Margot Fassler

Margot Fassler

Endowed Professor
Keough-Hesburgh Professor of Music History and Liturgy
History of Christianity
Liturgical Studies
World Religions and World Church


MA, Syracuse University

MPhil and PhD Cornell University

Research and Teaching Interests

Fassler is a music historian who gives the liturgy primary emphasis in her scholarly publications and her teaching.   Fassler's books, edited volumes, and articles focus on the Latin Middle Ages from around 800-1300, but she has strong interests in contemporary sacred music and ritual, and in American song, singers, and song collections.   She is now writing a book on Hildegard of Bingen and has recented completed several books that work on liturgy and the arts.  Fassler's "Music and Worship in the USA"  studies ritual out of observation; Fassler is herself a documentary filmmaker focusing communities of song.  She recently finished (with Christian Jara) the short documentary: Where the Hudson Meets the Nile: Coptic Chant in Jersey City. Fassler's films will soon be featured on

Courses in her rota include a seminar on Hildegard of Bingen; Medieval Liturgies: Manuscripts and Material Culture; Music and Worship in the USA; Liturgical Prayer; and courses on the Hollywood Musical and American Popular Song.  

Recent Publications


2014. Music in the Medieval West: An Anthology. New York: WWNorton.

2014. Anthology for Music in the Medieval West. New York: WWNorton.

2010. The Virgin of Chartres: Making History through Liturgy and the Arts. Yale University Press.

2003. Psalms in Community:  Jewish and Christian Textual, Liturgical, and Artistic Traditions, editor, with Harold W. Attridge.  SBL/Brill, 2003.   Second Printing, 2007.

Ed. 2001. Musicians for the Churches: Reflections on Formation and Vocation. Yale Institute of Sacred Music.

Ed. with Rebecca A. Baltzer. 2000. The Divine Office in the Latin Middle Ages:  Methodology and Source Studies, Regional Developments, Hagiography, ed. Margot E. Fassler and Rebecca A. Baltzer.  Oxford University Press.

1993. Gothic Song:  Victorine Sequences and Augustinian Reform in Twelfth-Century Paris.  Cambridge Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Music.  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press. Second edition (University of Notre Dame Press), 2011. 

Book Chapters:

Eith William Flynn and Tova Leigh-Choate. 2014. "Hearing the Heavenly Symphony: An Overview of Hildegard’s Musical Oeuvre with Case Studies" and "Hildegard as Musical Hagiographer: Engelberg, Stiftsbibliothek 103 and Her Songs for Sts. Disibod and Ursula."  A Companion to Hildegard of Bingen, ed. Beverly Kienzele and G. Ferzocco. Leiden: Brill. 

2013."Volmar, Hildegard, and St. Matthias," in Medieval Music in Practice, Studies in Honor of Richard Crocker, ed. Judith A. Peraino, pp. 85-109. Miscellanea 7. Middleton, WI and Münster: American Institute of Musicology.


2010. "Hildegard's Music for the Love Feast," Resonant Witness: Conversations between Music and Theology, ed. Jeremy Begbie and Steven Guthrie.  Erdmans.


2010. “The Liturgical Framework of Time and the Representation of History," in Representing History, 900-1300: Art, Music, History.  Ed. by Robert Maxwell, pp 149-171. Penn State University Press.


2010. "The Victorine Sequences Revisited: 1993-2009" in L'École de Saint- Victor de Paris: Influence et Rayonnement du Moyen Âge à l'Époque Moderne, ed. Dominque Poirel, pp. 433-457. Bibliotheca Victorina XXII.  Turnhout: Brepols.


2010. " Helgaud of Fleury and the Liturgical Arts: The Magnification of Robert the Pious," Magnificence and the Sublime in Medieval Aesthetics: Art, Architecture, Literature, Music, ed. C. Stephen Jaeger, pp. 102-127. New York: Palgrave.


2010. "History and Practice: the Opening of Hildegard's Scivias in a Liturgical Framework," in Something Fearful’: Medievalist Scholars on the Religious Turn in Literary Criticism, Religion and Literature 42 (Spring-Summer 2010).


Co-Producer and Writer, with JC Richard. 2010. You Can't Sing It for them: Continuity, Change, and a Church Musician, Yale Institute of Sacred Music.

