PaTRAM Institute is delighted to announce that Master conductor & teacher, Maestro VLADIMIR GORBIK, will return to the United States to conduct a MALE CHOIR MASTER CLASS which will be held during the Pastoral Conference dedicated to the 100th Anniversary of ROCOR March 23-25, 2020 at the St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral in Howell, NJ.
Learn, sing and receive divine inspiration in the presence of two miraculous icons, the 700-year-old Wonderworking Kursk Root Mother of God of the Sign icon and the Mother of God “Softener of Evil Hearts” myrrh-streaming icon from Moscow.
Participation in the Male Choir Programs is FREE
Meals are provided.
Lodging is not provided.
During the Eastern American Diocese Pastoral Conference October 21st-23rd, PaTRAM Institute held a Master Class for Male Choir with Grammy-nominated Maestro Vladimir Gorbik. The conference and the Master Class took place at Holy Trinity Monastery (HTM) in Jordanville, NY. These events coincided with the EAD’s celebration of the 35th anniversary of Metropolitan Hilarion’s consecration to the episcopate and in the presence of the Wonder working Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God of the Sign, and the Myrrh-Streaming Iveron Icon of the Mother of God of Hawaii. The Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God has returned from her pilgrimage abroad, which included the time spent traveling with the PaTRAM Institute Male Choir in Saratov, Russia. In Saratov alone this beautiful icon was venerated by more than 18,000 faithful!
Participants in the Master Class had the opportunity to work with Maestro Vladimir Gorbik in a small group setting and sing alongside Deacon Nicholas Kotar and the Holy Trinity Seminarians. Maestro Gorbik’s presence was immediately felt, and the choir was able to improve its fundamentals and performance even after only several rehearsals. An unexpected high point of the Master Class was the presence of Fr. Silouan Toumanov, one of Deacon Nicholas Kotar’s favorite composers, at the EA Diocese conference as a participant. Fr Silouan happened to walk in on the choir practicing an Anaphora that he had written about ten years ago. At the conclusion of the piece, he approached the choir and graciously admitted that when he wrote it, he didn’t imagine it could sound so beautiful.
The Master Class culminated with the male choir singing Tuesday evening’s All Night Vigil and Wednesday’s Hierarchal Divine Liturgy. The choir was co-directed by Vladimir Gorbik and Deacon Nicholas Kotar, seminary choir director and lecturer in church music. The Liturgy was officiated by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion and His Grace Bishop Luka. During the Liturgy, the chant “Grace of the World” was performed in the presence of its author, composer Fr. Siluan.
In 2020, PaTRAM Institute is planning another Master Class designed for the Male Choir. Maestro Gorbik will also hold four Master Classes for the Seminarians at Holy Trinity Seminary.
Thanks also to Deacon Michael Pavuk and Deacon Nicholas Kotar for their contributions to this article.
(This article by Seraphim Hanisch originally appeared on the Orthodox Christianity website on 10/15/19)
On Wednesday, October 2, 2019, a very special choral masterclass was given in the lower room of the Great Bell Tower at the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra. This monastery is considered the spiritual center of all of Russia and of its Orthodox Church. Several different factors contributed to the particular significance of this masterclass.
The precentor for the Masterclass was Maestro Vladimir Gorbik, the leader of the choirs at the Moscow Representation of the Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra. He has risen to great prominence in the world with multiple recordings of his choir, including one that rose to international prominence, the Grammy-nominated CD, “Teach Me Thy Statutes”, recorded in Saratov Russia, with singers from the Holy Trinity-Sergius Lavra Moscow Representation Male Choir combined with singers from the Saratov Archbishop Male Choir and the Patriarch Tikhon Russian-American Music Institute™ Male Choir (singers from the USA and Canada).
Vladimir Gorbik’s musical style is derived from Archimandrite Matfey (Mormyl), who was the precentor at the Lavra during his time there. He was one of a very few Church musicians who preserved—and restored—the great singing tradition of the Lavra that had been present for centuries before the monastery was closed by the godless Soviet authorities.
For Maestro Gorbik and many other prominent choirmasters in Russia today, Archimandrite Mattfey set the standard for Russian Church singing in our modern times. Vladimir Gorbik has since built on this tradition, and although there are many truly excellent choirs following this singing tradition around Moscow, it is Maestro Gorbik who has repeatedly taken the national stage in Russia to present such singing; it is he who renders it faithfully week after week at the Moscow Representation Church of the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra, and it is he who, after decades of musical decline in the United States, is responsible for the new blossoming of truly phenomenal church singing in that country.
