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Hana Vlhová-Wörner

(b Prague, 1348; d Rome, 17 June 1400). Bohemian archbishop (1378–96) and composer of liturgical poetry. The list of his liturgical chants (alleluias, sequences, hymns, and two full sets of office chants for Marian feasts) and spiritual prayers (cantilenae and orationes) includes about 40 items, which makes him one of the most prolific late-medieval authors. The most important part of his compositions was intended for the feast of the Visitation of the BVM that was introduced on his initiative to the Roman calendar in 1389. While his texts were influenced by Classical poetry and therefore criticized for their unorthodox vocabulary, his melodies, composed mostly in the late-medieval chant style, enjoyed great popularity.

CSHSG.M. Dreves: Die Hymnen Johann von Jensteins (Prague, 1886)G.M. Dreves and C. Blume: AH, vol.48 (1905), 421–51V. Plocek: ‘Eine neu aufgefundene Sequenz von der heiligen Dorothea und ihre Beziehung zu Jenštejns “Decet huius”’, ...

Article

Záviš  

Hana Vlhová-Wörner

[Záviš ze Zap, Zawissius]

(b c. 1350; d Olomouc c. 1422). Composer of liturgical and secular poetry. He studied at the universities in Prague (master of liberal arts), Rome, and Padua (doctor of theology and law) and acted after 1387 as an examiner at Prague University. He was the author of several liturgical chants (...

Article

[Sister Aimee ]

(b Salford, ON, Oct 9, 1890; d Oakland, CA, Sept 27, 1944). American evangelist, composer, librettist, and hymn writer. Known worldwide as “Sister Aimee,” she founded the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel (FSGC) and built the Angelus Temple in Los Angeles, California. The daughter of a Canadian wheat farmer, she grew up in the Methodist church and the Salvation Army, from which she inherited a strong preference for hymn singing. The Salvation Army also taught her the value of community service, emphasized the potential of women to be active in the ministry, and demonstrated the importance of vigorous and attractive music in worship services, especially brass bands and popular congregational hymns. After the death of her first husband, the preacher and missionary Robert Semple in Hong Kong in 1910, she settled in New York City, where she became active in religious revival work. In 1912 she married businessman Harold McPherson, but her growing interest in pursuing an evangelical ministry led to their divorce in ...

Article

Jonas Westover

(b Washington, DC, Nov 21, 1947). American hymn writer and seminary professor. She grew up studying piano, then focused on religious studies as an undergraduate at Southwestern at Memphis University, later called Rhodes College (BA 1969). She earned advanced degrees from Chicago Theological Seminary (MDiv 1973, DD 1983), the University of Notre Dame (MA 1987), and Boston University (DD 1989). She was ordained by the United Church of Christ in 1974 and served at various churches until accepting the position of professor of worship at the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in 1989. Having written songs as a child, she became interested in writing hymn texts in the mid-1970s. She has written nearly 200 poem-texts, including “Arise, your Light Has Come,” “O Loving Maker of the Earth,” and “When we are Tested,” most of which have appeared in various hymnals and edited collections. Some of her texts have been designed for special occasions, such as “Send us your Spirit” for the ...

Article

Darlene Graves and Michael Graves

[William J. ]

(b Alexandria, IN, March 28, 1936). American gospel songwriter, performer, producer, and publisher. He grew up on a small farm in Indiana and graduated from Anderson College with a major in English and a minor in music. He went on to receive a master’s degree in guidance and counseling and met his future wife and song-producing partner, Gloria Sickal, while both were teaching high school. Gaither started singing gospel music as a child and in 1956 formed the Bill Gaither Trio with his brother Danny and his sister Mary Ann. He started his own publishing company in 1959. He continued to perform and compose while a teacher at Alexandria High School and in 1961 formed the Gaither Music Company to publish his works. After their marriage in 1962, Gaither and his wife wrote their first major song, “He touched me,” which was a significant hit by 1963. He re-formed the Bill Gaither Trio with Gloria and Danny, and in ...

Article

Paul C. Echols

revised by Esther R. Crookshank

(b New York, NY, March 8, 1839; d Poland Springs, ME, July 10, 1909). American philanthropist, activist, composer, and hymnal compiler. She was the daughter of lay Methodist evangelists Phoebe Palmer (1807–74), considered the founder of the American Holiness movement, and medical doctor Walter Palmer. The younger Phoebe began composing hymns and songs as a child; two of her earliest tunes, set to hymn texts by her mother, were published in Joseph Hillman’s revival song collection, The Revivalist (1868). At 16 she married Joseph F. Knapp, later founder of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company of New York. As a wealthy society woman in New York, she entertained dignitaries, including four American presidents, at evening musicales held regularly in her home; a trained singer, she often performed at these events. She also hosted religious leaders, social reformers including Harriet Beecher Stowe, and female gospel hymn writers such as Fanny Crosby, with whom she formed a close friendship. In the late 1860s, Knapp wrote her most successful piece, the tune “Assurance,” to Crosby’s text “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine.” It was circulated internationally after Ira D. Sankey included it in ...

