TheoArtistry: The power of the arts to communicate the divine

Research Policy Office
Monday 14 November 2016

TheoArtistry is a new dimension of the work of ITIA, the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts, based in the School of Divinity. Directed by Dr George Corbett, TheoArtistry explores how ITIA’s research at the interface between theology and the arts might inform directly the making, practice, performance, curatorship and reception of Christian art, and transform not only the scholarly but the public perception of the role and the vital importance of the arts today in theology, Church practice, and society at large.

In TheoArtistry’s inaugural project, six outstanding young composers (from England, Scotland, Southern Ireland and Northern Ireland, and Canada) have been selected, from almost a hundred applicants, to work with Sir James MacMillan, Dr George Corbett, Kathryn Wehr, and six doctoral researchers from the School of Divinity, at the University of St Andrews. Over a six-month scheme running from September 2016-February 2017, theologians and composers are collaborating on six new choral works for non-professional chapel choir of approximately 3 minutes in length. The composers’ Scriptural settings will be performed by St Salvator’s Chapel Choir (directed by Tom Wilkinson) at a second symposium with Sir James at the end of New Music Week on 19 February 2017, and again by the choir during the liturgical year.

Sir James MacMillan, composers, theologians, Divinity and Music staff nat the TheoArtistry Symposium

Dr George Corbett and ITIA researchers are also teaming up with Tom Wilkinson and St Salvator’s Chapel Choir to produce a new TheoArtistry CD recording. This collaborative project explores how an appreciation of the profound spirituality and faith of many composers in the Classical tradition may influence the performance and reception of their music. ITIA is providing expertise on the relationship between theology and music, research on the theological contexts of the musical programme, as well as help curating secular and liturgical performances by the choir.

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