An Interview with Michael Silhavy, senior editor at GIA Publications, Inc.

Brenna: You were a founding Member Publisher with us in 2004.  What titles have our users enjoyed over the years?   

Michael: Oh, Brenna, that’s like asking a parent to name their favorite child! What’s key to us is that congregational music is at the heart of our offerings at GIA, and ONE LICENSE is an invaluable resource to us in helping congregations report and download our music.  We’re just coming to the end of our 75th anniversary year, and as I reflect on our history, I’m keenly aware of the hundreds of pieces that have become standard repertoire in Christian worship throughout the world.

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

M: Our collection composers seem to have been especially busy this year. Tony Alonso, Rory Cooney, Jeanne Cotter, Chris de Silva, David Haas, Marty Haugen, M. Roger Holland, Liam Lawton, Zach Stachowski, and Kiran Young Wimberly all have new collections in 2017. We know that many congregations and denominations look to us as their leading source for new hymn tunes and texts, and we’re pleased to welcome tune writer Ben Brody to our catalog.

As ONE LICENSE users are committed to fostering congregational song, they will want to look at Tony Alonso’s new collection, Revival, which contains SAB arrangements of familiar hymns for keyboard, guitar, and C instruments. The arrangements provide an alternative setting to standard hymnal organ accompaniments, and they will also be of great use to ensembles who might be reluctant to approach traditional hymns.

Additionally, Ritual Song—Second Edition is our newest hymnal for Catholic parishes; as of July, its contents were added to the ONE LICENSE website.

If you missed our Showcase at NPM 2017 in Cincinnati, you can view it below!

B: What can our users look forward to from you in the coming months? 
M: We’re delighted that John Bell will be releasing a new collection of texts this fall. It will be a collection of old favorites, some new texts, and some older, under-appreciated texts that deserve a second look. The texts will be set to familiar melodies ensuring even wider use and acceptance by congregations.

We’re also working on a new project of creating lead sheets in various keys for a hundred or so of our most popular piano/guitar-based repertoire.

B: What denominations or groups look to you for music?  Are there ecumenical options for interfaith communities? 

M: While our repertoire is especially targeted to liturgical and lectionary-based churches, I trust that every denomination and congregation would find that GIA has music suitable for their worship needs. Although we enjoy great success as a publisher of hymnals for use in Roman Catholic worship, we have produced hymnals and materials for other denominations. Folks always ask about where our name came from; we were founded on December 8, 1941, as the Gregorian Institute of America, an educational enterprise, and later a publisher, devoted to instruction on Gregorian chant and sacred music. We shortened our name to GIA in the mid-1960s after we greatly expanded our repertoire offerings. We have an extensive catalog of choral anthems, handbell music, instrumental music, and of course, text and tune collections by the leading authors and composers who are writing today. Truly, we have something for everyone.

Speaking of this diversity, allow me to do a little commercial for our Fall Institute, which we will be launching this October in Chicago.

We are gathering a premiere team of presenters from both the sacred music and music education world.

We’re also excited about the opportunity for music educators and church musicians to interact in common workshops. You can learn more by visiting:

B: Are there any other divisions, catalogs, or subcompanies with your publishing house that our license holders would recognize?

M: We are very pleased to be the North American distributors of the music of the Taizé and Iona Communities. We administer the copyrights of the Revised Grail Psalms, translated by the monks of Conception Abbey in Missouri. We distribute the publications of the Royal School of Church Music as well as the chant publications from the abbey of Solesmes.  A few years ago we welcomed the distinguished Walton Music catalog into our family.

I always enjoy pointing out to church musicians that GIA has an entire division dedicated to music education; likewise, our music education customers sometimes have no idea of our sacred and liturgical offerings. College band directors may not know we are in the hymnal business, and church musicians may not know we have recorded hundreds of concert band and wind ensemble pieces. I’d encourage customers of our sacred music catalog to explore the offerings we have for choral conductors, developing choral sound, working with senior voices, choir skill building, music learning theory, repertoire analysis, and our other educational offerings.

GIA Publications, Inc. is based in Chicago, Illinois. You can find out more about this ONE LICENSE Member Publisher at Michael Silhavy is the senior editor at GIA Publications and has worked in parish, cathedral, diocesan and university settings.

The Spotlight On… series features different Member Publishers and are archived for your reference.  To view our Spotlight On… archives, visit our archive library here.

Photo Credit: Nikada. Sagrada Familia glass window in Barcelona. This image is available for purchase through