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Co-presented with the St. Paul’s Choir School


Thursday, April 25

Elizabeth Lyon Hall

COLLIS/Cornell University

Music by the Saint Paul’s Boys Choir and soloists, dir. Richard Webster

St. Paul’s Church, Cambridge MA, and Livestreamed

William Byrd, a giant in the history of choral music who died 400 years ago, and a Catholic whose creative powers flourished in the Protestant reign of Elizabeth I, composed music of inspiring beauty in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Elizabeth Lyon Hall explores the role of Mary in Christian prayer, faith and discipleship; the strange historical circumstances in which Byrd composed his music; and the expression of Marian themes in selected works, including the Magnificat from the Great Service, and gems from the Gradualia. This music will then be sung by the Saint Paul’s Boys Choir and soloists.

Co-sponsored by COLLIS Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture


Elizabeth Lyon Hall, Executive Director of the COLLIS Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture at Cornell University, is a historian with research specialties in late antique and medieval music theory, Augustinian philosophy, and the medieval theology of sacred music. She trained as a professional cellist on modern and historical cellos and directs the sacred music choirs at COLLIS Institute. A graduate of Columbia and Juilliard, she has been a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics (Frankfurt am Main). She received her PhD in musicology from Cornell.


The Saint Paul’s Boys Choir, directed by Richard Webster, is based at the St. Paul’s Choir School, founded in 1963 by Dr. Theodore Marier, the only Catholic boys’ choir school in the United States. The Boys’ Choir sings during term time at daily and Sunday Masses, and at a weekly Choral Vespers. The Choir has toured and performed throughout North America and Europe and made numerous recordings.

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