Intro to ISM
History of ISM
The ISM Today
The Friends of the Institute
Introduction to ISM
Psalm 21 To the chiefe Musician a psalme of David
1. Jehovah, in thy strength
the King shall joyfull bee;
and joy in thy salvation
how vehemently shall hee?
The Bay Psalm Book, 1640
The Yale Institute of Sacred Music is an interdisciplinary graduate center dedicated to the study and practice of sacred music, worship and the related arts. Founded with a core focus on the Christian tradition of sacred music, the Institute also seeks to engage with other forms of sacred art and other religious traditions. David, the prototypical representative in the Judeo-Christian world
of the church or synagogue musician, dominates the logo of the ISM because he and the Psalms conventionally
ascribed to him have been continually reshaped to suit linguistic
needs, liturgical taste, and historical understanding. Indeed, the Psalms, which have
formed the basic materials for Jewish and Christian worship throughout
the centuries. The Institute's primary mission is to music students
whose vocation is to conduct, play, and sing for the worshiping
assembly, and who have keen interest in the religious and theological contexts of the sacred music they perform. Likewise, the Institute trains divinity students preparing for leadership roles
in the churches, whether as lay people, as ordained clergy, or as
scholars developing specialities in liturgical studies and in religion and the arts.
As an independently endowed entity at Yale University, the Institute
of Sacred Music provides generous financial support for those talented
students who believe in the importance of interactive training for
church musicians and clergy, a training that fosters mutual respect
and common understanding. David, if one stretches him a bit, stands
for the many activities supported at Yale through the Institute.
Through its mission to church musicians, the training
for ministry, and the lives of the churches, the Institute has a
unique position, not only at Yale, but in this country and in the
world at large. At Yale, we link the resources of two extraordinary
professional schools, the Yale School of Music and the Yale Divinity
School. Institute students receive degrees in one or the other of
these schools, and, if they elect to do so, joint degrees from both.
The certificate additionally received from the Institute signifies
that students have gained more than the training either school alone
can offer. Students acquire a sense of the partnership between churches,
and a working knowledge of the changing synthesis of music, text,
ceremony, and liturgical space, which has taken place
in the assemblies of all faiths and denominations since their beginnings.
Although the Institute is but thirty years old, its present position
is possible because many persons understood the importance of a
shared process of formation for ministers and musicians.
(Updated June 2008)