The Sistine Chapel Choir sings at Westminster Cathedral in London, England, May 6, 2012. Credit: Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk.
Pope Francis appointed a new director of the Sistine Chapel Choir Sunday.
The pope named the Brazilian Msgr. Marcos Pavan as Maestro Director of the Cappella Musicale Pontificia Sistina yesterday, the Feast of St. Cecilia.
Pavan had served as interim director following the departure of Salesian priest Fr. Massimo Palombella in July 2019 after a nine-year tenure.
The Holy See press office announced in September 2018 that the pope had authorized an investigation into the “economic-administrative aspects” of the choir.
In January 2019, Pope Francis issued a motu proprio moving the Sistine Chapel Choir under the administration of the Office of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations, instead of the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household and the choir’s manager, Michelangelo Nardella.
The pope entrusted Fr. Guido Marini, master of ceremonies of papal liturgies, with managing the choir and drafting its new statues.
Pavan, 58, has served with the Cappella Musicale Pontificia Sistina since 1998. He previously oversaw the Pueri Cantores, or boys’ choir, section of the Sistine Chapel Choir.
He trained as a lawyer in Brazil before pursuing a vocation to the priesthood. In 1996, he was ordained as a priest for the Diocese of Campo Limpo, which is based in the city of Campo Limpo Paulista, a municipality of the state of São Paulo.
The Sistine Chapel Choir consists of 20 professional singers from around the world, as well as a treble section made up of 35 boys, aged 9-13.
With a 1,500-year history, the Sistine Chapel Choir is believed to be the oldest active choir in the world.
Announcing Palombella’s departure on 10 July 2019, the Holy See press office said: “The Holy Father has accepted the Maestro’s request to terminate his office. The decision was taken after obtaining the concordant opinion of the Congregation of the Salesians of Don Bosco and the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff.”
“Msgr. Palombella is now available to the Salesian Congregation for the new ministry that will be entrusted to him.”