List of Roman Catholic Church musicians

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List of Catholic Church musicians is a list of people who perform or compose Catholic music, a branch of Christian music. Names should be limited to those whose Catholicism affected their music and should preferably only include those musicians whose works have been performed liturgically in a Catholic service, or who perform specifically in a Catholic religious context.

Traditional and hymnal[edit]

Composers who wrote Catholic sacred music[edit]

Note: The term classical music has been used broadly to describe many eras which do not fit the label. Initially the term specifically meant 1730–1820 (the Classical period), but for this list the period from the Baroque period to the modern era will be included in this section. This is because Renaissance and especially Medieval music tends to be dominated, in the West, by Catholic religious music.

Roman School[edit]

The Roman School is a group of composers strongly linked to the Vatican and the Council of Trent. Many of them were, or became, priests. Although much of their work is too early to be mentioned here it did survive into the early Baroque. Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina is generally seen as the most famous member. As a list of members is in the article on the subject, repetition of names in it should be normally avoided, although Palestrina is notable enough to be in both.

21st Century Classical School[edit]

There is a small but growing school of church composers, favoring a return to Catholic music that can be called "classical", writing original organ, choral, and vocal music that is often based on Gregorian chant. Andrea Amici (b. 1972) has written Gregorian-based music of high quality.[13]

Francis Koerber is composing Roman Catholic organ and choral works including Mass settings.

Twentieth century and contemporary music[edit]

Popular composers and artists[edit]

Contemporary Catholic music takes many forms, from rock to folk. The genre of music, although not as popular as evangelical Christian music, is continuing to grow.

Contemporary Catholic musicians tend toward two main forms of expression: liturgical and non-liturgical. In a liturgical context, music is performed in a manner intended to heighten the spiritual atmosphere of a liturgical service, such as during Sunday mass, Eucharistic adoration or Stations of the Cross. The non-liturgical context, though very much worshipful, usually takes the form of a concert without the presence of a liturgical service. Non-liturgical settings are mainly focused on building Christian fellowship within Catholic communities. Non-liturgical artists find the opportunity to uniquely share their faith through their personal lyrics, and directly to audiences between songs. Although Catholic musicians tend toward one expression over the other, many will minister within both expressions with the appropriate music styles.

The following popular composers and performers are of note:

Liturgical artists[edit]

Non-liturgical artists[edit]

Note: The Unity Awards began in 2001 with the intent of being a Catholic-specific equivalent to the GMA Dove Awards.[18] In certain cases the following mentions winners of this award.

  • Audrey Assad - contemporary Christian Artist known for her EP "For Love of You"

Celebrant Singers (

Catholic hip-hop artists[edit]

Note: It is difficult to find an existing list of Catholic emcees (rappers) and DJs. This is an attempt to create an exhaustive list of said artists. Some of these artists are listed above under "Non-liturgical Artists".

Catholic rock artists[edit]

Liturgical music[edit]

Many composers have contributed to the distinct pop-inspired sound of contemporary Catholic liturgical music, including Marty Haugen, (a non-Catholic,) Dan Schutte, David Hassr, Fr. Michael Joncas, and the St. Louis Jesuits. For more details, see Contemporary Catholic liturgical music. A majority of American Catholic Parishes now use at least some of this style of music in their liturgies.[26] A recent trend has returned to the official music of the Roman Catholic Church, Gregorian chant and to newly composed music based on or inspired by it, and to liturgical projects like the Chabanel Psalms or Adam bartlett's Simple English Propers.[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Faith of Our Fathers - Text Only
  2. ^ Icking Music Archive
  3. ^ The Cambridge History of Seventeenth-Century Music edited by Tim Carter and John Butt, pgs 185-186
  4. ^ Vatican News
  5. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia
  6. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia
  7. ^ Concordia's Thursday Report_November 19, 1998
  8. ^ IMSLP
  9. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia
  10. ^ Seattle
  11. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia
  12. ^ Naxos
  13. ^
  14. ^ The Cambridge Companion to Choral Music edited by André de Quadros, pg 52
  15. ^ Sacred Music in Crisis – Cardinal Bartolucci interview
  16. ^ [1] and []
  17. ^ Obituary
  18. ^ Washington Times by way of Highbeam
  19. ^ Spirit and Song
  20. ^ Ceili Rain's website
  21. ^ a b Unity Awards for 2004
  22. ^ Dana
  23. ^ Unity Awards 2007
  24. ^ Carlos & Minh Solorzano - members of the interdenominational Christian band COME THIRSTY from Tucson, AZ who are signed with the Tate Music Group. Both of them also work as Catholic School teachers for the Tucson Diocese. When not working with COME THIRSTY Minh can be heard singing the National Anthem at various sporting events while Carlos freelances as a session drummer and as a tribal drumming composer whose music has been featured on VH1, MTV & E! Entertainment Television. Unity Awards 2006
  25. ^ [2]
  26. ^ The Center for Liturgy, [3]
  27. ^ CMAA

External links[edit]