Making and listening to music – The Theological and Musical Residence

The Theological and Musical Residence “Making and Listening to Music” in Brussels brought together a very diverse group of people. It was an enriching event, and a source of beautiful encounters and rich conversations.
It produced what we had been able to prepare and encourage, plus everything that informality, time spent together, and the multiplication of shared days can alone engender. It was a polyphonic experience!

From the theologians

David Porter tackled the subject of The identity of the musician in the Church and beyond, giving participants questions to ponder, which were then discussed in small groups and presented, sometimes with music, on the final day.

Renaud Genevois elaborated on the Trinitarian roots of music, giving us a new perspective on the triad of harmony, rhythm and melody.

Frédéric Landes re-emphasized the importance of “sound order” and “meaning” in music. Even if some wanted to detach themselves from these ideas, he showed with the presentation of very precise structures that order and meaning were present and provided a background framework for the various possible musical forms.

Jonathan Schmutz came up with a question: “Is music a cash industry?” He developed a vision of an alternative model for registration on playlists and streaming platforms. In so doing, he very usefully extended the intervention of Jonathan Mumbu from the Fortitude Nation label. The former had given us a very enlightening overview of the current context of the music market, with a particular focus on Christian music. A very interesting cartography to discover!

Jean-Christophe Jasmin mixed personal testimony with theological reflection on “enchanted” music, capable of communicating and defending our Christian faith, as well as edifying us. Apologia et aedificatio.

Last but not least, Jeremy Begbie gave a lecture each day in connection with certain developments in his book Resounding Truth. We were treated to a live exhibition of the book, illustrated by projected videos and live piano performances. Remarkable!

The artists

Artists Alizée Eyer, Alexia Rabé, Estienne Rylle, Rémon Jr, Forrest Smith and Frédéric Landes also spoiled us by coming to share their musical universe and creative process. We were able to discover the genesis of a song or piece, and how the seasons of life, the environments frequented, self-development, etc. were intimately linked to composition… or the lack of it! One of them, on the other hand, explained why there was no such thing as white track anxiety for him, because so many things in his life sparked inspiration and composition. Nevertheless, transforming this into a complete song is another challenge… We discovered a little more about Gospel country and listened to many songs and pieces of music in a wide variety of genres. A wealth of creativity.

Eva Klein, Alexia Rabé and David Porter also came to give us their testimonies of life journeys and music. How to live in silence in an abbey? How to evolve with ease in a wide variety of musical environments? How do you put your thoughts and experiences down in a book?

At the end of the day, we enjoyed jam sessions where the pleasure of music was shared by all participants.

Our residency concluded with a joint polyphonic celebration. Then it was time to go our separate ways, but not before a final meal honoring one of Belgium’s culinary highlights: the French fry!

We were able to capture and record, in images and sound, the conferences and musical performances, as well as the interviews and “on-the-spot” conversations. As a result, we now have a wealth of content to share – in the form of an aftermovie, a podcast or a book – the unique experience of this first French-speaking conversation between music and theology.


7 online masterclasses (in French), from September 2023 to April 2024

  • September: « Music: a messaging vehicle? » by Meak
  • October: « Jesus plays the flute: a metaphor for the musician’s life » by Olivier Barrucand and Estienne Rylle
  • November: « Musical resonance of the Old Testament: Lamentation » by Olivier Barrucand and Fred Landes
  • December: « Music, an integral experience: body, community, expression » by Christel Lamère and Didier Likeng
  • January: « Theology, Music and Time », a conversation between Jean-Luc Gadreau and Eva Klein on a text by Jeremy Begbie
  • February: « Rethinking music in its political and social role », a conversation between Jean-Luc Gadreau and Alexia Rabé on a text by Jeremy Begbie
  • April: « Rethinking music in its sensitivity to the infinity of sound », a conversation between Jean-Luc Gadreau and Elsie Pomier on a text by Jeremy Begbie

Enjoy the masterclass replay

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