: continuatio mediaevalis, vol. 90, Turnhout, Brepols.

Hozeski, Bruce W. (trans.) (1997), The Book of the Rewards of Life, Oxford University Press.


Liber divinorum operum

Derolez, Albert / Peter Dronke (eds.) (1996), Hildegardis Liber divinorum operum, in Corpus Christianorum: continuatio mediaevalis, vol. 92, Turnhout, Brepols.

Fox, Matthew (ed.) (1987), Book of Divine Works, with Letters and Songs, trans. Robert Cunningham et al., Rochester, VT, Bear & Company.



Hildebrandt, Reiner / Thomas Gloning (2010), Physica, Berlin, DeGruyter.

Throop, Priscilla (trans.) (1998), Hildegard von Bingen’s Physica: The Complete English Translation of Her Classic Work on Health and Healing, Rochester, VT, Inner Traditions.


Causae et curae

Kaiser, Paul (ed.) (1903), Hildegardis Causae et curae, Leipzig, Trubner, <> (last accessed 8 May 2017).

Throop, Priscilla (2006), Causes and cures: the complete English translation of Hildegardis Causae et curae, Charlotte, VT, MedievalMS.



Newman, Barbara (ed.) (1988), Symphonia: A Critical Edition of the Symphonia Armonie Celestium Revelationum, Ithaca, NY, Cornell University Press.

— (ed., trans.) (1988), Hildegard of Bingen: Symphonia, Ithaca, NY, Cornell University Press.


Ordo virtutum

Dronke, Peter (ed.) (1970), “Ordo virtutum”, in Poetic Individuality in the Middle Ages, Oxford, Clarendon Press.

— (ed., trans.) (1994), “Ordo virtutum”, in Nine Medieval Latin Plays, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.



Sequentia have recorded the entirety of Hildegard’s musical work as part of their Hildegard von Bingen Project.


Sequentia (1987), Ordo virtutum, EMI, 2 CDs. Originally recorded 1982.

— (1989), Symphoniae: Geistliche Gesänge – Spiritual Songs, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, CD. Originally recorded 1982.

— (1994), Canticles of Ecstasy, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi / BMG Classics, CD.

— (1995), Voice of the Blood, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi / BMG Classics, CD.

— (1997), O Jerusalem, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi / BMG Classics, CD.

— (1998), Saints, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi / BMG Classics, 2 CDs.

— (2012), Celestial Hierarchy, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi (SONY), CD.



Introductory texts

Flanagan, Sabina (1998), Hildegard of Bingen, 1098-1179: A Visionary Life, 2nd ed., London/New York, Routledge.

Kienzle, Beverly Mayne / Debra L. Stoudt / George Ferzoco (eds.) (2013), A Companion to Hildegard of Bingen, Leiden, Brill.

Newman, Barbara (ed.) (1998), Voice of the Living Light: Hildegard of Bingen and Her World, Berkeley, University of California Press.



Dronke, Peter (1984), Women Writers of the Middle Ages: A Critical Study of Texts from Perpetua (†203) to Marguerite Porete (†1310), Cambridge University Press.

Haskins, Charles Homer (1927), The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century, Cambridge, Harvard University Press.

Petroff, Elisabeth (1986), Medieval Women’s Visionary Literature, Oxford University Press.


Books of essays

Burnett, Charles / Peter Dronke (1998), Hildegard of Bingen: The Context of her Thought and Art, London, The Warburg Institute.

Davidson, Audrey E. (1996), Wisdom Which Encircles Circles: Papers on Hildegard of Bingen, Kalamazoo, Medieval Institute.

McInerney, Maud Burnett (ed.) (1998), Hildegard of Bingen: A Book of Essays, New York/London, Garland Publishing.


Hildegard’s science

Engbring, Gertrude M. (1940), “Saint Hildegard, Twelfth Century Physician”, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 8, 770–784.

Higley, Sarah L. (2007), Hildegard of Bingen’s Unknown Language: an Edition, Translation and Discussion, New York, Palgrave Macmillan.

Hozeski, Bruce W. (trans.) (2001), Hildegard’s Healing Plants, Boston, Beacon Press.

Müller, Irmgard (1993), Die pflanzlichen Heilmittel bei Hildegard von Bingen, Freiburg, Herder.

Singer, Charles (1951), “The Scientific Views and Visions of Saint Hildegard”, Studies in the History and Method of Science, 1, 1-55.

Strehlow, Wighard / Gottfried Hertzka (1988), Hildegard of Bingen’s Medicine, trans. K. A. Strehlow, Santa Fe, NM, Bear & Company.

Sweet, Victoria (1999), “Hildegard of Bingen and the Greening of Medieval Medicine”, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 73 (#3), 381-403, <> (last accessed 5 May 2017).


Hildegard’s art

Davidson, Audrey E. (ed.) (1992), The Ordo Virtutum of Hildegard of Bingen: Critical Studies, Kalamazoo, Medieval Institute.

Góngora, Maria Eugenia (2000), “La obra lírica de Hildegard de Bingen (1098-1179), Revista Chilena de Literatura, 57, 5-20, <> (last accessed 9 May 2017).

White, John D. (1998), “The Musical World of Hildegard of Bingen”, College Music Symposium, 38, 6-16, <> (last accessed 9 May 2017).


Hildegard’s theology

Barton, Julie / Constant Mews (eds.) (1995), Hildegard of Bingen and Gendered Theology in Judaeo-Christian Tradition, Clayton, Victoria, Monash University.

Duran, Jane (2006), “Hildegard of Bingen”, in Eight Women Philosophers: Theory, Politics, and Feminism, Champaign, IL, University of Illinois Press, 21-48, <> (last accessed 9 May 2017).

Lautenschläger, Gabriele (1993), Hildegard von Bingen: Die theologische Grundlegung ihrer Ethik und Spiritualität, Stuttgart, Frommann-Holzboog.

Newman, Barbara (1985), “Hildegard of Bingen: Visions and Validation”, Church History, 54, 2, 163-175, <> (last accessed 9 May 2017).

— (1987), Sister of Wisdom: St Hildegard’s Theology of the Feminine, Berkeley, University of California Press.


Hildegard, feminism, women’s studies

Allen, Prudence (1989), “Hildegard of Bingen’s Philosophy of Sex Identity”, Thought, 64, 231–241.

Cadden, Joan (1984), “It Takes All Kinds: Sexuality and Gender Differences in Hildegard of Bingen’s ‘Book of Compound Medicine’”, Traditio, 40, 149-174, <> (last accessed 9 May 2017).

Collingridge, L. (2003), “Please Don’t Mention Hildegard and Feminism in the Same Breath”, Medieval Feminist Forum, 34, 35-43, <> (last accessed 9 May 2017).

Thompson, Augustine (1994), “Hildegard of Bingen on Gender and the Priesthood”, Church History, 63 (#3), 349-364, <> (last accessed 9 May 2017).

See also Newman (1987) under “Hildegard’s theology”.



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