Paul Westermeyer is Emeritus Professor of Church Music at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he taught, served as the Cantor, and directed the Master of Sacred Music degree program with St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. Prior to coming to Luther Seminary he was Professor of Music at Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, Illinois, where he chaired the Music Department, directed the College Choir and oratorio chorus, and taught courses in church music, hymnody, and worship. He was Visiting Professor of Church Music at Yale University's Institute of Sacred Music; Cantor and Assistant Pastor at Ascension Lutheran Church in Riverside, Illinois; Editor of The Hymn, the quarterly journal of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada; Dean of the Fox Valley (Illinois) Chapter of the American Guild of Organists; National Chaplain of the American Guild of Organists; Chair of Ecclesiastical Concerns for the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians; and President of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada. He served as the musician for churches in Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Maryland. He is currently on the Boards of the Church Music Institute for whom he has taught courses, the Center for Church Music, and the Association for Reformed and Liturgical Worship. He has been the Dean of the Twin Cities (Minnesota) Chapter of the American Guild of Organists from 2014 until 2018.
Westermeyer is an ordained Lutheran pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and a graduate of Elmhurst College, Lancaster Theological Seminary, the School of Sacred Music at Union Theological Seminary in New York, and the University of Chicago. He did Clinical Pastoral Experience at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois; graduate study in the Liturgical Studies Program at Notre Dame University and the Schola Cantorum at Concordia Theological Seminary in St. Louis; and independent study in the Archives and with professors of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. His doctoral dissertation was completed under Martin Marty at the University of Chicago and is a theological, liturgical, hymnological, and musical comparison of the Lutheran and German Reformed churches of Pennsylvania in the nineteenth century.
Westermeyer's publications relate to his lifelong interest in theological, musical, and liturgical intersections. The Church Musician weaves some of these concerns together in a perspective on the role and vocation of the church musician; With Tongues of Fire surveys some twentieth century hymnody and hymn writers; Let Justice Sing analyzes hymnody and justice; Te Deum scans church music from the Old Testament to the present; the Hymnal Companion to Evangelical Lutheran Worship discusses each hymn and tune in the hymnal. He co-authored Church Music in the United States, 1760-1901, with David Music. His most recent books are Church Musicians: Reflections on Their Craft, Call, History, and Challenges, and A High and Holy Calling: Essays of Encouragement for the Church and Its Musicians.
Westermeyer is married to Sally Ann (Young). They have two sons, two daughters, two daughters‑in‑law, two sons-in-law, and eleven grandchildren.