Conducting Institute Sacred Music Concert, Princeton Theological Seminary, June 21, 2024

Scala invites you to attend our event on Friday, June 21, 2024, from 7-9 pm on the campus of Princeton Theological Seminary to experience cultural renewal in action! The Conducting Institute Sacred Music Concert is FREE to the public. This is the second Scala event in the space of a week, and follows the discussion and concert on June 15, 2024, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., entitled “Behold, I Make All Things New: A Discussion on Sacred Music and Popular Culture and a Concert of New Sacred Music by Living Composers.

At the Conducting Institute Sacred Music Concert on Friday, June 21, attendees will:

  • Hear a concert of sacred music from Gregorian chant the Renaissance polyphony to the present-day sacred music compositions that are contemporary yet conform to broad pattern of Catholic traditions in sacred music;
  • Experience works conducted by eight student conductors who have participated in the Catholic Sacred Music Project’s 2024 Conducting Institute;
  • Hear new, modern compositions by James MacMillan, Paul Jernberg, and Frank La Rocca, as well as masterworks by William Byrd, Olivier Messiaen, Josef Rheinberger, Nathaniel Dett and more.
  • Learn how these works emerged from intensive study with master musicians Sir James MacMillan, Paul Jernberg, Dr Timothy McDonnell, Dr James Jordan, Dr Nicole Aldrich, and James Wetzel;
  • Hear reflections from Peter Carter, founder of the Catholic Sacred Music Project. Peter’s vision of training musical leaders who bring excellent sacred music, both ancient and modern, to their churches and communities was recently featured in the National Catholic Register.

Don’t miss this chance to experience the timeless beauty of Gregorian chant and the rebirth of a great tradition of composing sacred music for popular enjoyment!

RSVPs are encouraged but not required–you can submit your RSVP here.

How Cultural Renewal Happens

Johann Sabastian Bach transformed culture through the beauty of his music, but few people know that he learned his craft by composing and performing sacred music. Today, most contemporary composers study at conservatories that offer a formation disconnected from the tradition of sacred music. A tradition that, in past centuries, through its beauty, has contributed to the deepening of the faith of countless worshiping Christians and inclining them to virtue and the love of neighbor necessary for any society’s flourishing. This sacred beauty informed all musical compositions, sacred and secular.

Scala has created a network of culture-creators, educators, scholars, and religious leaders, shaping Christian culture and renewing a shared purpose in America. Building on our past conferences on Art, the Sacred, and the Common Good, which featured world-renowned writers and artists alongside scholars and educators, in June 2024, we are supporting the renewal of sacred music, which gives rise to noble and accessible works of music that contribute to a high culture that will be, as it was in the past, also a popular culture. 

Our most recent event on March 1, 2024, a Sarum Vespers with sacred art at the Princeton University chapel, drew 1000 people in person, and the videos have been since seen by more than 16,000 people!  For that energy to spread, in June 2024, Scala is partnering with the Catholic Sacred Music Project to host two intensive weeks of training in Princeton for 30 composers, choristers, and choral conductors of sacred music. These young musicians will not just train together; they will eat and pray together on Princeton’s campus. These eminently human moments—and the friendships they inspire—must be cultivated if we are to illuminate America’s darkening culture and society.

The music for the Sarum Vespers was composed 500 years ago by the English composer Thomas Tallis. His polyphony has transcended its time and is admired today. However, if any culture is to survive, it must remain vibrant and flourishing. A living tradition of music must draw on the best of the past to offer beauty, through the graced creativity of contemporary composers, to the people of the present and the generations of the future. Our goal is to form those contemporary composers who will be admired today in the year 2524 and whose work will inspire faith and love of God and man for the generations of people who hear it in the intervening time. We are looking for composers who will be as familiar to future generations as JS Bach is to us today. If we aim for anything less, we sell ourselves short.

Johann Sebastian Bach
Photo credit: Elias Gottlob Haussmann, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

About This Event’s Sponsors

This event is organized by the Catholic Sacred Music Project and proudly co-sponsored by the Scala Foundation, Benedict XVI Institute, Magnificat Institute, and the Aquinas Institute of Princeton University. We are grateful to the Princeton Theological Seminary Chapel for hosting this event. 


Please park at the Princeton Theological Seminary Library, 25 Library Place, Princeton, NJ 08540. The event is not taking place at the library, however, it is taking place across the street at the Princeton Theological Seminary Chapel.

To find the Princeton Theological Seminary Chapel, cross Mercer Street at the crosswalk/stoplight and go to the main quad of the Seminary’s campus. The Seminary Chapel is on the left side of the Seminary’s main quad. (Please note: Princeton Theological Seminary Chapel is not the Princeton University Chapel).

RSVPs are encouraged but optional. Dress code is business casual. RSVP here.

Support this Event

Patrons of the arts are central to offering great new works of art and music to a nation whose culture is in rapid collapse, mainly because of an abandonment of beauty in education and worship. Donations of any size are greatly appreciated so that we can make beautiful music free to as many audiences as possible!

Members of Scala’s Fellowship of the Annunciation commit to recurring donations (monthly, quarterly or yearly) to support Scala’s mission to restore meaning and purpose to culture through beauty, liturgy and liberal arts education. Would you make a recurring donation to Scala to support this and future events that train young artists and musicians?

To make a one-time donation, visit Scala’s website.

The Princeton Theological Seminary Chapel
Photo Credit: Djkeddie – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,