James MacMillan and the Musical Modes of Mary and the Cross

Sacred Music at Notre Dame and the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center with support from the Nanovic Institute and College of Arts and Letters present

Conference: James MacMillan and the Musical Modes of Mary and the Cross

Join us for three days of creativity, connection, celebration and debate around sacred music—September 13, 14, and 15, 2012.

The festival conference will feature composer James MacMillan, who will be in residence to attend the premiere of his new motet "Cum vidisset Jesus," in the company of several distinguished guests.

We invite composers and conductors to share their work and to engage in discussions and workshops. We also welcome performers and church musicians to enjoy and learn from this extraordinary encounter.

Early registration-August 15

Lectures, Panels, Workshops and Choral Readings

Join renowned Scottish composer James MacMillan and distinguished faculty and guests of the Sacred Music at Notre Dame initiative in an exploration of modern and historical sacred music, its meaning and symbols, and the specific creative challenges of composing and conducting new sacred works for church choirs and for participatory singing.

The sesions will include panels, and workshops addressing specific topics in composition, analysis and conducting of sacred music, led by James MacMillan and the composer panelists, as well as choral readings and commentary of new works by selected conference participant/fellows led by the selected conducting participants/fellows.

Major issues surrounding sacred music today will be engaged, with ample opportunities for discussion and participation by all conference attendees. Composers will address the creation of new sacred music works and participatory compositions.Conductors and church music directors will exchange ideas on how repertoire can be a tool for  building successful sacred music programs and the formation of a artistically engaged congregation. A selected group of active participants/fellows will present case studies with their own compositions and choral readings.

(Continue to visit this page for an itemized schedule of times and locations.)

Featured Guest Composer

James MacMillan

Guest Panelists

Libby Larsen, Daniel Kellogg, Cary Boyce, Robinson McClellan, Stephen Mager, Tawnie Olson and other distinguished guests to be announced.


Sacred music and liturgy scholars Margot Fassler, Emily Snow and Michael Driscoll, and conductors Carmen-Helena Téllez  and Nancy Menk.


Aguavá New Music Studio and Students of the Master of Sacred Music Program at Notre Dame will be in residence to read the works of the selected active participants.

A list of topics proposed by the panelists is included here and will continue to be updated.