PaTRAM Institute™ – An Epilogue of the Epic Rachmaninoff CD Recording and Pilgrimage

We hope you, our subscribers and visitors, enjoyed the ongoing diary of the events that made up PaTRAM Institute’s Rachmaninoff CD Recording and Pilgrimage in the Holy Land which included singing 4 liturgies (in various churches) and two live concerts. We at PaTRAM™ certainly enjoyed bringing them to you. It was truly a unique spiritual journey.

As such, we felt that this adventure deserved an Epilogue, e.g. a closing chapter that brings to light the work it took to make this happen, the successful efforts of all involved to make it happen and some testimonials from our singers about the experience.

This project was 2+ years in the making. After multiple venue changes, due mostly to COVID and the uncertainties it wreaked on PaTRAM’s plans. Russia, US, Serbia and Ukraine were all considered for this project with Serbia going ALMOST all the way to execution. All fell to the COVID pandemic. One of those victims was our own Chairman, Alexis Lukianov, who waged a difficult battle with COVID and came very close to losing his life. He credits his survival to God, his doctors and the prayers of all his friends and supporters.

However, PaTRAM senior management were undaunted, particularly our aforementioned Chairman, Alex Lukianov, who was focused on making this happen. When our CEO, Tatiana Geringer (a multiple-time visitor to the Holy Land, both as tour leader and pilgrim), suggested the Holy Land as our venue everything seemed to fall into place after that. Though not without multiple “speed bumps”. Rachmaninoff’s “All-Night Vigil” performed and recorded in the cradle of Orthodox and global Christianity? Of course! How appropriate.

Still, many, many logistical issues lay in front of the planning team. Between on-the-ground efforts and singer recruitment, dodging COVID, dealing with rising costs, the effort was immense in nature. But with God’s grace and rabid determination, their efforts paid off and the project went forward with bumps and bruises but overall as a major success.

In the end, though, no matter how much effort we put into making this happen, we found great satisfaction in the testimonials of our singers. We can’t state it any more clearly, it was THEIR efforts that made this happen, as well as, the steady hand of our conductor, Ekaterina Antonenko. This group was our winning combination. So, we’d like to close the “diary” we’ve been keeping for this event with the comments from our the aforementioned group and we thank them with all our hearts!

Robert Isaacs, Counter-tenor: “This is Robert writing, the shorter bald countertenor.  What a joy to make music and explore Israel with all of you these past two weeks!  It was especially meaningful to me after not singing for several years.

I look forward to hearing the CD, and hope we’ll get more chances to sing together.  I am not on social media, but can be reached via this email — if anyone passes through upstate New York, look me up and we’ll share tour memories!”

Chris Mallory, Oktavist: “As I sit safely at home… I’ve taken the time to reflect on our most memorable sojourn in the Holy Land together. 

I’m reminded of a past reflection from my last visit there in the spring of 2015, which still rings true to me today: We came to the Holy Land of Moses and Jesus with open hearts and inquiring minds. We saw the Scripture come to life before our eyes through the ancient stone and the living rock. We learned about the Fifth Gospel – our individual experience of the Holy Land – to help us follow a path of renewal, wonder and peace.

My sincere, heartfelt thanks for your invitation to take part in this journey with you and the PaTRAM Male Choir, for your trust in my ability to achieve PaTRAM’s objectives and for your generous support of me during this wonderful project.

Blessings and best wishes to you all.

Glenn Miller, Oktavist: “This all is far more than a concert and recording tour. Words fail to describe or
articulate the life changing spiritual dimension of all of this, especially the liturgies, being in the holiest places of the faith, of entering into and brushing up against the deepest traditions and dimensions of the faith that are polar opposites of the total consumerism and egoism which defines the church in western culture.

This whole project has been years in the making, but it was not to come to fruition until now here in the Holy Land, after earlier efforts did not come to fruition, especially the pandemic which nearly took the life of the person who is the driving force and primary patron of the entire endeavor. It was meant, by God’s grace and providence, to be here in the Holy Land with this conductor and in the year of the 150th anniversary of the birth of the composer with these people from across the globe.”

