—Pre-conference symposium on God and Music, April 9–10—

kuyper conference, concert, symposium, lecture leadersPrinceton, NJ, March 4, 2014–Nicholas Wolterstorff, Yale professor of philosophical theology emeritus, will kick off Princeton’s Seminary’s annual Kuyper Conference on Thursday, April 10 at 7:00 p.m. in Miller Chapel with the Kuyper Prize Lecture on “Justice, Beauty, and Worship.” He will receive the institution’s annual Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Life, awarded through the generous gift of Dr. Rimmer and Mrs. Ruth de Vries to a scholar who has contributed to the development of Reformed theology in public life.  

The conference, this year on the theme “Philosophy, Worship and Art,” honors Abraham Kuyper (1837–1920), a Dutch pastor, theologian, journalist, and politician who was instrumental in a revival of Calvinism as a worldview worthy of practical allegiance.  

This year the conference is preceded by a symposium on the topic “God and Music” on April 9 and 10. Professor Gordon Graham, conference organizer, explains the relevance of the theme: “Calvinism in all its varieties has tended to be suspicious of the visual and dramatic arts, but its invention of the metrical Psalter gave renewed emphasis to music in the worship of God. The pre-conference symposium on ‘God and Music’ underlines this fact, and aims to aid dialogue between ‘traditional’ and ‘contemporary’ styles of church music by exploring some of the deeper philosophical and theological issues that underlie current debates.” Click here to register for the symposium. 

At 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Paul Mealor, a Welshman who is professor of composition at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and who composed music for HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding in 2011, will speak on composing sacred music in the twenty-first century. At 4:00 p.m., Albert Chung, a Princeton Seminary senior, will speak about contemporary music for worship. The day concludes with a concert by the choral ensemble Fuma Sacra, “Sacred Bridge: A Cappella Church Music from the Renaissance and the 21st Century.” The concert is at 8:00 p.m. in Miller Chapel.

On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., Gordon Graham, Princeton Seminary’s Henry Luce III Professor of Philosophy and the Arts, will speak on “A Philosophy of Sacred Music,” followed by a panel discussion at 11:30 a.m. on “God and Music.”  

Conference plenary speakers include Andrew Chignel of Cornell University, on the topic “Liturgical Philosophy”; John Witvliet of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, on the topic “Trumpets, Ashes, and Tears: Divine Action and the Pastoral Art of Framing Liturgical Participation”; and Lisa DeBoer, professor of art at Westmont College, on the topic “Worlds of Art in Art Worlds.”

There is no charge for the pre-conference symposium or the Kuyper Prize Lecture. The cost for the conference is $100 (includes program and five meals), $80 for commuters (includes program and two lunches), and $25 for students (program only). The concert by Fuma Sacra is free for those registered for either the conference or the symposium, and $10 for others.  

Click here for conference schedule, information on other speakers, locations, and registration.  

Princeton Theological Seminary, founded in 1812, is the first seminary established by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church. Its mission is to educate leaders for the church of Jesus Christ worldwide, and its more than 500 students and 11,000 graduates from all fifty states and many nations around the world serve Christ in churches, schools and universities, healthcare institutions, nonprofit agencies, initiatives for social justice, mission agencies, and the emerging ministries of the church in the twenty-first century.