Music in religions and churches

A formative component of our cultural life - far beyond religious ministry.

A fundamental element of cultural life in history and the present

In its overall responsibility for musical life in Germany, one focus of the German Music Council’s work is strengthening and further developing music in religions and churches. In times when society is threatening to drift apart, culture and education play a more essential role than ever before for a free and democratic society. Music in religions and churches is of fundamental importance in this context. Not only has music always been an expression and mediator of faith, but its power is open to all.

In the fruitful tension between internal church function and artistic autonomy, music fulfills essen-tial social tasks. Church music is also of immense importance in the field of amateur music: more than 800,000 people are involved in church ensembles and choirs. Here, a sense of community is created, togetherness is strengthened, and self-reliance and awareness are promoted, all of which are essential for today's society.

Church Music Congress 2022

In cooperation with the Protestant Church in Germany (EKD), in 2022 the German Music Council organized the congress "Church Music as an Opportunity for Society, Culture, and the Church", where topics and questions such as "Does society need church music?", "Church music as an op-portunity for social cohesion", and "Church music in the digital age" were discussed. 150 musicians and musicologists as well as representative of other disciplines, the media, churches, and federal politics discussed these issues intensively in lectures, working groups, and discussions.

At the central panel discussion, Bishop Dr. Heiner Koch (Archbishop of Berlin), Dr. Annette Kurschus (Chairwoman of the Council of the EKD), Christa Kirschbaum (Protestant Church Music Director for the States of Hesse and Nassau), Prof. Dr. Markus Hilgert (Secretary General of the Cultural Foun-dation of the Federal States), and Prof. Eberhard Metternich (Director of Music at Cologne Cathe-dral) spoke about the current situation of church music and its role in a changing world. The results of the congress flowed into the resolution "Church Music as an Opportunity for Society, Culture, and the Church" during the concluding plenary discussion - as a basis for continuing music policy and socio-political efforts by the German Music Council and the churches to ensure the continued existence of a vibrant musical life in Germany. The congress was streamed live. The video recording is available below.

Federal Specialist Committee: "Music in Religions and Churches”

Building on the results of the Church Music Congress, the 2022 General Assembly explicitly deter-mined to broaden its focus beyond the church music of the Protestant and Catholic churches. In accordance with the social importance of this topic, music as an expression of other faiths and religious institutions will be included in the work of the new Federal Expert Committee "Music in Religions and Churches", which replaces the previous Church Music Working Group of the German Music Council. The members of the committee you find here

Organ Music in the Age of Covid

The German Music Council, together with the German Bishops' Conference and the Protestant Church in Germany, carried out the project "Organ Music in the Age of Covid." The project was a contribution to the "Year of the Organ," which the state music councils announced for 2021. The project produced 17 compositions for organ that artistically reflect the Covid-19 pandemic period.

From September 2021 to November 2022, several of these organ works were heard nationwide as part of devotions, church services, concerts, and other public occasions. In this way, musical life was actively promoted and listeners were encouraged to engage with the pandemic experience. The different styles of the newly composed music for organ enabled encounters between experi-mental and traditional church music. The project was supported by the Federal Commissioner for Culture and Media.

On September 18, 2022, all 17 new compositions were performed at a two-part gala concert in Augs-burg. Music videos were also produced for all the pieces and published on the German Music Council’s YouTube channel along with an introductory feature. 

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Musicians can sing or play in the ensembles of the German Music Council, the Federal Youth Orchestra, the Federal Jazz Orchestra and the Federal Youth Choir, and take part in competitions. With four other projects in the area of promotion, the German Music Council supports young, highly talented musicians, conductors, composers and interpreters of contemporary music as well as pop musicians on their way to a professional musical life and builds a bridge between musicians, organizers and the public. In addition, the German Music Information Center (miz) offers a central information point on all topics of musical life.



The German Music Council is the sponsor of the competitions for children and young people: Jugend musiziert and Jugend jazzt, the competitions for professional musicians: the German Music Competition, the German Conducting Award (formerly the German Conducting Prize) and the German Choral Conducting Award, as well as the competitions for amateur musicians: theGerman Choir Competition and the German Orchestra Competition.

The German Music Council (Deutscher Musikrat e. V.) is the mouthpiece and initiator of music policy issues for its members.

The numerous advantages of a membership in the German Music Council e.V. compiled for you.

Under the menu item MEDIA you will find our press page with all the latest news, our press page with the press contacts and the publications.

Promoting young musicians in the ensemblesof the German Music Council also includes performing on stage in front of an audience. The project leaders are happy to accept requests for engagements. The German Music Competition concert promotion program arranges approximately 200 concerts a year for concert organizers and concert series.

Music educators will find concepts and working materials for music lessons at the Podium Gegenwart's educational projects. Current developments in music policy and studies can be found in the "Music Education" section, as well as specialist articles on this topic at the German Music Information Center.

With the German Music Information Center, the German Music Council offers a central information point on all topics of musical life.