Photo of Joseph Herl
Dr. Joseph Herl


Professor of Music

Dr. Joseph Herl Music

Professor of Music

Joseph Herl arrived at Concordia in 2000 after having been a church musician for two decades. Along the way he earned a master’s degree in organ performance, the Associate and Choir Master certificates of the American Guild of Organists, and a Ph.D. in musicology. In 1991 he traveled to Germany on a Fulbright dissertation research grant and worked there until 1993; the Elias Prize in Hymnology from Westminster College, Cambridge allowed him to conduct research in Britain as well during this time.

Herl was an editor of the Missouri Synod’s Hymnal Supplement 98 and its historical companion, the Hymnal Supplement 98 Handbook. More recently he helped to produce the Lutheran Service Book (2006), which contains three of his original hymn tunes, 19 hymn settings, one hymn translation, and one liturgical setting. In 2004 his hymn concertato When to Our World the Savior Came won a composition prize from the Midwest Region (Region III) of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians. Also in 2004 Oxford University Press published his Worship Wars in Early Lutheranism: Choir, Congregation, and Three Centuries of Conflict, which was awarded the 2005 Roland Bainton Prize of the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference for best book in its field.
Herl’s choral and organ music is published by Oxford University Press, Concordia Publishing House, and MorningStar Music Publishers. He is currently editing a historical companion to the Lutheran Service Book of 2006.

Herl lives in Seward with his wife Jenny, who teaches chemistry at Concordia, and daughters Anna and Mary.


Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
M.Mus., North Texas State University
B.A., Concordia College, Bronxville, New York

Courses Taught

  • Music History
  • Music Theory
  • Liturgy
  • Hymnody