Michael De Sapio

About Michael De Sapio

Michael De Sapio is Senior Contributor at The Imaginative Conservative. A writer and classical musician from Alexandria, Virginia, he attended The Catholic University of America and The Peabody Conservatory of Music. He writes Great Books study guides for the educational online resource SuperSummary, and his essays on religious and aesthetic topics have been featured in Fanfare and Touchstone, among other publications.

The Fine Art of the Essay

By |2021-01-13T15:01:11-06:00January 13th, 2021|Categories: Books, Culture, Michael De Sapio, Senior Contributors, Writing|

Joseph Epstein’s life and writing exemplify the ideal essay writer’s tendency to be a humane generalist rather than an academic specialist. Aiming at well-roundedness, the essayist also becomes freed from vogue words and jargon, a bad influence against which Mr. Epstein campaigns vigorously and wittily in “Gallimaufry: A Collection of Essays, Reviews, Bits.” Gallimaufry: [...]

Modernity, Art, and Liturgy

By |2021-01-02T17:00:22-06:00January 2nd, 2021|Categories: Catholicism, Christianity, Senior Contributors|

One of the useful things Stephen Schloesser's "Jazz Age Catholicism" does us is to remind us that the church and the world are not hermetically sealed off from one other; things that happen in the church are very often related to what is happening in the world. Jazz Age Catholicism: Mystic Modernism in Postwar Paris, [...]

What Does It Mean to Be a Person of Culture?

By |2021-01-01T10:09:41-06:00January 1st, 2021|Categories: Christianity, Civilization, Culture, Liberal Learning, Michael De Sapio, Senior Contributors, Timeless Essays, Western Civilization|

True culture is a liberation from the ephemeral, a journey toward permanence and value. A cultured life, therefore, consists in more than just piling up facts; it must include reflecting on the meaning of man’s works—especially those works which have stood the test time—and how they fit into the larger scheme of reality. As [...]

“The Trial at Rouen”: An Opera on St. Joan of Arc

By |2021-01-08T16:34:19-06:00December 22nd, 2020|Categories: Audio/Video, Christianity, Culture, Michael De Sapio, Music, Opera, Senior Contributors|

The mid-twentieth-century opera, “The Trial at Rouen,” tells the story of the final days of St. Joan of Arc, her imprisonment, and trial for heresy. Composer Norman Dello Joio employs themes of conscience, belief, and spiritual motivation; he makes us think about the consequences of institutional corruption and the power of individuals to rise [...]

Prayer, Beauty, and Civilization

By |2020-11-21T10:16:29-06:00November 21st, 2020|Categories: Art, Beauty, Books, Christianity, Civilization, Culture, Imagination, Michael De Sapio, Senior Contributors|

In our zeal to articulate how Christianity has shaped civilization, we are apt to neglect the specific role of prayer. The good, the true, and the beautiful fostered by our civilization have been initiated and sustained by prayer. If one does not pray, what measure of human cultivation is one missing? Art and Prayer: [...]

Beethoven’s “Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage”

By |2020-11-10T16:36:22-06:00November 10th, 2020|Categories: Beethoven 250, Ludwig van Beethoven, Michael De Sapio, Music|

In his short, neglected masterpiece, "Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage," Beethoven—who himself never traveled by sea nor left continental Europe—created a tone poem that reflects the Romantic awe of storms and the sublimity of God-in-nature. It also reflects, on a miniature scale, Beethoven's own story of suffering and transcendence. Those who have read previous essays [...]

Death and Transfiguration

By |2020-10-05T12:00:21-05:00November 1st, 2020|Categories: Books, Christianity, Death, Hope, Michael De Sapio, Philosophy, Senior Contributors|

Dealing with the topic of death, Dietrich von Hildebrand’s consoling book “Jaws of Death: Gate of Heaven” shines both in its “dark” and “light” halves, illuminating the eternal duality of human life and helping to reconcile its painful contradictions. Life is not a journey of diminishing returns, ending in darkness and the grave, but [...]

The Mystique of Late Beethoven

By |2020-10-09T08:54:26-05:00October 8th, 2020|Categories: Beethoven 250, Ludwig van Beethoven, Michael De Sapio, Music|

Beethoven's late style was not a total break from what came before. Many things touted as revolutionary are really, when seen in proper perspective, evolutionary. Beethoven’s late period intensifies qualities inherent in all his previous work. It is filled with music that is warm-hearted, impassioned, and of breathtaking beauty. “The music is not pretty or [...]

Sir Arthur Bliss’ “A Colour Symphony”

By |2020-09-12T11:11:14-05:00September 11th, 2020|Categories: Audio/Video, Culture, Music|

Sir Arthur Bliss created a piece of music that celebrates the life of the senses and the joy of creation, evoking deep cultural memories as well as a personal energy and dynamism born of bitter experience. “A Colour Symphony” stands as the most intellectually and emotionally satisfying attempt to yoke color to music. Many [...]

Art, Nature, and Revelation

By |2020-08-14T09:47:05-05:00August 8th, 2020|Categories: Art, Christianity, Culture, Michael De Sapio, Nature, Senior Contributors|

In the era of scientific advancement, contemplating the sublime, both in nature and art, remains more necessary than ever. Works of art that build a sub-creation on scripture, exploiting the fullness of natural realism inherent in it, attain a very rare sublimity and draw the mind toward God. These waters must be troubled before [...]

Music as a Window Into History and Character

By |2020-07-23T15:07:46-05:00July 22nd, 2020|Categories: Character, Culture, History, Michael De Sapio, Music, Senior Contributors|

Albéric Magnard’s music is a happy amalgam of all that was best in Wagner, Franck, and Debussy. The gentle, nostalgic, and somewhat melancholy reminiscence of the past is a key part of his aesthetic and a clear legacy of his Schola Cantorum training. Yet his music is also progressive, looking forward unmistakably to the [...]

The Music of American Composer Charles Martin Loeffler

By |2020-07-11T16:18:48-05:00July 11th, 2020|Categories: American Republic, Culture, Michael De Sapio, Music, Senior Contributors|

Charles Martin Loeffler’s rise to eminence among composers worldwide signals an American cultural arrival at the turn of the 20th century. In a sense he was a bridge from the Old World to the New. Loeffler brought something unique to our culture, and his colorful and intimate music should not to be forgotten. There [...]

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