Benedictine monks to perform in joint recital

June 6, 2012

Lacey, Washington — Two Benedictine monks will perform in a joint recital on Tuesday, June 19, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Martin’s Abbey Church, 5000 Abbey Way SE. The recital coincides with the annual national meeting of the Association of Benedictine Colleges and Universities, hosted this year by Saint Martin’s University. The performance is free and open to the public.

Pianist Father Robert Koopmann, O.S.B. and tenor Brother Aelred Woodard, O.S.B. will present works by Mozart, Brahms, Rachmaninof, Hahn and Duparc. Koopman also will perform free improvisations on three American hymn-tunes. Each famed as a gifted musician, the two monks have a history of performing together in several locations, including Washington, D.C. and several monasteries in Europe.

Koopmann has served as president of Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, since 2009; his term as president will end on June 30, 2012. A professor of music, Koopmann has been on the faculty of Saint John’s University/College of Saint Benedict since 1975, teaching piano, music literature and courses on creativity and the creative process. He has performed as a piano soloist and accompanist, as well as in chamber ensembles and with orchestras throughout the nation and abroad, including 20 states, Europe, South Africa, Chile, Kenya and Tanzania. Having earned degrees from University of Iowa, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Saint John’s University, Koopman has conducted post-doctoral work with faculty from The Royal Academy in London and The Juilliard School in New York. Since 1994, he has released a number of recordings.

Woodard joined St. Martin’s Abbey in 1973. Currently choirmaster of the Abbey, he has taught religious studies and music at Saint Martin’s University since 1975. He was a boy soloist with the Paulist Choristers in New York, and in 1971, was district winner of the Metropolitan Opera auditions in Seattle. Woodard has premiered several works of Brother Ronald Hurst, O.S.B., a member of St. Martin’s monastic community who passed away in 1989. With Koopman at the piano, Woodard also premiered a cycle of Thomas Merton poems set to music by Henry Bryan Hays, O.S.B., of St. John’s Abbey/University, a performance broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio. Inspired by Woodard’s voice, Seattle composer Bern Herbolsheimer created the piece Celtic Invocations specifically for the monk. Woodard’s most recent recital, the Schubert cycle, Die Winterreise, was given last March in Corvallis, Oregon, and will be reprised in September at St. Martin’s Abbey Church and in October in Portland, Oregon. Woodard served as Governor of the Western Washington Chapter of the National Association of Singing from 1982 to 1986.

Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year, coeducational university located on a 380-acre wooded campus in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 23 majors and seven graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes 1,250 students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its main campus, and 650 more to its extension campuses located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Centralia College. Visit the Saint Martin’s University website at

For more information:

Sarah Holdener
Director of Community Relations and Event Management
Office of Marketing and Communications
Saint Martin’s University