Michael Kurek, a classical music composer and retired professor at Vanderbilt University, has always seen music as a spiritual experience. He is bringing that perspective to his latest endeavor, hosting the show “Catholic Adventures in Great Music” on the Catholic radio network, the Crusade Channel.
Kurek has hopes for his listeners. “First and foremost, just for them to be able to listen to – and learn about – other composers who were inspired by God (to write music) and by doing so, put their minds at peace,” said Kurek.
He also hopes, added Kurek, that the listening audience will find, “by listening to the featured artists, that they glorify God through the beauty of their compositions.”
“I hope that they will open up to other kinds of music, but most importantly, come to understand that to listen to spiritual music is to bring peace to one’s soul,” said Kurek.
Each show features a different composer. “We have done four shows to date, and although chances are that only Catholics are listening to it (the show),I am open to attracting non-Catholic Christians as well.”
Previously aired shows have featured George Butterworth, Antoine Dvorak, and Frederick Chopin. The latest show features Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg.
“Catholic Adventures in Great Music”” airs on the Crusade Channel Mondays and Wednesdays at 5 p.m., and Saturday mornings at 8 a.m. People can listen online at www.crusadechannel.com.
“This program is a long overdue contribution to Catholic radio,” said Mike Church, the president and founder of the Crusade Channel. “It’s easy to listen to, it is fun, it is exciting, and it is Catholic.”
“I have gotten a lot of emails from people who want to know what composer will be featured next and even from several priests. One told me that the program he listened to fit right in with his morning prayers,” Church said.
“Michael is so knowledgeable and passionate about his material that he could probably do 14 of these programs in one day.”
Kurek’s interest in doing a radio program grew out of a class he taught titled “The Sound of Beauty: Music Appreciation for Catholics.”
“In the class,” said Kurek, “we talked about the music and the composers lives from a Catholic perspective, and it was greatly appreciated.”
“Prior to this effort, I had always taught in a secular university, where the opportunity to educate people about music spirituality, did not exist,” said Kurek.
Consequently, Kurek approached veteran author and publisher Joseph Pearce at Ignatius Press, which also published Kurek’s book, “The Sound of Beauty: A Classical Composer on Music in the Spiritual Life.”
Kurek taught music composition at Vanderbilt University for 30 years, before retiring in 2020, “to compose and write music full-time, during the first year of this pandemic,” he said.
“I’ve always been teaching and composing, which when combined amounted to two full-time jobs, and loved the latter, but I decided that if I am to write all the music I want to before I die, then it was time to go,” said Kurek.
“I decided that 30 years was (long) enough, and likewise I had plenty of royalties coming in, so now I compose music full-time,” he added.
Looking ahead for his radio show, Kurek said, “If we can feature 25 composers in as many programs, that in itself will be a big chunk of ground covered.”
Several of his own favorite compositions include, said Kurek, “the four symphonies of Johannes Brahms, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and a Requiem Mass by Gabriel Faure that is a beautiful choral work with music.”
For more information about Kurek, visit www.michaelkurek.com.