The Musical Shape of the Liturgy:

Celebrating the Life and Work of William P. Mahrt

November 7–9, 2023
St. Patrick’s Seminary, Menlo Park, California

Sponsored by:
The Catholic Institute of Sacred Music at St. Patrick’s Seminary
The Church Music Association of America
The Music Department of Stanford University
The St. Ann Choir
The Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship

Registration deadline: Monday, October 16th

About the Conference

Nearly forty scholars will gather to present keynote lectures, papers, and recitals on the conference theme. 

We invite fellow scholars, practitioners of sacred music, and the general public to join us for this two-and-a-half-day conference.


The conference will be preceded by an opportunity in the morning and afternoon of Tuesday, November 7th to join the St. Ann choir as it rehearses under the direction of Dr. Mahrt and friends in preparing to sing Gregorian chant and polyphony for the conference’s celebration of Solemn Vespers and Solemn Mass. 


Several meals are included in the conference registration fee ($225).

Several affordable housing options are presented as a courtesy for registrants to reserve on their own.

Conference Overview

Having devoted his life and scholarly activity to the study and praxis of the Roman rite and its music, the work of Dr. William Mahrt has become a touchstone for countless scholars and active church musicians. Professor Mahrt’s insights into the characteristics of the various forms of Gregorian chant have elucidated the nature of the chant as integral to the sacred liturgy, and even explicated the nature of the sacred liturgy itself. Too, his exposition of the nature of beauty and its embodiment in Catholic sacred music, liturgical gestures and symbols, and architecture has served as an important guide in the Church’s understanding of the purpose of artistic beauty in Divine worship. His work with the polyphonic masters of the Renaissance has illuminated the performances and scholarship of many choirs and students, and his devoted direction of the St. Ann Choir and Stanford Early Music Singers remains a pillar in the practice of sacred music in the United States.

On the occasion of the 150th volume of Sacred Music, which Dr. Mahrt has edited since 2006, upon the establishment of a new chair in sacred music at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park in his name, and on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the founding of St. Patrick’s Seminary, the organizing committee announces a conference entitled “The Musical Shape of the Liturgy: Celebrating the Life and Work of William P. Mahrt.”

This two-and-a-half-day conference will feature:

  • Keynote addresses (William Mahrt, Joseph Dyer, Kerry McCarthy, Sr. Maria Kiely, O.S.B.)
  • Over 30 papers, lecture recitals, and panel discussions on topics related to the conference theme
  • Masses and the sung Divine Office led by the St. Ann Choir + Singer Friends and the Schola Cantorum of St. Patrick’s Seminary
  • Opportunities for informal discussions over included receptions and lunches on November 7, 8, and 9
  • Banquet on the evening of November 8

Pre-Conference – Sing with the St. Ann Choir!

  • Singers are invited to join Dr. Mahrt and friends as they prepare music for Vespers on Tuesday, Nov. 7th and Mass on Wednesday, Nov. 8th. Rehearsals will be held in the morning and afternoon on Tuesday, Nov. 7th. Singers must be available for the rehearsals and liturgies in order to participate. To sign up, select the “Full Conference + Sing with St. Ann Choir” registration option on the registration page. Led by Dr. Mahrt and a team of other conductors (Horst Buchholz, Jennifer Donelson-Nowicka, and David Hughes), singers will prepare the chants of the liturgies, as well as the Byrd Mass for Four and motets by Ciprianus (Sicut Cervus), Isaac (Beata Viscera), and De la Rue (O Salutaris). 

The conference language is English.

Presenters must register for the conference ($225, including the banquet) and will be responsible for their own expenses.

Questions regarding the conference may be directed to Jennifer Donelson-Nowicka via email:

Please visit the registration page to register, select among registration options, and view housing options.

Conference Schedule

Tuesday, November 7, 2023
8:00 a.m. Coffee for St. Ann Choir + Singer Friends
9:00 a.m. Rehearsal of St. Ann Choir + Singer Friends
10:30 a.m. Break
11:00 a.m. Rehearsal of St. Ann Choir + Singer Friends
12:00 p.m. Lunch for St. Ann Choir + Singer Friends
1:00 p.m. Rehearsal of St. Ann Choir + Singer Friends
3:30 p.m. Break
Main Conference
3:30 p.m. Registration Check-in for Main Conference Begins
4:30 p.m. Solemn Vespers
5:45 p.m. Keynote – Dr. Kerry McCarthy
7:00 p.m. Social


Wednesday, November 8th, 2023
8:00 a.m. Late Registration
8:15 a.m. Sung Lauds
9:00 a.m. Keynote – Dr. Joseph Dyer
10:00 a.m. Break
10:15 a.m. Conference Sessions 1a, 1b, and 1c (some 30 minutes, some 60minutes)
10:45 a.m. Rehearsal of St. Ann Choir + Singer Friends
11:15 a.m. Break
11:30 a.m. Solemn Mass
12:45 p.m. Lunch
2:00 p.m. Conference Sessions 2a, 2b, and 2c
3:00 p.m. Break
3:30 p.m. Keynote – Sr. Maria Kiely, O.S.B.
4:30 p.m. Break
5:00 p.m. Conference Sessions 3a, 3b, and 3c
6:00 p.m. Break
6:15 p.m. Sung Vespers
7:00 Banquet