Wednesday’s masterclass was symbolic in many ways. It was held in the very room that Archimandrite Matfey taught in, with many poster-size photographs of him adorning the room, along with a great icon of the Holy Trinity and scenes from the life of St. Sergius of Radonezh, for whom the Lavra is named.
Maestro Gorbik’s preparation for the Masterclass was, as always, “prayer first!” When we arrived at the Lavra, the first stop was the Trinity Sobor, where St. Sergius’ relics were opened to us, to kiss this holy Saint directly on his forehead and ask his blessing on our work. Following this, we visited the many other saints whose relics are in this church. Then, it was time to go to work.
The masterclass was comprised of approximately ten singers from the Moscow Representation’s choir and the body of students studying Church singing at the Lavra’s Spiritual Academy, one of the most significant Orthodox Christian theological schools in the world. Altogether I estimate about 65 singers were present, and under the steady gaze of Archimandrite Matfey (Mormyl) from the next world, and Archimandrite Gleb (Kozhevnikov) (the Head Choir Director of the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra Brotherhood Choir) in this one, the choir went to work.
For those who are unaccustomed to Maestro Gorbik’s teaching style, it is prayerful and loaded with stories, and also filled with exacting requirements for a level of musical perfection that transcends mere technical aspects of Church singing. The selections chosen for the masterclass, Dinev’s “Dostoyno yest” (It is truly meet) and others presented opportunities to truly pray, and to do so with the combination of great power and intimacy that Gorbik impels in his conducting style, went from “technically good with some problems here and there” to a sound that is truly exalted and full of the grace of the Holy Spirit.
I have personally been with the Maestro for many of his masterclasses in the United States, the Russian Federation and many others of his projects. Even though I know his style well, it is always a pleasant surprise when the choir he is teaching “gets it” and then soars into something truly heavenly in its sound. At the Lavra the same thing happened. The class was excellent, and the response of the students appeared very enthusiastic.
However, the history-making did not end with simply teaching the masterclass. Following the class, the plan was established that on a regular basis, as yet to be determined, but perhaps once or twice each month, Maestro Gorbik will lead his master classes at the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra and conduct the Divine Services there.
This is surely fullfilling. To be able to stand and sing where Archimandrite Matfey stood and sung, to both complete this grace-filled circle of teacher to student and transformation to teacher in the same image, and to sing in such a place as the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra is a great privilege.
In 2016, the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra Moscow Representation Choir came with singers embedded from the Patriarch Tikhon Russian-American Music Institute Male Choir™ from the USA to sing the Divine Liturgy at Dormition (Uspensky) Cathedral at the Lavra. I was one of those in the choir. To sing there is beyond description, in this beautiful, over four hundred sixty-year-old sacred space. To do it once is an event we can consider “once in a lifetime.” To be able to do it regularly is an incredible privilege and blessing.
We anticipate much more collaboration and cooperation between the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra and its Moscow-based dependency in the future. Vladimir Gorbik has been blessed to complete a circle in Christian love and brotherhood, which is perhaps the greatest and most difficult work of the Church in our troubled times. Yet, in such times, works like this show us truly “how good and blessed it is when brothers dwell in unity.”
Spiritually, musically and historically, this masterclass quietly shook the Orthodox world—and thankfully, in the very best of ways.
Don’t miss your next opportunity to learn from Maestro Vladimir Gorbik at our Male Choir Master Class and sing with Deacon Nikolai Kotar and Holy Trinity Seminarians. The master class will be held October 21st-23rd at Holy Trinity Monastery (HTM) in Jordanville, NY, during the Eastern American Diocese Pastoral Conference. The master class is open to all orthodox males and culminates in singing the Hierarchical Vigil and Liturgy officiated by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion and His Grace Bishop Luka.
Course participation is FREE through a scholarship grant by PaTRAM Institute and meals are provided by HTM. Participants are responsible for lodging and transportation.
Space is limited! Please email email@example.com for more information!
PaTRAM Institute will be co-sponsoring, with the St. Alexander Nevsky Foundation, a mini-Master Class for Male Choir from Wednesday September 11th through Thursday September 12th at the St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral in Howell, NJ. The mini-Master Class is being held in conjunction with the Feast of Saint Alexander Nevsky, the patron saint of the Cathedral.
As with all prior Male Choir programs, the class will be led by Maestro Vladimir Gorbik who will be coming from Russia, fresh off of a successful recording of the next PaTRAM Institute Male Choir CD, “More Honorable Than the Cherubim”, in Saratov, Russia, specifically for this event.
The event is open to all experienced Male Orthodox singers with no tuition. Some meals will be provided to the participants but lodging is the responsibility of the participant.
