The Taizé Community is an ecumenical monastic order in the village of Taizé, in the Burgundy region of France. It is composed of more than one hundred brothers, from Catholic and Protestant traditions, who originate from nearly thirty countries across the world. It was founded in 1940 by Brother Roger Schütz, a Swiss Reformed Protestant, initially as a haven for Jews and other World War II refugees. Since then, the community has become one of the world's most important sites of Christian pilgrimage. Over 100,000 young people from around the world make pilgrimages to Taizé each year for prayer, Bible study, sharing, and communal work. Through the community's ecumenical outlook, they are encouraged to live in the spirit of kindness, simplicity and reconciliation.
The community, though Western European in origin, has sought to include people and traditions worldwide. They strive to demonstrate this in the music and prayers where songs are sung in many languages, and have included chants, icons and other symbols from the Eastern Orthodox tradition. The music emphasizes simple phrases, usually lines from the Psalms or other Scripture, repeated and sometimes also sung in canon. Earlier Taizé community music was conceived and composed .
by Jacques Berthier. Later Joseph Gelineau became a major contributor to the music. Currently, brothers from the community continue to compose these simple, meditative chants. Ecumenical services based on this model and music are held in many churches throughout the world, and are becoming more and more popular in the United States.
Accompaniment for the chants includes a variety of acoustic instruments, such as classical guitar, piano, violin, cello, flute, recorder, French horn, oboe, trumpet and on occasion, organ. The currently published editions are, in most cases, easily adaptable for lever or pedal harp, using the basic, congregational editions. Click here to purchase these publications. There are also obbligato instrumental editions published for the instruments listed above. Rhett Barnwell is currently in the process, with approval from the Taizé community, of arranging and publishing harp accompaniments for the current editions. This project is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.