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Von Hügel Institute

for Critical Catholic Inquiry

The 2023 Von Hügel Lecture delivered by Sir James MacMillan CBE: 

Music as a Sacred Language: A Catholic Composer's Perspective 

On this occasion, Sir James will sit in conversation with St Edmund's College Master, Catherine Arnold OBE, to discuss the ways in which his musical formation, composition, and imagination have been shaped by his Catholic faith practice, and the unique capacity of music to communicate the sacred across languages, cultures, and religious beliefs.

Sir James MacMillan CBE is one of today’s most successful composers and performs internationally as a conductor. His musical language is flooded with influences from his Scottish heritage, Catholic faith, social conscience and close connection with Celtic folk music, blended with influences from Far Eastern, Scandinavian and Eastern European music. MacMillan first became internationally recognised after the extraordinary success of The Confession of Isobel Gowdie at the BBC Proms in 1990. His prolific output has since been performed and broadcast around the world. Commissioned to compose Mass settings for the occasion of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United Kingdom in 2010, MacMillan most recently composed funeral anthem 'Who Shall Separate Us?' for Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's funeral. 

MacMillan founded music festival The Cumnock Tryst in October 2014, which takes place annually in his native Ayrshire. MacMillan was awarded a CBE in 2004 and a Knighthood in 2015.


The conversation will take place at St Edmund's College, Garden Room, with a reception to follow in the Senior Combination Room. The event is free to attend, but space is limited.

Email to register before end-of-day Friday, April 28th. 

Photo Credit 

Hans van der Woerd



Tuesday, 2 May, 2023 - 05:30

Event location: 

St Edmund's College, Garden Room (Lecture); Senior Combination Room (Reception)



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