Co-Producer and Writer. 2009. Where the Hudson Meets the Nile: Teaching Chant at: St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church. Yale Institute of Sacred Music.

Co-Producer and Writer. 2008. Performing Passion: JS Bach and the Gospel of John (1725). Yale Institute of Sacred Music. Distributed by WWNorton. 

Producer and Writer. 2007. Joyful Noise: Psalms in Community. Yale Institute of Sacred Music,  2007. Distributed by the Society for Biblical Literature.

Producer and Writer. 2004. Work and Pray:  Living the Psalms with the Nuns of Regina Laudis. Yale Institute of Sacred Music, with funding from the Lilly Endowment. Distributed by WWNorton. 


This fall, Margot Fassler, Director of SMND, and the Keough Hesburgh Professor of Music History and Liturgy, offers three Keynote Presentations in two months, each on a different subject. Fassler is on the circuit! These formal presentations include her lecture “Within/Without: The Liturgical Voices of Women Religious in the Later Middle Ages,” for the Reichenau-Tagung des Konstanzer Arbeitskreises für mittelalterliche Geschichte, this year on the subject “Zwischen Klausur und Welt: Autonomie und Interaktion spätmittelalterlicher geistlicher Frauengemeinschaften.” This conference was organized by the renown historian of women religious Professor Eva Schlotheuber, of Düsseldorf University. The following week, Fassler presented a keynote on the liturgical practices of the Augustinian canons of St. Victor in the twelfth century at “A Sacrifice of Praise:  Liturgy, Prayer, and Hymnody at the Center of Faith and Life,” the 42nd Patristic, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies Conference, at Villanova University, organized by Professor Kevin Hughes of Villanova University; the other keynote was given by Professor Susan Ashbrook Harvey of Brown University. Next month, on November 30, Fassler travels to Binghamton University to give the Bernardo Lecture on the subject “Hildegard’s Cosmology.” The lecture will be offered in conjunction with the latest version of the model of creation and cosmos by Fassler and digital artist Christian Jara, using Hildegard’s music, theology, and illuminations from twelfth-century codices; the work is an exploration of the Middle Ages through the use of digital tools and artforms.


In the midst of these (and several other presentations), Fassler has also been involved in many national and international projects and think-tanks, including “Rethinking Sacred Arts” at St. Vladimir’s Seminar, organized by Peter Bouteneff, Professor of Systematic Theology; “Developing Virtues in the Practice of Science,” organized by Professors Celia Deane Drummond, Thomas Stapleford, and Darcia Narvez (all of the University of Notre Dame); and “Sound Memories: The Musical Past in Late-Medieval and Early Modern Europe (SoundMe)” under the director of several European scholars, including Professors Karl Kügle of the University of Utrecht and Susan Rankin of Cambridge University. Fassler’s interview with Professor Bouteneff provides an example of her thoughts on sacred music as it informs the arts more generally.


Fassler’s most recent publications include four books: Music in the Medieval West and its Anthology (WW Norton, 2014 and 2015); with (Jeffery Hamburger, Eva Schlotheuber, and Susan Marti): Liturgical Life and Latin Learning at Paradies bei Soest, 1300-1425: Inscription and Illumination in the Choir Books of a North German Dominican Convent (Aschendorff, 2016); and her edited volume, with Katie Bugyis and Andrew Krabel, Medieval Cantors and their Craft: Music, Liturgy, and the Shaping of History, 800-1500 (York Medieval Press of Boydell and Brewer, 2017). She has also recently written a number of articles and book chapters, including a forthcoming study in the Cambridge History of Medieval Music. Her chapter on a newly discovered office for John the Baptist (with Jeffrey Hamburger) appeared in Resounding Images: Medieval Intersections of Art, Music, and Sound, ed. Susan Boyton and Diane Reilly (Brepols, 2015), which garnered the Ruth A. Solie Award of the American Musicological Society in 2016. Fassler is currently President of the Medieval Academy of America, and has been elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Medieval Academy of America; she was named an honorary member of the American Musicological Society in 2016. In addition to her work in SMND, Fassler serves on the faculty of both the Departments of Music and of Theology, and is a fellow of the Medieval Institute and of the Nanovic Institute. She is the Robert Tangeman Professor Emerita of Music History at Yale University.




241 Malloy Hall

Full CV

Download full CV