Perkins School of Theology Names Internationally Acclaimed Scholar as Director of Master of Sacred Music Program

DALLAS (SMU) - Marcell Steuernagel, an internationally acclaimed musician and scholar, is the new director of the Master of Sacred Music (M.S.M.) Degree Program at Perkins School of Theology – Southern Methodist University.

Marcel SteuernagelThe program is jointly sponsored by Perkins School of Theology and the Division of Music of Meadows School of the Arts. Its objective is to prepare graduates for church leadership in music and the arts, and, for students who so choose, ordination as deacon. The program provides a rich variety of graduate-level training in musical performance, composition and scholarship.

Steuernagel holds a 2018 Ph.D. in church music from Baylor University; a master of music composition degree from Federal University of Paraná (UFPR) in Brazil; and a bachelor’s degree in musical conducting and composition from Paraná School of Music and Arts (EMBAP) in Brazil.

“Marcell Steuernagel will be a tremendous asset to Perkins generally and to the M.S.M. program specifically,” said Perkins Dean Craig C. Hill. “He brings to the position depth as a musician and a composer, and an extraordinarily wide range of experience in church music, from traditional to contemporary, and from both South and North American perspectives.”

Dr. Steuernagel's experience brings a hybrid component to an interdisciplinary course of study at SMU. He has performance experience in Brazilian styles of music, jazz improvisation, pop/rock, and classical musical training. He has lectured or presented papers at academic gatherings in the United States, Brazil, Germany, England and Sweden. He has taught music and worship in the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

“Dr. Steuernagel has an international perspective, based on his life and experience in Latin America,” said Sam Holland, dean of Meadows School of the Arts. “He also brings to SMU a mastery of contemporary worship leadership along with the multiplicity of ever-evolving skills, styles, and technologies such practice entails. It’s exciting to see such a bold and futuristic appointment at Perkins School of Theology and I look forward to more collaborations with the Division of Music at Meadows.”

Steuernagel succeeds Dr. C. Michael Hawn, University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Church Music, who retired as director of the Master of Sacred Music Program in 2017.


Perkins School of Theology, founded in 1911, is one of five official University-related schools of theology of The United Methodist Church. Degree programs include the Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Arts in Ministry, Master of Theology, Doctor of Ministry, and Doctor of Pastoral Music as well as the Ph.D., in cooperation with The Graduate Program in Religious Studies at SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.