A conductor, composer, and scholar of sacred music, Dr. Zebulon M. Highben serves as director of Chapel Music at Duke University Chapel and as associate professor of the practice of church music at Duke Divinity School. He conducts the Duke Chapel Choir, edits the Music from Duke Chapel choral series, teaches courses in church music and hymnology, and oversees the Chapel’s extensive music program, which connects students, community members, staff singers, instrumentalists, and professional colleagues in myriad worship services and concerts.
Highben’s research interests include hymnody, liturgy, music and exegesis, the musical heritage of the Reformation, and the impact of the Second World War on German sacred music. His published scholarship includes numerous articles and essays on the practice of church music, two choral anthologies (the Augsburg Motet Book and the Augsburg Chorale Book), a Festschrift in honor of composer Ronald A. Nelson, and more than sixty choral and liturgical compositions published in the United States and Sweden.
Highben has received conducting and/or composition awards from The American Prize, the American Choral Directors Association, the American Composers Forum, the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. Choirs under Highben’s leadership have performed at numerous choral conferences and festivals, and have toured domestically and internationally.
Prior to his appointments at Duke, Highben served as director of choral activities and associate professor of music at Muskingum University, where he was the 2019 recipient of the faculty’s William Rainey Harper Award for Excellence in Scholarship. He has been a church musician in Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Methodist congregations, and is an ordained deacon in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.