An Interview with Keith Christopher, Acquisitions Editor for North America

Keith Christopher has recently joined Oxford University Press as Acquisitions Editor for North America. He will be working with new composers to help expand Oxford University Press’ impact and presence in the North American market. This new commissioning and a proactive sales force are all part of an endeavor to provide for the needs of today’s church musicians.

Brenna: What new collections and/or featured composers will our license holders be searching for this spring? 

Keith: The new series Oxford Hymn Settings for Organists ( is a great addition to our publishing for organ. Themed by season, the volumes in this series provide a wealth of new chorale preludes and hymn settings suitable for all church organists.

B: During this Easter period, are there any must-have titles to have on our worklists?
K: Thomas Troeger’s new collection of hymns Song That Blesses Earth include a section of hymn texts under the heading “Christ Suffers, Dies and Lives.” From this section, Thomas’s personal favorites are “We Read the Cross So Many Ways” and “Gardener Up at Break of Day.”

For organ, Oxford Hymn Settings for Organists: Easter and Ascension and Oxford Hymn Settings for Organists: Pentecost and Trinity would be valuable resources for the church organist.

B: What can our users look forward to from Oxford in the coming months?
K: I’m very excited about A Functional Art: Reflections of a Hymn Writer by Timothy Dudley-Smith. Bishop Timothy has written over 400 hymn texts, and his most well-known hymn texts include “Tell Out, My Soul” and “Lord, for the Years.” With A Functional Art, he gives readers a valuable insight into the creative process of hymn writing. His armchair reflections draw freely on the writings of others, and are written in a discursive, almost conversational, style. Bishop Timothy has just celebrated his ninetieth birthday and he continues to write new hymns.

B: What denominations or groups look to Oxford for music?  Are there ecumenical options for interfaith communities?
K: Our hymns are used by different denominations throughout the world.

B: Oxford has been a Member Publisher with us since 2004.  What titles have our users enjoyed over the years?
K: Oxford University Press has a rich heritage in hymn publishing. One of the first hymn books that we published was the English Hymnal in 1906. The hymn tunes by Ralph Vaughan Williams raised the standard of music in churches, and many of the hymns from that hymnal are still in use today. “Lord of All Hopefulness” by Jan Struther is very popular, particularly for weddings. Albert Bayly is another of our popular hymn writers. His three most popular hymn texts are “Lord Whose Love in Humble Service,” “Praise and Thanksgiving,” and ‘What Does the Lord Require?” The hymn tune and text pairings from the Carol Doran and Thomas Troeger’s collections New Hymns for the Lectionary and New Hymns for the Life of the Church are regularly selected for church services.

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