Article

Kathleen Sewright

(b Peoria, IL, July 14, 1939). American jesuit priest, educator, and composer. Best known for the post–Vatican II Catholic liturgical congregational music he composed as one of the “St. Louis Jesuits” in the 1960s and 70s, Foley is nevertheless primarily an educator in the field of liturgy. He earned a PhD in Theology (specialty in Liturgy and Aesthetics) from Graduate Theological Union (1993); studied music at the University of Wichita and St. Louis University; and pursued further composition studies with Samuel Dolin, Reginald Smith Brindle, Paul Fetler, and Dominick Argento.

In addition to founding and serving as the director of the St. Louis University Center for Liturgy, Foley has taught liturgy among other courses at the university. His diverse publications include a book, Creativity and the Roots of Liturgy (Pastoral Press, 1994). His dedication to writing prayerful, scripture-based, and accessible vernacular liturgical music for assemblies led naturally to his founding of the National Liturgical Composers Forum....

Article

Kathleen Sewright

(b Wanamingo, MN, Dec 30, 1950). American liturgical music composer, workshop presenter, and recording artist. After earning degrees in psychology (BA, Luther College) and Pastoral Studies (MA, University of St. Thomas), Haugen began writing songs for Catholic and Protestant congregations. Initially influenced by the St. Louis Jesuits, Haugen writes music in a contemporary style that is accessible to the average parishioner. Of his several Mass settings, his Mass of Creation has been sung throughout the entire English-speaking world. The same is true for his Lutheran liturgies, Holden Evening Prayer and Now the Feast and Celebration.

The texts of Haugen’s songs rely heavily on Scripture, especially the Psalms, and are set in simple refrain-verse or strophic forms; they also feature attractive melodies and accompaniments that can be performed by flexible combinations of instruments. His songs’ harmonic schemes range from simple (“This is the Day,” “With Joy You Shall Draw Water”) to relatively sophisticated (“As A Tree By Streams of Water,” “Taste and See”), and he is one of the few current liturgical composers who composes successfully in the minor mode (“Shepherd Me, O God,” “Wind Upon the Waters,” and “Burn Bright,” which also employs changing meters). Haugen has also made successful arrangements of plainchant (...

Article

Joe Dan Boyd

[J. ]

(b Montgomery County, AL, March 12, 1883; d Ozark, AL, April 7, 1958). American composer, music teacher, and songster. He was the youngest child of an African American sharecropper family and received no more than two years of education in public school before leaving home at age 16 with his clothes in a flour sack and a half-dollar in his pocket. He eventually found farm work in Dale County, Alabama, where he spent the rest of his life, earning a livelihood as a farmer, a real-estate developer, and a door-to-door salesman of religious books. He was baptized in May 1902 and married Lela Campbell in October of that same year.

At an early age, around 1899, Jackson was attracted to Sacred Harp singing (see Shape-note hymnody). Unable to attend Sacred Harp singing schools as a youth because his employer on the farm refused to permit it, he learned by interviewing other youths who were allowed to attend and quickly mastered the art. He evolved from curious student to teacher and in ...

Article

Laura Otilia Vasiliu

(b Reuseni, Suceava county, Romania, May 2, 1944). Romanian composer, musicologist, and teacher . Rooted in the folklore of Bukovina and in Byzantine liturgical music, furthering the musical environment of his predecessors Ciprian Porumbescu and George Enescu, his works stand at the crossroads of tradition and modernity, having become established through their authentic expression and mastery of form. His personality has been influential in the musical life of Iaşi and the George Enescu University of Arts, which he served as a professor, dean, and rector.

He studied at the George Enescu Conservatory in Iaşi. He graduated in pedagogy and composition under Vasile Spătărelu. He attended composition classes led by Ştefan Niculescu, Aurel Stroe, and Anatol Vieru at the Vacanţele muzicale de la Piatra Neamt (‘Musical Holidays of Piatra Neamţ’, 1972–80), and then he studied with Roman Vlad at the Santa Cecilia Academy in Rome (1980). Up until ...