Professor John Kersey is an interdisciplinary historian whose scholarly work spans the three principal areas of music, education and traditionalist Catholicism, in particular those movements that developed as a result of the First Vatican Council of 1870. Principal influences on his outlook as a radical traditionalist include the reactionary Catholic movements of the early twentieth-century, paleolibertarianism, paleoconservatism and perennialism.
Work in education
John Kersey currently serves as President, Director of Academic Affairs and David Hume Interdisciplinary Professor at European-American University (EAU) and has been closely involved in the development of the University from its inception in 2003. EAU is a diverse partnership of affiliated campuses throughout sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia, together with highly flexible online degree programmes and several active research centers. The vision of education at EAU is one of tailored solutions for discerning high achievers who wish to engage dynamically with their own educational process and who prefer the efficiency and freedom from bureaucracy that a private university can offer, rather than the mass market product available elsewhere. As chief Research Officer of the University, John Kersey oversees several research centers, including the Alcott Center for Educational Research, the online Henselt Library, which makes rare scores of nineteenth-century piano music available to the public, the Libertarian Library Online, and the Mathew Center for the Study of the Independent Sacramental Movement.
He has wide prior experience in education, having taught a number of subjects in the independent secondary, further and higher sectors in Britain and abroad. Following posts as head of department and vice-principal at leading independent colleges in London, he was invited to move from teaching into educational consultancy, being appointed senior consultant at a foreign credential evaluation firm in Florida, USA, in 2005. In this capacity, he has provided expert opinion for use by American law firms on several thousand cases in relation to international educational credentials and their equivalencies.
Work in music
As a musician, John Kersey is best-known for researching and bringing unknown nineteenth-century piano music to a wider public. Founder of the record label Romantic Discoveries Recordings, he has recorded over one hundred CDs, the majority consisting wholly of world première recordings. Having performed a wide repertoire as soloist and collaborative artist throughout Britain and continental Europe in earlier years, the focus of his career as a pianist is now in recording and scholarship.
In 2006, John Kersey released the first ever recording of the original, unfinished version of Beethoven’s Sonata in D major, Biamonti 213, together with other Beethoven unfinished sonatas and sketches, in a CD described as a “treasure trove” by the website The Unheard Beethoven. He has also made the first recordings of music by Mendelssohn, Alkan, Reinecke, Huber and Heller, among many others. Mark Thomas of the Joachim Raff Society has said, “His catalogue represents a huge contribution to the recorded repertoire of piano music by romantic unsungs…I have several of these CDs now and I must pay tribute not only to Kersey’s advocacy but also to his pianism. He has a fine technique but isn’t showy and he lets the music speak for itself. There’s something very appealing about this self-effacing, honest approach.”
Work in the Church
Following twelve years of lay work as a musician within a number of Christian denominations, John Kersey was brought to an eventual realisation that his vocation lay specifically within those Traditionalist movements that had sought to preserve the pre-Vatican I Catholic Church. Consecrated in the historic Catholic Apostolic Succession, he is the eighth elected Prince-Abbot of the religious and chivalric foundation of San Luigi, founded in North Africa in 1883, and the sixth Mukungu of San Luigi in the Kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara. In this capacity he is Superior-General of the Order of Antioch, a dispersed traditionalist jurisdiction with clergy in Europe, America and Australia, and a Trustee of two Charitable Trusts in the UK. He has also since 2008 been responsible for the UK representation of the Apostolic Episcopal Church and the Order of Corporate Reunion. The AEC and OCR are historic ecumenical communions both based in New York, USA.
John Kersey’s published writings range from books addressing aspects of the history of independent education and the independent sacramental movement to new editions of classic texts, including C.W. Leadbeater’s The Science of the Sacraments. His recent books include The University Outside State Control (2009), the first to address its controversial topic in depth, Arnold Harris Mathew and the Old Catholic Movement in England 1908-52 (2010), and Joseph-René Vilatte (1854-1929): Some Aspects of his Life, Work and Succession (2011). For twelve years he also worked as a music critic for a number of journals, including Hi-Fi News and Record Review, Tempo and International Piano, and contributed twenty articles on music and literature to the Routledge Encyclopedia of Contemporary Italian Culture. He currently blogs for the Libertarian Alliance.