“Silence, Solitude and Song” Lecture at the CFC | February 8

The CFC is pleased to have Dr. Steven Guthrie as the Keynote Speaker for the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Society for Christian Scholarship in Music to be hosted at SEBTS Feb 8-10.

While the conference is limited to registered attendees, SEBTS students are invited to hear Dr. Guthrie speak on “Silence, Solitude and Song: Sounding the Dimensions of our Aural Crisis” at 4:30 pm, Thursday, February 8 in the Center for Faith and Culture in Patterson Hall.

Lecture description: Two of the most pressing issues of our current cultural moment are the loss of community and the loss of civility. A host of studies have demonstrated that Americans are increasingly isolated from one another; physically, emotionally and ideologically. Former surgeon general Vivek Murthy for instance, has spoken of a nationwide “loneliness epidemic.” A widely cited survey from the Pew Research Center likewise indicates that ideological and partisan acrimony is “deeper and more extensive than at any point in recent history.” Perhaps we could describe these problems as twin manifestations of a deeper “aural crisis.” That is to say, we do not feel heard, nor do we hear one another.

These issues of isolation, sound, and competing voices are the subject of a fascinating trilogy of pieces by Canadian pianist Glenn Gould. Gould characterized his Solitude Trilogy as an experiment in “contrapuntal radio” – in which music, environmental sounds and recorded interviews are drawn together and built up into an aural collage. Though these pieces are not particularly well known, the Canadian philosopher Georges Leroux has described The Solitude Trilogy as “an unequalled masterpiece” which “encompasses all of Gould’s thinking as a musician and all of his art.” We will add further voices to Gould’s contrapuntal exploration by attending to the contemplatives, those Christian virtuosi of silence and solitude. We likewise will find that the Christian doctrine of the Holy Spirit – the Giver of both tongues and interpretations – has much to add to our consideration of sound and solitude.”

Steven Guthrie is Professor of Theology at Belmont University where he is also director of the Religion and Arts program and the Worship Leadership program. He earned his B. Mus. in Music Theory from the University of Michigan School of Music, and worked as a musician and minister of music for seven years before going on for graduate study in theology. His doctoral dissertation from the University of St. Andrews was on the theology of music, and he served as post-doctoral fellow and then as a Lecturer at the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts, at the University of St. Andrews. He is the author of Creator Spirit: The Holy Spirit and the Art of Becoming Human (Baker Academic, 2011), and the co-editor (with Jeremy Begbie) of Resonant Witness: Conversations Between Music and Theology (Eerdmans, 2011). He continues to lead worship at his church, and play music professionally in the Nashville area.