An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Williams, David McKinley

(1887-1978). American church musician, composer, and teacher. He was born in Carnarvonshire, Wales. Williams began his career in church music as a chorister in the choir of the Cathedral of St. John, Denver. At the age of thirteen he became the organist of St. Peter's Church, Denver. In 1908 he went to New York to serve as the organist of Grace Church Chapel. He moved to Paris in 1911 for study with some of the best known French organists of the time. Upon his return, he served as organist of the Church of the Holy Communion in New York. Williams served in the Royal Canadian Artillery in World War I and returned to his New York position in 1920. After only six months, he was appointed organist and choirmaster of St. Bartholomew's Church, New York. He held this position until his retirement in 1947. Williams developed one of the most outstanding music programs in the country at St. Bartholomew's. He was head of the organ department of the Juilliard School of Music and a member of the faculty of the School of Sacred Music, Union Theological Seminary. He also served as a member of the Joint Commission on Church Music and the Joint Commission on the Revision of the Hymnal that produced The Hymnal (1940). The Hymnal 1982 uses five of his tunes, including Malabar, used with “Strengthen for Service” (Hymn 312), Canticum refectionis, used with “This is the hour of banquet and of song” (Hymn 316), and Georgetown, used with “They cast their nets in Galilee” (Hymn 661). Williams died in Oakland, California.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.