Lee Geonyong receives Thomas Cranmer Award

Congratulations to Dr Lee Geonyong, director of music at Seoul’s Anglican Cathedral, granted the Thomas Cranmer Award for Worship by the Archbishop of Canterbury on 6 April 2018.

The Cranmer Award for Worship was first awarded by Archbishop Justin Welby in March 2016. It is named after Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1533 to 1555, who wrote the Book of Common Prayer. It recognises outstanding contributions to all aspects of worship in the Church, including both words and music.

Below is the official citation from the Lambeth Palace website (with added hangeul).

Dr Geonyong LEE (이건용) – The Thomas Cranmer Award for Worship, for his outstanding contribution to Korean-language Christian worship music.

Geonyong Lee with Justin Welby
Dr Geonyong Lee receives the award from the Archbishop of Canterbury (Image credit: Lambeth Palace)

LEE Geonyong, son of a pastor with great musical interest and talent, a member of the Anglican Church of Korea (ACK) since 1979 and Seoul Cathedral’s music director since 1997, is one of Korea’s leading composers, writing vocal (art songs to opera), instrumental (solo and orchestral) and much church music. His hymns are sung worldwide. Come now, O Prince of Peace (오소서 평화의 임금), written when praying for peace and unification of the Korean peninsula, inspires many Christians and is found in books such as Ancient and Modern 2013 and Thuma Mina 1995.

As with 오소서, his hymns contain uniquely Korean sentiment. He represents the liturgical and musical contextualization movement in Asian churches from the 1980s. From 1990 to 1991, as an artist in residence at the Asian Institute for Liturgy and Music (AILM) in Manila, then the centre of contextualization, he composed Mass for AILM, Songs of Jubilee and many other pieces. 

He has contributed many hymns to the ACK, editing Hymn (성가) in 1990 and 2015 and chairing the editorial committee in 2015, Anglican hymns being valued as the most beautiful sung in Korean churches. He has contributed to the worship of world churches: at the International Christian Consultation on Justice and Peace in Korea in Songdo 1988; the General Assemblies of the World Council of Churches in Busan 2013 and the World Community of Reformed Churches in Leipzig 2017.

He communicates Christian values through numerous works, including the cantatas Psalms of Wrath, Come now, O Prince of Peace and Song of Lazarus, the oratorio Passion of Jesus Christ, and the operas Solomon and Shulamite and Prince and Christmas.

Below is a clip of the above-mentioned intercessionary hymn 오소서 평화의 임금:

Words and music can be found on hymnary.org

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