Keough-Hesburgh Professor of Music History and Liturgy
Renowned for her work at the intersection of musicology and theology, Margot Fassler is an internationally recognized expert in sacred music of all periods, but in particular of the medieval period. Before coming to Notre Dame in 2009, Fassler spent a decade as director of the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University, and she is continues her work in the Departments of Music and of Theology at Notre Dame, where she is also a co-director of the Masters of Sacred Music. She holds a concurrent appointment in the Medieval Institute. She has been awarded the John Nicolas Brown Prize of the Medieval Academy of American and the Otto Kinkeldey Prize of the American Musicological Society. She has been a member in the Institute for Advanced Study, the Center for Theological Inquiry, and a Luce Fellow, and has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her most recent book is The Virgin of Chartres: Making History through Liturgy and the Arts (Yale University Press), which has won both the Otto Gründler Prize and the ACE Mercer Book Award. Fassler has just completed a textbook Music in the Medieval West with its accompanying Anthology (2013), and is now creating a digital model of Hildegard’s Cosmic Egg (with music) in the Digital Visualization Theater at ND. Her book on the twelfth-century theologian Hildegard of Bingen will work in relationship with the digital model, and both are sponsored by grants from the ACLS and the Guggenheim foundation.
In addition to her work as a historian, Fassler is a documentarian, whose films engage communities of song within ritual contexts. She has finished films on the nuns of Regina Laudis (WWNorton); psalm singing in the Northeastern US; the work of a choir performing the St. John Passion by JS Bach (WWNorton); and a study of change and continuity in the life of a Baptist church musician, You Can’t Sing It for Them. She often works in partnership with documentarian Jacqueline Richard, and is now finishing a film on chant and liturgy at St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church in Jersey City.
In 2006, the late Donald Keough, his wife, Mickie, and their children endowed the Keough-Hesburgh Professorships, for the recruitment of preeminent scholars who demonstrate a deep and abiding commitment to Notre Dame’s Catholic mission. The chairs honor the friendship of Don Keough and the late Father Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C., University president emeritus.