To be a participant, contact Father Serge Lukianov at firstname.lastname@example.org and be prepared to adhere to the following event schedule:
Wednesday September 11th
Liturgy at 8:30 in the Tikhvin Church for Beheading of St. John the Baptist
Light breakfast and rehearsals in Cathedral lower hall
5:30 choir reports to cathedral
Thursday September 12th
Greeting of Metropolitan Hilarion at 9:30
Followed by Liturgy and trapeza
PaTRAM™ Institute Presents TWO Male Choir Master Classes, September and October 2019.
Maestro Vladimir Gorbik returns to the United States to conduct TWO Master Classes for Male Choir.
St. Alexander Nevsky Feast Day and Mini-Master Class
September 11-12, 2019
St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral
Master Class at the Holy Trinity Monastery
October 21-23, 2019
During the Pastoral Conference
Holy Trinity Monastery
Participation in the Male Choir programs is free and all meals are provided. Lodging may be provided but must be arranged in advance of the event.
Male Choirs will sing the Hierarchical All-Night Vigils and Divine Liturgies.
SPACE IS LIMITED
All inquiries should be addressed to: email@example.com
This past Sunday, June 30th, the 2019 Summer Singers’ Academy came to a close with a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy officiated by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, His Grace Bishop Luka of Syracuse and many clergy, including Father Serge Lukianov whose Parish, St. Alexander Nevsky, hosted the Academy. Highlighted by the singing of the combined choirs of the Academy, the service was as colorful an image in sight as it was in sound with an almost full Cathedral.
Beginning on Thursday, June 27, the Academy began with a Molebin, served by Father Serge, in the beautiful St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral in Howell, NJ. There were two independent course threads, Mixed Choir and Male Choir.
The Mixed Choir was an all-encompassing curriculum, designed and overseen by Academy Executive Director Katya Lukianov and staffed by a stellar faculty led by Benedict Sheehan, the Mixed Choir group was made up of singers from ALL skill levels. Vocal instructors Laryssa Duhovskoy, Richard Barrett and Maria Sheehan taught students the mechanics of singing, both physical and mental, how to best emote prayerful singing and rehearsing the repertoire the Choir would be singing at the weekend’s services. Singers commented that the experience was “transformational”, “informative” and “very positive”. Almost to a person, each had their own story about how much they learned in such a short time.
The Male Choir program was led by Grammy Award nominee, Maestro Vladimir Gorbik and, also, overseen by Grammy Award nominee and Academy Executive Director, Katya Lukianov. This program was for experienced male singers who strived to learn the repertoire for TWO sets of services, the weekend’s Hierarchial services as well as the services celebrating the Feast of St John of Shanghai and San Francisco on Friday night and Saturday morning. But most importantly, for these singers, were the techniques that Maestro Gorbik taught them of how to make their singing as prayerful and emotional as possible.
Not to be forgotten, Dr. Nicholas Reeves, led both choirs in the subject of Musicianship. Dr. Reeves, whose deep knowledge of choral music and its roots and practical applications, taught the students of how the music should be interpreted and functionally applied.
Round-table and panel discussions with the full faculty were also key components of the Academy. The panel’s participants were open to any and all questions by the attendees. In addition, a poignant and incredibly interesting presentation was given by Archimandrite Father Sergius, the Abbot of St. Tikhon’s Monastery in Waymart, PA. Father Sergius spoke of the importance of prayerful singing and its importance in the service of the Orthodox church.
Two and a half days of learning about sacred choral music and how to sing it, the choirs studied their repertoires and then, side-by-side, sang the Hierarchical services on Saturday night and Sunday morning. The sounds were spectacular and extremely moving. The Choirs brought out all the nuances of the music and both officiating Hierarchs, Bishop Luka and Metropolitan Hilarion, praised the quality of singing by the choirs and commented on the importance of prayerful singing to the Orthodox Church. “Amazing” was one attendee’s reaction.
At the end of the service, Father Sergius, presented the attending administration of the Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, NY, a check for $50,000 as donation towards the $500,000 operational expenses for that institution. He also pointed out how important the work of HTS is to the Church and that without it the Church would be seriously impacted and unable to bring up new clergy to keep the Church going into the future. Father Serge said, “we’ve put up 10%” and that additional donations are needed to supplement that first step.
At the completion of the Sunday Divine Liturgy all the clergy and the Academy students, faculty, staff and friends attended an incredibly tasty luncheon at the Church Hall across the street from the Church. After lunch, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion personally gave each Academy participant a special Certificate of Completion of their chosen program. In addition, each student was given their own copy of the beautifully bound, hard-cover book, “Moments of Russian Sacred Music, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, THE COMPLETE SACRED CHORAL WORKS”. Vlad Morosan’s Musica Russica, a global provider of Russian choral sheet music and recordings and frequent partner of PaTRAM™, donated the books to the Academy. THANK YOU!
