Michael De Sapio

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. Mr. De Sapio's essays on music, religion, and cultural history have been featured in Fanfare, Touchstone, and Crisis, among other publications. He has also published a screenplay, The Incredible Life of Joey Coletta.

The Beauty and Mystery of the Unaccompanied Violin

By |2019-10-17T22:30:03-05:00October 17th, 2019|Categories: Culture, J.S. Bach, Michael De Sapio, Music, Senior Contributors|

Playing violin unaccompanied is the most exposed sort of music-making, with a vulnerability that is both technical and emotional. Its music seems to bring out a personal quality in composers that one doesn’t always get from music for large forces. The purity of the medium and its limitations call forth a challenge to the [...]

Why Letter-Writing Is Essential to the Good Life

By |2019-10-10T12:06:28-05:00October 10th, 2019|Categories: Culture, Michael De Sapio, Modernity, Senior Contributors, Writing|

In an age when we have come to expect things to happen for us instantaneously, letter-writing is a school for patience. Letter-writing also has the mysterious power to convey not just the words but the presence of the person. It has been the nourishment of romantic love for ages. In writing letters, we participate [...]

“Il Poverello”: Saint Francis’ Piety for Man and Animals

By |2019-10-04T10:34:46-05:00October 3rd, 2019|Categories: Christianity, Culture, History, Michael De Sapio, Senior Contributors|

Saint Francis of Assisi took no created thing for granted, finding them all reflections of God and reasons to praise Him. For Francis, even the birds themselves praised God by their singing—an action we perform consciously with the assent of our reason and will. Some of the earliest literature in the Italian language owes [...]

In Time of War: Arthur Honegger’s Symphony No. 2

By |2019-09-23T12:59:24-05:00September 19th, 2019|Categories: Culture, Michael De Sapio, Music, Senior Contributors, War, World War II|

Arthur Honegger’s war symphonies, a synthesis of tradition and modernity, are powerful mementos of a heroic period. There was a sense that, with a moral menace to be defeated in World War II, digging into the depths of tradition was essential. As we commemorate the 75th anniversary of various milestones of World War II, it [...]

Going on Pilgrimage With Mark Twain: “The Innocents Abroad”

By |2019-08-23T22:12:18-05:00August 23rd, 2019|Categories: Books, Imagination, Literature, Mark Twain, Michael De Sapio, Senior Contributors|

Mark Twain is revered today for his liberal sympathies, as a satirist who punctured pomposity, hypocrisy, and pretension. But to dwell only on the “irreverent” aspects of his work is to see only a partial picture. His Christian background is evident throughout “The Innocents Abroad,” which reflects the journey of all human beings to [...]

Beauty Ever Ancient, Ever New: Restoring Beauty to a Parish Church

By |2019-08-10T22:35:32-05:00August 10th, 2019|Categories: Architecture, Art, Beauty, Christianity, Culture, Michael De Sapio, Senior Contributors|

A thought occurs to me as I contemplate the architectural updating of our parish church, which will paradoxically make our church appear older and timeless: Although God doesn’t need beautiful things, he is infinitely deserving of them, and we need to make them—for the good of our souls. My parish church is undergoing an [...]

The Boston Classicists: America’s Pioneering Composers

By |2019-07-18T21:35:18-05:00July 18th, 2019|Categories: Culture, Michael De Sapio, Music, Senior Contributors|

Together, four men and one woman—the Boston Classicists—brought American music to a level of sophistication it had never had before. Not only did they become the most highly respected composers in America, but their music was also heard abroad to great applause. In her early years America had the reputation, at least among sophisticated [...]

The Importance of American Art

By |2019-07-09T16:45:20-05:00July 5th, 2019|Categories: Art, Beauty, Culture, History, Michael De Sapio, Senior Contributors|

The Patent Office now houses one of the most splendid collections of American painting and sculpture, housed in an impressive work of architecture. Our national character has never been solely about commerce and machinery; from the beginning we have made fine achievements in art and the imagination. “Among the Sierra Nevada, California,” by [...]

The Eucharist and the Imagination

By |2019-06-29T15:40:53-05:00June 29th, 2019|Categories: Catholicism, Christianity, Imagination, Michael De Sapio, Senior Contributors, Theology|

The Christian belief in the Eucharist stands as a universal expression of faith in a transcendent value that exists beyond human effort, to which we can nevertheless strive through faith. It would be hard to find anything in the history of civilization quite like this mystical belief that bound Christians together in communion for [...]

The Power of Francis Poulenc’s “Dialogues of the Carmelites”

By |2019-06-20T11:09:44-05:00June 14th, 2019|Categories: Culture, Michael De Sapio, Music, Opera, Senior Contributors|

Francis Poulenc’s “Dialogues of the Carmelites” is based on the true story of the Martyrs of Compiègne, a community of sixteen Carmelite nuns who were guillotined during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. Many hold it in high esteem as one of the twentieth century’s greatest operas. Francis Poulenc The Metropolitan Opera’s [...]

The Art of Tintoretto: Realism and Religion

By |2019-05-24T10:36:42-05:00May 24th, 2019|Categories: Art, Culture, Michael De Sapio, Senior Contributors|

Unlike modernists of more recent vintage, Venetian Renaissance master Tintoretto aimed at higher ideals than the projection of his ego. He ordered his talents to honoring the Classical and Christian civilization of which he was a part. Yet, where High Renaissance artists strove for classical serenity and poise, Tintoretto stupefied his contemporaries with grand displays of [...]

Stravinsky’s Other Rite of Spring: “Perséphone”

By |2019-05-11T09:23:26-05:00May 10th, 2019|Categories: Christianity, Culture, Igor Stravinsky, Michael De Sapio, Music, Senior Contributors|

One of my favorite musical works about spring is by Igor Stravinsky, but it’s not the one you would expect—the wild and primal Rite of Spring. Rather it’s his stage piece Perséphone, set to words by the French poet André Gide and retelling through song, ballet, and spoken narration the Greek myth explaining the [...]

Easter Movies: “Hail Caesar!” and “Risen”

By |2019-04-19T22:19:29-05:00April 19th, 2019|Categories: Christianity, Culture, Film|

Movie-watching may not be as common a pastime at Easter as on other holidays, but the Easter movie is a true genre—and an important one. The mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection lends itself to, perhaps even demands, pictorial realization like no other story. This was shown preeminently during the heyday of biblical epics [...]

Coming Home: Tradition and My Hometown

By |2019-09-02T10:54:09-05:00April 7th, 2019|Categories: History, Michael De Sapio, Senior Contributors, Tradition|

The beauty of one’s home, neighborhood, and community is easy to forget, especially in an age as transient and rootless as ours. Yet, it’s in the quiet moments or on a historic occasion in your hometown that you are pulled back to consider the things that surround you. “Coming home” is an important process [...]