List of Roman 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
- Paolo Agostino, all his surviving works are religious.
- Vittoria Aleotti, Augustinian nun and composer.
- Giovenale Ancina, Beatified writer of spiritual songs.
- Caterina Assandra, Benedictine nun and composer.
- Thoinot Arbeau, Catholic priest who composed the originally secular Ding Dong Merrily on High.
- Jean de Brébeuf, A Canonized Jesuit who composed the Huron Carol.
- William Byrd, English Catholic (in the era of Elizabeth I and the Stuarts), composer of 5 polyphonic masses and other sacred music.
- Hermannus Contractus, the Alma Redemptoris Mater said to have been written by him.
- Tommaso da Celano, Dies Irae
- Orlando de Lassus, late Renaissance composer polyphonic masses and sacred music.
- Guillaume de Machaut, medieval French composer.
- Cristobal de Morales, Renaissance Spanish composer of sacred music.
- Josquin des Prez, composer of Renaissance polyphonic masses and sacred music.
- Guillaume Dufay, worked for the Papal chapel, composer of Renaissance polyphonic masses and sacred music.
- John Dunstaple or Dunstable, early Renaissance English composer of polyphonic sacred music.
- Frederick William Faber, Catholic convert who wrote Catholic hymns like Faith of Our Fathers.
- Giovanni Gabrieli, late Renaissance/early Baroque Italian composer who composed much sacred music.
- Jacobus Gallus, A Slovenian composer of sacred music and member of the Cistercians.
- Joseph Gelineau, French composer of Gelineau psalmody and music for the Taizé Community.
- Carlo Gesualdo, late Renaissance Italian composer, most famous for madrigals, but also composed some sacred music.
- Francisco Guerrero, late Renaissance Spanish composer of both sacred and secular music.
- Hildegard of Bingen, Benedictine abbess and one of the earliest known female composers.
- Hucbald, ninth century Benedictine composer and music theorist.
- Luca Marenzio, Madrigale spirituale
- Domenico Mustafà, Castrato composer for the Sistine Chapel choir.
- Johannes Ockeghem, composer of Renaissance polyphonic masses.
- Frederick Oakeley, convert who translated Adeste Fideles
- Paul the Deacon, Benedictine who wrote Ut queant laxis.
- Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, late Renaissance Italian composer of polyphonic sacred music, considered by many the greatest such composer, "a tremendous influence on the development of Catholic Church music."
- Thomas Tallis, devoutly Catholic composer of polyphonic church music in Tudor England. "The earliest works by Tallis that survive are devotional antiphons to the Virgin Mary."
- Tomás Luis de Victoria, late Renaissance Spanish composer of polyphoic sacred music, a priest at Descalzas Reales.
- Samuel Webbe, English composer of Catholic hymns.
Composers who wrote Catholic sacred music
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.
- Mateo Albéniz, Spanish composer and priest.
- Johann Christian Bach, son of J.S. Bach, converted to Catholicism and wrote much Catholic liturgical and sacred music.
- Ludwig van Beethoven, his sacred music includes the famous Missa solemnis and Mass in C major.
- Hector Berlioz, though an atheist, Berlioz wrote a famous Requiem as well as another mass and a Te Deum.
- František Brixi, eighteenth-century Czech composer. He wrote some 290 church compositions and was Kapellmeister of St. Vitus Cathedral.
- Severo Bonini, Benedictine and Baroque composer of sacred music.
- Anton Bruckner, Austrian late Romantic composer most famous for his symphonies. Devoutly Catholic, he wrote at least seven Masses and much other Catholic sacred music.
- Francesca Caccini, Italian early Baroque female composer. Composed some motets.
- Francesco Cavalli, Italian early Baroque composer of operas and some sacred music, including a requiem mass.
- Marc-Antoine Charpentier, French Baroque composer. Composed several masses and other sacred music.
- Luigi Cherubini, late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Italian composer of operas and sacred music. He composed 11 masses
- Gaetano Donizetti, most famous as composer of operas, he also composed some sacred music including two Masses.
- Antonín Dvořák, Czech composer, most famous for the New World Symphony. A devout Catholic, his sacred compositions include a Requiem, Mass in D major, Stabat Mater and Te Deum.
- Edward Elgar, devoutly Catholic English composer of nineteenth and early twentieth century. His most famous religious work is the The Dream of Gerontius whose text is a poem by Cardinal Newman
- Gabriel Fauré, nineteenth century French composer. Although his religious views are obscure, he was a renowned church organist, and composed a significant amount of Catholic sacred music, including of a famous Requiem Mass.
- César Franck, nineteenth-century French composer, most famous for his Symphony in D. Composer of Panis Angelicus.