Thursday, November 9th, 2023
8:15 a.m. Sung Lauds
9:00 a.m. Conference Sessions 4a, 4b, and 4c
10:00 a.m. Break
10:15 a.m. Conference Sessions 5a, 5b, and 5c
11:15 a.m. Break
11:30 a.m. Solemn Mass
12:45 p.m. Lunch
2:00 p.m. Keynote – Dr. William Mahrt
3:00 p.m. Break
3:30 p.m. Conference Sessions 6a, 6b, and 6c
4:30 Conference Sessions 7a, 7b, and 7c
5:30 Break
6:00 Sung Vespers

Keynote Speakers & Topics

Dr. Joseph Dyer – “De Hierusalem exeunt reliquiae – Music for the Dedication of the Church of Santa Prassede (Rome)”

Sr. Maria Kiely, O.S.B. – “O quam metuendus est locus iste (Gen. 28:17): the Spiritual Foundations of Liturgical Prayer”

Dr. William Mahrt – “Dynamic Parallelismus Membrorum”  

Dr. Kerry McCarthy – “Low Style and High Style in Catholic England”

Conference Sessions & Presenters

Dr. Alison Altstatt – “Children in Anna von Buchwald’s Buch im Chor: Pedagogical Lessons from a Fifteenth-Century Convent”
Dr. Erick Arenas – “Mozart’s Requiem and Eighteenth-Century Liturgical Music Aesthetics Between the Church and the Concert Hall”
Fr. Brian T. Austin – “Music and Text in the Twelfth-Century Dulcis Iesu memoria
Br. Mark Bachmann, O.S.B. – “A Portrait of a Church Musician drawn from the Holy Rule of St. Benedict”
Jacob Beaird – “Chanting the Face of God: Iconography, Arvo Pärt, and James MacMillan”
Alex Begin – “Regional Music Team Buildling”
Dr. Horst Buchholz – “From The Old World to The New World: How Sacred Music in the U.S.A. was Shaped by European Composers “
Dr. Kevin Clarke – “The Pipe Organ in the Mass in Pre- and Post-Reformation England”
Kevin Faulkner – “Fulfilling Messiaen’s Prophecy, Resurgence of Chant and the Work of Charles Tournemire”
Duane Galles – “Canonical Aspects of Organ Care, Repair and Rebuilding”
Br. John Glasenapp, O.S.B. –  “Authoritative Problems: The Challenge of Chant History”
Dr. Jane Schatkin Hettrick – “Reforming Music and Liturgy in Catholic Worship around 1780 in Austria:  Prescriptions for Congregational Hymns”
Dr. William Hettrick – “Cantus Firmi in the Sacred Works of Johann Herbeck (1831–1877)”
Dr. Christopher Hodkinson – “The Ordo Cantus Missæ at Fifty”
David Hughes – “Eucharistic Piety in the Earlier and Later Renaissance: The Agnus Dei in the Sixteenth Century”
Dr. Aaron James – “On the Legacy of Morales: Musical Shapes in the Polyphonic Magnificat”
Dr. Deborah Kauffman – “Music for the ‘Ceremonie du Sacre d’un Evesque’ at Saint-Cyr”
Christina Kim – “The Musical Shape of Exequies”
Dr. Ann Labounsky – “Jean Langlais: Servant of the Church”
Bruce Ludwick – “Shaping the Liturgy through Music: A Cathedral (or Parish) Journey”
Crista Miller – “Wonderful Splendor: A Survey of Newer Chant-based Organ Works”
Steven Ottományi – “Native Language Isochrony and the Rhythm of the Gregorian Chant”
Dr. John Pepino – “Louis Bouyer’s assessment of Sacrosanctum Concilium: retrieving the liturgical intent of Vatican II”
William V. Riccio – “One Man’s History of the Revival of the Traditional Mass (1963–Present)”
Dr. Jesse Rodin – “How Josquin Makes Chant an Engine of Invention”
Dr. Joseph Sargent – “The Magnificats of Bernardino de Ribera (c.1520-80)”
Roseanne Sullivan – “The Remarkable Sixty-Year Survival of Prof. Mahrt’s St. Ann Choir”
Dr. Christoph Tietze – “Teaching Solfège to Children through Square Notation”
Dr. Edward Schaefer – “Chant and the Theology of the Mass”
Dr. Charles Weaver – “Dom Mocquereau and Music Theory”
Mary Ann Carr Wilson – “Melisma and Meditation: The Graduals of Advent”