40-Year Celebration

40 Year Celebration Logo

Celebrating 40 Years at Yale
March 29 - May 3, 2014
Music ~ Worship ~ Arts

In 1973—a tumultuous year marked by the simultaneous winding down of the Vietnam War and escalating strife in the Middle East, and in the U.S. by the roiling Watergate scandal and continued violence in the streets—three faculty and one administrator left their homes in New York after long careers at Union Theological Seminary and made a pilgrimage to New Haven to found the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. The new enterprise had been the dream of a brother and sister from Columbus, Indiana, who in those turbulent times envisioned a place where musicians and artists, theologians and teachers could together learn that sacred music and prayer, joined with all the sacred arts, have a response to make to such global and national crises. Through the generosity of J. Irwin Miller and his sister, Clementine Tangeman, the Institute was put on solid footing to ensure its continuing place in the changing world.

Carving detail from the Taylor & Boody continuo organ in the ISM's collectionOver the last forty years, the ISM has grown from those four original pioneers (soon joined by the first class of ten students) to today’s thriving international community of over a hundred faculty, students, and fellows who—from a breathtaking diversity of perspectives and disciplines—explore, consider, and foster the ways that people have manifested their faith through worship, music, and other forms of artistic expression.

In April 2014 we celebrated this history and these accomplishments through a month of broadly-conceived programming that includes performances, lectures, readings, symposia, film, and exhibitions. We took this opportunity to extend our gratitude to our founders and forebears and to our academic partners, especially the Yale School of Music and Yale Divinity School (and also other units at the University). Together we have trained the Institute’s nearly 600 graduates to occupy positions of leadership in religious communities, educational institutions, and museums, or to pursue careers in the performing arts.

Forty years is a short time in historical terms—but we are proud of the traditions of excellence, creativity, and collaboration we have established during this brief existence, and look forward to building on them to face the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the coming decades.

Martin Jean