The Coronation Ceremony of His Majesty King Charles III: A Conversation with faculty at the ISM

April 27, 2023

The Coronation of King Charles III will take place in Westminster Abbey on Saturday, May 6, an event that will be watched by millions around the globe. In this video interview, Professor Teresa Berger speaks with two British faculty members at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music (ISM)—Professors James O’Donnell and Bryan Spinks—who share their unique insights about ancient and contemporary musical and liturgical aspects of this sacred ritual. View the video here.

James O’Donnell, professor in the Practice of Organ and Sacred Music at the ISM and Yale School of Music, was the organist and director of Music at Westminster Abbey for the past twenty-three years before he joined Yale in January of this year. He brings a unique perspective to the conversation about the coronation, having led a vast range of services at The Abbey for over two decades, from daily worship to state occasions such as the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011, and the service of thanksgiving for the life of Prince Philip in 2021. Most recently, he oversaw the music for the state funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In January 2023, O’Donnell was made a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order by King Charles III in the New Year’s Honors list.

Bryan Spinks is the Bishop F. Percy Goddard Professor Emeritus of Liturgical Studies and Pastoral Theology at the ISM and Yale Divinity School. Professor Spinks is a specialist in a vast array of liturgical topics, including English Reformation worship traditions, eucharistic prayer and theology, Christology, the liturgy of the Eastern churches, marriage rituals, and contemporary worship. As former president of both the Society for Oriental Liturgy and the Church Service Society of the Church of Scotland, as well as consultant to the Church of England Liturgical Commission, he brings deep insights into many aspects of the coronation ceremony.

Teresa Berger, moderator of the discussion, is professor of Liturgical Studies and the Thomas E. Golden Jr. Professor of Catholic Theology at the ISM and Yale School of Divinity. Her expertise lies at the intersection of liturgical and cultural practices, particularly within the contemporary cultural context.

Left to right: Professor James O’Donnell, Professor Bryan Spinks, Professor Teresa Berger

Media inquiries can be directed to head of communications at ISM, Amanda Patrick.