- Christoph Willibald Gluck, Knighted by Pope Benedict XIV, was important in the history of opera, but wrote only a few pieces of sacred music.
- Charles Gounod, French composer whose religious music includes a very famous setting of the Ave Maria and Inno e Marcia Pontificale.
- Henryk Górecki - late twentieth century Polish composer, most famous for his Third Symphony. Also has composed Catholic sacred music.
- Pietro Guglielmi, In 1793 he became maestro di cappella at St Peter's, Rome.
- Johann Michael Haydn, younger brother of Joseph Haydn, and prolific composer of sacred music, including 47 masses.
- Joseph Haydn, great Austrian composer of the Classical period. Credited with inventing the symphony. Also composed 14 Masses (including the Mass in Time of War), 2 Te Deums and a Stabat Mater. Very devout, often prayed the rosary when he had trouble composing. Teacher of both Mozart and Beethoven.
- Zoltan Kodaly, twentieth century Hungarian composer. Composed a Missa Brevis, a Te Deum, and Psalmus Hungaricus.
- Franz Liszt, famed pianist and Romantic composer, mostly of piano works. He became a Franciscan tertiary. Composed much sacred music, including 5 masses.
- Antonio Lotti, Made his career at St Mark's Basilica and composed numerous Masses.
- Olivier Messiaen, twentieth century French composer. "Many of his compositions depict what he termed 'the marvellous aspects of the faith', drawing on his unshakeable Roman Catholicism."
- Claudio Monteverdi, Italian composer, famous from madrigals, and important in the transition from Renaissance to Baroque styles. Most well-known sacred piece is Vespro della Beata Vergine 1610 (Vespers for the Blessed Virgin) and was ordained in 1633
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Composed 18 Masses including the Requiem Mass, the Coronation Mass, and the Great Mass in C minor, and much other sacred music, including Vespers, Ave Verum Corpus, and Exultate Jubilate.
- Arvo Pärt, late twentieth-century Estonian composer. Though Eastern Orthodox, his sacred music is primarily in Latin Catholic forms, including a Mass, Te Deum, and Stabat Mater.
- Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Italian Baroque composer who wrote one of the most famous settings of the Stabat Mater.
- Don Lorenzo Perosi, Catholic priest and Director of the Sistine Choir under five Popes.
- Francis Poulenc, Twentieth century French composer. His most famous sacred works are the Mass in G, a Gloria, a Stabat Mater, and Dialogues of the Carmelites.
- Licinio Refice, composed over 300 pieces of sacred music
- Georg Reutter, church composer.
- Josef Rheinberger, twelve Masses and a Stabat Mater.
- Gioacchino Rossini, one of the greatest composers of Italian Opera. Late in life wrote a famous Stabat Mater and the Petite messe solennelle
- Antonio Salieri, Italian composer of Classical period. Taught Mozart, Schubert, and Liszt. Composed operas and sacred music, including ten hymns and nine psalms.
- Alessandro Scarlatti, Italian Baroque composer, whose most notable sacred composition is the St. Cecelia mass.
- Domenico Scarlatti, Italian Baroque composer, his sacred music includes a well known Stabat Mater and Salve Regina.
- Franz Schubert, Great classical/early Romantic Austrian composer. Most famous for Lieder and symphonies. Also composed 6 masses and much other sacred music, including a famous Ave Maria (whose original text was a prayer to Mary, but not the famous hail Mary prayer). List of compositions by Franz Schubert
- Robert Schumann, German Romantic composer. Though Protestant, he composed a Mass in C minor and a Requiem Mass.
- Antonio Soler, Spanish priest and composer.
- Igor Stravinski, though an Eastern Orthodox Christian, Stravinski composed a notable Catholic Mass.
- Ralph Vaughan Williams, twentieth century English composer, an agnostic Anglican, who composed or arranged much Anglican Church music. He composed a few works in Catholic liturgical forms, including a Mass and a Te Deum.
- Giuseppe Verdi, though not religious, he wrote a few religious works, including his great Messa da Requiem.
- Antonio Vivaldi, called "The Red Priest" because of his hair. His religious music includes several large choral works (such as the Gloria), small solo motets, and hymnals con instrumenti.
- Carl Maria von Weber, German composer of Classical period, who wrote some sacred music that was popular especially in the nineteenth century.
- Niccolò Antonio Zingarelli, was appointed choir master of the Sistine Chapel in 1804.
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
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.
Twentieth century and contemporary music
Popular composers and artists
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:
Note: The Unity Awards began in 2001 with the intent of being a Catholic-specific equivalent to the GMA Dove Awards. In certain cases the following mentions winners of this award.
