Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Music, Stanford University
William Mahrt grew up in Washington State; after attending Gonzaga University and the University of Washington, he completed a doctorate at Stanford University in 1969, with a dissertation on “The Missae ad organum of Heinrich Isaac.” He taught at Case Western Reserve University and the Eastman School of Music, and then returned to Stanford in 1972, where he teaches Medieval and Renaissance music.
Dr. Mahrt has written on music and liturgy, music and poetry in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Gregorian chant, and the music of Machaut, Dufay, Byrd, Lasso, and Brahms. Since 1972, he has directed the Stanford Early Music Singers, which presents quarterly concerts of music from the late Middle Ages through the early Baroque, including a cycle of all the Masses of Josquin Des Pres and a series of concerts in the form of historical vespers services.
He was a founding member of the St. Ann Choir in 1963, and has been its director most years since 1964; they sing Mass and Vespers in Gregorian chant on all the Sundays of the year, with polyphonic masses of the Renaissance for the holy days. He leads workshops in Gregorian chant and Renaissance sacred music, and has led tours on music and liturgy to English cathedrals. He is president of the Church Music Association of America and editor of its journal, Sacred Music, the oldest continuously-published music journal in the United States. A collection of his essays, The Musical Shape of the Liturgy, was published in 2012.