Sacred Music on Campus
Claire Stephens | Wednesday, September 12, 2012
This week Sacred Music at Notre Dame and DeBartolo Performing Arts Center host three days of creativity, connection and celebration with a sacred music conference titled “James MacMillian and the Musical Modes of Mary and the Cross.”
The festival conference, beginning today and ending Saturday, will feature composer and guest lecturer James MacMillan, who is in residence to attend the premiere of his new motet “Cum vidisset Jesus.” Along with him will be a panel of other distinguished composers, conductors and scholars. The panel will include guest composers, guest participants, faculty members and ensembles.
MacMillan, the preeminent Scottish composer of his generation, has been programmed worldwide by orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics and the Cleveland Orchestra and has been a featured composer at the Edinburgh Festival, the Southbank Centre in London and the BBC Barbican Composer Weekend.
“For us, it’s a historic moment, to have the preeminent Catholic composer of our time visiting the community of Notre Dame,” Carmen-Helena Tellez, co-director of the festival, said. “It is also an auspicious moment for our young Sacred Music program, which aspires to be among the best in the nation.”
The topics that will be discussed include the genre, text, function and context of sacred music, as well as the spirituality, impact and practice of composing and conducting sacred music.
“These events show we’re well on the way to being the only world-class music program that teaches all the things Vatican II called for,” said Peter Jeffery, co-director of the Masters of Sacred Music program. “[Those things are] high standards of training, preserving the treasury of sacred music, active participation in the liturgy and openness to all world cultures.”
The focus of the conference is to debate the issues of composing and performing sacred music today. Composers and conductors of sacred music are invited to share their work in the choral readings, discuss composing and commissioning and engage in the panels and workshops.
“Sacred Music at Notre Dame offers a vibrant palette of performances, workshops, and discussions, showcasing Notre Dame’s fine facilities and the dynamism of our faculty, performing ensembles, students and invited guest artists,” Margot Fassler, co-director of the festival, said. “The group of composers we have assembled to probe into issues surrounding sacred music in contemporary life is without parallel.”
The conference also features concerts by faculty members, Pomerium and AguavÃ¡ New Music Studio with the Festival Chorus and Orchestra.
“We are very grateful to the College of Arts and Letters and the support of the Nanovic Institute and DPAC, so we can offer the three evening concerts to the public without cost,” Fassler said. “This is a time for our entire community, and our guests, to study, explore, learn and enjoy.”
Contact Claire Stephens at [email protected]