- Audrey Assad - Contemporary Christian Artist known for her EP "For Love of You"
- Ceili Rain - Celtic/Pop-Rock with Catholic themes, heavily honored by the Unity Awards
- Cheer Up Charlie - Catholic industrial rock/rap (Florida). They won a Unity Award for Modern Rock / Alternative Album of the Year
- CRISPIN - Catholic/Christian funk (Texas).
- Critical Mass - Critically acclaimed Canadian rock band, winners of numerous awards, including two Canadian Gospel Music Association Awards for Best Rock Album. Performed for Pope John Paul II in Toronto in 2002.
- Dana Scallon - devoutly Catholic Northern Irish singer currently based in USA; "Songwriter of the Year" and "Female Vocalist of the Year" at the Unity Awards in 2004.
- Stan Fortuna - Catholic jazz and hip hop
- John-Paul Kaplan - Instrumental works.
- Katholicus - Catholic classic melodic hard rock (Maryland) -the "Petra of Catholic music"
- Last Day - Catholic Alternative Rock (Kentucky)
- Matt Maher
- Steve Angrisano Contemporary Catholic musician
- James MacMillan - contemporary Scottish Composer
- manuel3 - Catholic soul/funk (Ill.)
- Tony Meléndez - An armless Christian guitarist who was Male Vocalist of the Year at the 2004 Unity Awards and performed for Pope John Paul II.
- Michael James Mette - modern rock worship
- Aaron Neville - Praise & Worship Album of the Year by the Catholic Unity Awards 2006.
- Oaks of Justice - Catholic/Christian fusion rock (California)
- Oremus Catholic Rock
- Outer Fringe - Catholic punk rock
- Pierced - Catholic hard rock (Louisianna)
- Point 5 Covenant - Catholic hip-hop (Texas)
- Katrina Rae - Evangelist, for Catholicism, and a founding member of the Catholic Association of Music
- Remnant - Catholic hard rock (Texas)
- Seán Ó Riada - composed several Irish language Masses
- Righteous-B - Catholic hip-hop (Texas), won several Unity Awards.
- Rise - Catholic rock
- Padre Marcelo Rossi
- Seven Sorrows - Catholic hard rock/heavy metal (California)
- John Michael Talbot - Contemporary Catholic musician who won acclaim in Contemporary Christian music circles.
- Billie Tarascio
- Mary Lou Williams - Catholic jazz in the 1970s
- Notker Wolf - Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation played for a Christian rock group.
- Joe Tritz - Catholic Rock
- Nelson and the Friends of Jesus Band - Contemporary praise and worship band who performed at the main stage of WYD Australia.
- Pasquale Talarico - Contemporary Catholic artist from Southern California
- W. Keith Moore - artist from Oxford, Mississippi, seen on The Journey Home, Dana and Friends, Walk for Life, singer/songwriter
- Cradle Catholic - Catholic music that combines traditional Latin prayer with heavy metal. (Texas)
- Love, Resonate - Contemporary praise and worship band from Chino Hills, CA
Catholic hip-hop artists
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". Most of these artists are affiliated with www.phatmass.com.
- &e Dufresne (aka Jeff Dufresne)
- Akalyte (aka MC Just)
- D Major (aka The Apologist)
- DJ 86
- DJ Virtue
- Dustin Seiber (aka dUSt, DJ Servus)
- Elijah and Elisha
- Flip Francis (aka Flip, J the Primate)
- Fr. Augustino, CFR
- Fr. Pontifex (aka Pontifex)
- Fr. Stan Fortuna
- Giuseppe Mignano
- Holy Soul Movement
- II X (TWO TEN)
- Jay Keys
- John Levi
- Joe Melendrez
- John Rumpza
- Kiel Werking (aka Moses the Black, Merlin)
- M.A.S. (Miko Sy and DJ 86)
- Manchild (of Mars iLL, Move Merchants, Deepspace 5)
- Marco Velasquez (aka inDEED)
- MashetiMoses (aka Arturo Caballero)
- Miko Sy (aka Miko)
- Move Merchants
- Nick T
- Paul Jisung Kim
- Paul Kalvin
- Point 5 Covenant
- Polo El Rapero Catolico
- Rapping Padre (aka El Padrecito)
- Righteous B (aka Bob Lefnesky)
- Sammy Blaze
- Sean P
- Shaburn Burn
- The Thirsting
- Val Mural
- Yung PK
Many composers have contributed to the distinct sound of contemporary Catholic liturgical music, including Marty Haugen, Dan Schutte, and the St. Louis Jesuits. For more details, see Contemporary Catholic liturgical music. Two thirds of American Catholic Parishes now use this style of music in their liturgies. A recent trend has turned to pieces based on Gregorian chant, and liturgical projects like the Chabanel Psalms.