St Patrick's College,
Department of Music


Heinrich Bewerunge, German cleric and musician, was born in 1862 and ordained in 1885. He was educated in Würzburg and Regensburg under Franz Witt and Franz Haberl, both leaders of the Cecilian movement which sought to restore plainchant and renaissance polyphony to Catholic liturgy. Sanctioned by Pope Pius IX in 1870, Cecilianism spread throughout Germany, the Netherlands, Eastern Europe and America. The Irish Society of St Cecilia was founded in 1878. Bewerunge was appointed to Maynooth ten years later, on the recommendation of Haberl, and he occupied the Chair of Church Chant and Organ at St Patrick’s College for thirty-five years until his death in 1923. A gifted composer and arranger of liturgical music, his life’s work as practitioner, scholar and pedagogue was primarily focused on church music and music education, with the ambit of his activities extending internationally.

This conference aims to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Bewerunge’s birth in 1862 by exploring themes and topics which were of concern to him and which are just as cogent today. The role and place of music in the liturgy; education and employment of musicians; the interpretation and viability of chant; reform of liturgical practices; church music legislation; – all these issues and more which inform our contemporary endeavours with church music were also crucial matters for Bewerunge.

Bewerunge’s significant anniversary offers an opportunity for St Patrick’s College and NUI Maynooth not only to celebrate the founding father of music at Maynooth, but also to illumine the path of church music over the past 150 years and into the present time. The two-day event is inter-institutional and interdisciplinary, offering a forum for academics, religious, church musicians, performers and educators to engage in vibrant dialogue. It is hoped that this unique occasion might act as a springboard for further collaborative and cross-disciplinary work in the areas of church  music and education.

Conference contact address: