Fr Chris Willcock SJ
Singing the Lord’s Song in an Alien Land: A Traveller’s Account Since Vatican II by Christopher Willcock SJ. 6pm 9 November.
Heythrop College's third lecture in honour of Fr Kevin Donovan SJ on 9 November, will be given by his friend Fr Chris Willcock SJ, drawing on decades of experience of research and composing of liturgical music since the Second Vatican Council. Sydney-born composer, Christopher Willcock studied composition under Peter Sculthorpe and was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1977. He then did doctoral studies in sacraments and liturgy in Paris. As a member of the United Faculty of Theology in Melbourne, Australia, he has taught courses in these areas with colleagues from the Jewish faith and from other Christian traditions.
Fr Willcock divides his compositional time between writing for the church and for the concert hall. In the field of liturgical music he has published and recorded six collections with Oregon Catholic Press, the most recent one, Who Did You See? was produced for the 2008 World Youth Day gathering in Sydney. In 1993 he was the inaugural recipient of the Dr Percy Jones Memorial Award for Outstanding Contribution to Liturgical Music. A member of both national and international liturgical bodies, Christopher Willcock has worked in the musical, translation, and pastoral areas of liturgy for many years.
For the concert hall he has composed orchestral, chamber, choral and solo vocal works these include commissions from Symphony Australia, Musica Viva Australia, the Melbourne Chorale and the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra. In 2001 the première was given of his song cycle, Akhmatova Requiem which had won the Albert H Maggs Composition Award in 1998. In 2004 he completed Southern Star, a setting for choir and harp of a cycle of nine Christmas-inspired texts written by the cartoonist/poet Michael Leunig. Southern Star won the APRA/Australian Music Centre 2006 national award for the Vocal or Choral Work of the Year. In 2008 the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra premiered his Divertimento for Strings (Nolan’s Backyard) as part of their subscription series. In 2011-2012 he was professor in the Gasson Chair at Boston College.
Fr Willcock writes: "In the nearly forty years since the Council’s constitution on the liturgy, what has been sung in church in that time has ranged across a sometimes bewildering spectrum of styles, manners, and yes, theologies. The account of my journey during these four decades is one among countless others whose details, and maybe even whose principles, may not be shared. As a priest-composer I have been both a witness to, and often a participant in, a number of the events that have marked the liturgical life of the post-Vatican II church. The “alien land” of this lecture’s title refers not so much to a geographical entity as to a world in which hostile, even angry voices make singing “the Lord’s song” a challenging task. This account revisits some of these events and looks to the next stage of the journey."
The lecture will be followed by a reception.
Admission is free but booking is essential. To reserve seats contact: Annabel Clarkson, email@example.com.