The first visit of a high pontiff to the Island in 1998, rekindled the interest of institutions, musicians and composers around sacred music. Thus began a dynamic stage of musical activities with a liturgical and extra-liturgical character that included efforts such as the creation of the "John Paul II" Choir to offer greater social impact with another degree of social repercussion than that which could be achieved by the choirs of the parishes and churches in the diocese of Havana.
Despite these and other important isolated actions, it was pending that church musicians and professionals linked to ecclesial activity in general, had the necessary knowledge to undertake the exercise of sacred music inside and outside the liturgy, with dignity and mastery of each of its elements.
On the other hand, it was necessary to restore a regular cultural and spiritual program of religious concerts held inside the temples as natural settings for sacred music and vehicles for the expression of dogmas of faith, a fact that in past times had been recurrent in the past Hispano-American headquarters.
In response to these needs, the Cathedra of Sacred Music was created in 2013, with headquarters at the Padre Félix Varela Cultural Center and an academic dependency of the Padre Félix Varela Institute for Ecclesiastical Studies, both founded that same year and located in the magnificent historic building of the Real y Conciliar Colegio Seminario de San Carlos y San Ambrosio, erected in 1768.
The initiative of the Chair responded directly to the Apostolic Constitution Sacrosantum Concilium on the Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council (1962-1965), aimed at the musical training of individuals in charge of sacred music within the temples: Article 115. Much importance should be given to teaching and practicing music in seminaries, in novitiates for religious of both sexes and in houses of study, as well as in other Catholic institutes and schools; so that this teaching can be given, carefully train teachers in charge of sacred music. It is also recommended that, depending on the circumstances, higher institutes of sacred music be erected. Also give a genuine liturgical education to composers and singers, particularly children.
Since its foundation, the Chair has been involved in the development of events such as the Sacred Music Week of Havana (2014 onwards), MUSICANOVA (2019 onwards) and the International Organ Week of Havana (2019 onwards), where they converge Suggestive proposals for sacred-musical concerts with an academic program of the highest level implemented through workshops and conferences. In the same way, it actively participates in the liturgical and paraliturgical celebrations of the diocese, and promotes the creation and maintenance of sociocultural programs in relation to sacred music such as the Escolania of the Archdiocese of San Cristóbal de La Habana for the instruction of children and youth. .
Under the academic protection of the Father Félix Varela Institute for Ecclesiastical Studies and with the cooperation of teachers from the Catholic Institute of Sacred Music and Musical Pedagogy of Regensburg (Hochschule für katholische Kirchenmusik & Musikpädagogik Regensburg), the Chair organizes and manages various training offers throughout academic year such as the Diploma in Sacred Music (2017 onwards) and the Introductory Seminar on Sacred Music (2018 onwards). The Diploma is a solid academic proposal for the training of practical musicians who participate frequently or in isolation in the exercise of the musical liturgy, while the Seminar responds to the pastoral vision of instructing non-professional musicians from the different religious venues in the city.