In the past week, with the success of this Academy, the administration of PaTRAM™ has already begun planning the Academy for the summer of 2020 and has set tentative dates of June 24-28. Discussions have begun regarding the content and additional subject matter is expected to be included. Don’t miss out on the information. Become a PaTRAM subscriber.
Our friends and family PASCHA SPECIAL is almost here!
Experience our intensive and rewarding music programs at the Singers’ Summer Academy, with your friend or family member, and receive a very special offer and free gift from PaTRAM™.
PASCHA SPECIAL starts on Bright Monday, April 29th.
Stay tuned for details…
Make plans to attend St. Tikhon’s 115th Annual Memorial Day Pilgrimage, happening May 24th-27th! PaTRAM is proud to be a sponsor of the Choir Festival that is happening during the weekend’s events!
Festival participants can take a masterclass in Conducting with esteemed Maestro Peter Jermihov, receive vocal instruction from the stellar Talia Maria Sheehan, and join in rehearsals with the Monastery’s staff of musicians.
Register for the choir festival.
The Wait Is Over!
Effective immediately the Singers’ Summer Academy is now available for registrants to sign up for THE best sacred music singers training available.
Learn from the very BEST faculty, including Maestro Vladimir Gorbik, conductor of the PaTRAM Institute Male Choir’s Grammy nominated CD, “Teach Me Thy Statutes”. Learn in a beautiful environment that is the St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral and Parish School in Howell, NJ.
Don’t Put It Off!
All registrants who sign up for the Academy now through Orthodox Christmas Day, January 7th, 2019, will receive a copy of PaTRAM Institute’s Grammy nominated CD, “Teach Me Thy Statutes”.
Don’t delay! Don’t miss the opportunity to learn from the best. Don’t miss the enjoyment of learning how to best utilize your vocal skills and contribute to your parish choir. And don’t miss getting your own copy of “Teach Me Thy Statutes”.
Come join us for this one-of-a-kind event. Could you be the next vocalist in a Grammy nominated choir? Who knows?
Written by Alex Milas
There could not have been a better setting than the Representation Holy Trinity-St.Sergius Monastery (Lavra), aka Podvorie, in Moscow this past July. The location provided the best in spirituality, history and hospitality to the ten student conductors who gathered in the ornate meeting hall during the week beginning July 6th thru July 12th, 2017.
The class was led by Maestro Vladimir Gorbik, one of PaTRAM’s founders, the Conductor of the Podvorie Choir and member of the Conducting Faculty at the Moscow State Conservatory.
Maestro Gorbik also assembled a professional choir. These singers were needed so that Maestro Gorbik could show the students experienced singers who will take direction as presented by the Conductor and, thereby, better illustrate to a student how and what they did to make the singers respond the way they did to the student’s actions.
As with all PaTRAM Master Classes, the event began with a Molebin, served by Father Sergei, in the monastery’s chapel, next to the meeting/rehearsal hall.
Each student was assigned parts of the All-Night Vigil and the Divine Liturgy which they would conduct at the weekend services and at the services for the Feast Day of Sts. Peter and Paul. The Maestro would also fill in, directing the remaining parts of each service.
The Feast Day services would be Hierarchical as the class and the Podvorie were blessed to have Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan agreeing to officiate. Bishop Nicholas, a huge supporter of PaTRAM, flew to Moscow to give his blessing to the class, show his support for PaTRAM’s efforts and concelebrate the Feast Day services with Archimandrite Dionisy, and other clergy.
Each day the group gathered in the meeting/rehearsal hall. The process was, basically, the Maestro leading each part of the liturgy himself then taking a seat in the rear of the room, watching and listening as each student directed their assigned pieces. There are many nuances in facial expressions, hand movements, body motion and posture that affect the relationship between choir and conductor. The Hierarchical services would be the high point of their rehearsals.
During the services each student stepped on to the conductor’s podium and, seamlessly, took over the choir without ever missing a beat.
Maestro Gorbik told me after the Divine Liturgy that a parishioner shared with him that they heard NO difference between one part or another of the service despite finding out later that multiple conductors were stepping on and off the podium to direct their parts. A big accomplishment, he thought.
The end of the Divine Liturgy signaled not only the end of the service but also the end of the Master Class. Bishop Nicholas gave a short sermon acknowledging PaTRAM and their work, thanking the Podvorie and the monastery’s abbot, Archimandrite Dionysi, for their hospitality and kindness, and, last but not least Maestro Gorbik, the students and the Choir which “sang so beautifully”.
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