New Grebel Professor to Focus on Early Music and Community

Monday, April 16, 2018

Musicologist Dr. Katherine Kennedy Steiner will join Conrad Grebel University College’s faculty as Assistant Professor of Music, starting July 1, 2018. Teaching a range of courses from broad musicology surveys, to music of the Renaissance and medieval eras, to church music and worship, Steiner will engage with diverse groups of students across the University of Waterloo campus. She will also direct the College’s Chapel Choir.

“We eagerly anticipate welcoming Dr. Steiner as a colleague in the Music Department,” remarked Music Chair Laura Gray. “As a musicologist of the highest caliber, Dr. Steiner brings a range and depth of talents, interests, experiences, and expertise to her role at Grebel. Her unique combination of scholarship in medieval music and practical experience in worship will inform both the music history curriculum and the Church Music and Worship program.”

Kate SteinerBefore earning her PhD in Musicology from Princeton University, Steiner received an MA in Religion, Liturgical Studies from Yale University Divinity School and Institute of Sacred Music, and a BMus from Wheaton College. Steiner has since held several prestigious post-doctoral appointments including as a Lilly Fellow at Valparaiso University and a Mellon Fellow at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies at University of Toronto. Her numerous publications and presentations highlight her astute and original research.

“Dr. Steiner’s scholarship linking liturgy, ritual, and music to communal identity in both medieval and contemporary contexts will enrich numerous programs at Grebel, including Theological Studies, Religious Studies, and Peace and Conflict Studies, as well as other programs at University of Waterloo,” noted Grebel’s Dean Marlene Epp. “Steiner is a curious and creative scholar who views music as an historically and socially embedded practice.”

Steiner is eager to begin her role and engage with students across campus. “I look forward to expanding our understanding of how music shapes and is shaped by society,” said Steiner. She is also keen to collaborate with students in designing worship and musical offerings for Chapel.

“Kate is an excellent fit for Grebel, connecting deeply with the College’s mission and values,” explained President Marcus Shantz. “Not only is she an experienced teacher and published scholar, but also her experience, interest, and commitment to engage with Grebel’s church and community constituencies will be invaluable. Her broad ecumenical experience includes participation and service in Lutheran, Anglican, Catholic, Evangelical, and Mennonite church contexts.”

“I appreciate Grebel's commitment to learning in community, the central role of music study and practice in the life of the community, and the integration of music practice into a life ethic that reflects the Mennonite values of faith, peacemaking and service,” reflected Steiner. “My research interest in early music, particularly as it was practiced in intentional communities, complements the research areas of Grebel’s Music faculty and relates to the Mennonite value placed on congregational singing. My experience teaching worship studies also brings music practice and practical theology together.”

Most recently, Steiner worked at Wycliffe College in Toronto, ON as an adjunct faculty member. Outside of her research, Steiner plays cello, piano, organ, and sings soprano. Her husband Joel, and their two children look forward to joining the Grebel community this summer.

Steiner steps into a role held by Professor Ken Hull who has taught Music History and Church Music and Worship at Grebel for over 40 years.

Conrad Grebel University College is home to the Music Department at the University of Waterloo. The College teaches music theory, composition, history, ethnomusicology, church music, jazz, popular music and culture, and offers vocal and instrumental studio instruction individually and in ensembles. Founded in 1963 by Ontario Mennonites, the College’s mission is “to seek wisdom, nurture faith and pursue justice and peace in service to church and society.”