We could not close this chapter without thanking our TREMENDOUS Associate Executive Producers. Their support was invaluable. We’d also like to thank the supporters of our amateur singers. You’ve provided these up-and-coming singers with an amazing opportunity to show their skills. Last but not least, we’d like to thank ALL of our donors and supporters. You are part of the collective that makes these events happen and to get this music to the masses.

Thank you, also, to our on-the-ground logistics team, Father Roman Gultaev and his wife, Matushka Olga for their concerted efforts on the ground in Israel.

Thank you to our spiritual guides and supporting Hierarchs and clerics: His Grace Bishop Theodosy of Seattle, His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan and, especially, Archimandrite Father Roman Krassovsky for giving us the access to Eleon Monastery that was essential to the success of this project. God bless all of you!

Finally, our greatest thanks goes to the Lukianov Family Foundation without who’s support there’d be no PaTRAM Institute nor any of the great things we’ve been able to accomplish since our founding. God bless you!

Stay tuned for the release of the concert videos and final recording of Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil.

PaTRAM Institute™ – Day 12 of Epic Rachmaninoff CD Recording and Pilgrimage – The Final Day

Day 12 has arrived and with it the relief of having completed the difficult but fulfilling task of recording another Grammy hopeful. That remains to be seen but our mission is always focused on fostering and preserving the original splendor of Russian Orthodox choral music, with its astounding spiritual depth, and spreading the liturgical music of our church throughout the world. But today that’s all in the background. Today is Sunday and the first stop of the day is a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in the Church of Mary Magdalene. The church is located in the Convent of Saint Mary Magdalene in the Garden of Gethsemane, also on the Mount of Olives, not too far from the choir’s host, the Eleon Monastery.

The beautiful gold onion domes of the church are unmistakable, their beauty shining forth as they glow in the Jerusalem sunshine. Once inside the church, it quickly becomes apparent that the interior is equal to the beauty of the exterior.

The Hierarchical service was very moving and heartfelt with the Male Choir, led by another singer from our group, Elias Dubelsten, reflecting those feelings with their beautiful and soulful singing.

After the service was completed all the singers and staff gathered in front of the stunning church to take a group photo.

The entire PaTRAM group, singers, staff and pilgrims, were all invited by Egumenia Elizaveta, the Abbess of the Convent, to attend a special Trapeza lunch. The Abbess (standing center) addressed the attendees and handed out commemorative gifts marking PaTRAM’s visit to the Convent. A very special moment.

After the lunch, as has become habit, the group boarded the bus again and began their trip to the open desert where they were about to be treated to something most common in the Middle East, a camel ride! The bus took the group past the wall, separating Israel from Palestine, and into the desert where the vistas were spectacular.

After driving about 45 mins or so, the group arrived at a bedouin camp run by locals. Their primary business is taking their clients for camel rides. After a short introduction to riding a camel, the guides helped seat people wanting to take the ride and took them for a short, 10-minute ride to Abraham’s tent.

The person playing “Abraham” gave a colorful history of the area and its Biblical past. One of our Australian choristers quickly recognized Abraham’s accent as Australian and when asked admitted that, indeed, he was Australian and has been working as “Abraham” for the past 24 years. Very interesting.

After the interesting meeting with “Abraham”, the group boarded the bus again for the final leg of today’s adventure, the closing banquet in a Bethlehem kebab restaurant. With its traditional bedouin tent look and low bench-seat tables, the restaurant presented the group with its menu of sauces, hummus, breads and, of course, chicken and meat kebab skewers.

There were speeches and presentations of gifts especially by PaTRAM Chairman Alex Lukianov who acknowledged the work of the producer, Blanton Alspaugh (left frame), conductor, Ekaterina Antonenko (2nd from left frame), on-the-ground logistics manager and guide, Father Roman Gultaev (2nd from right frame) and the PaTRAM staff (L-R, CEO, Tatiana Geringer, Personal Assistant for the Lukianovs, Natalia Prokopeca and Executive Director, Alex Milas), and thanked them for their efforts.

However, the most important people of note, without whom none of this would have happened and whose selfless support for the mission makes PaTRAM Institute what it is, Alex and Katya Lukianov. Their love for their Church, for the organization and for each other always shines through. Gorko!!!

And so, the group’s 12-day adventure comes to an end. Both happiness and melancholy frame the day. Happiness, in what the working group achieved, under some difficult circumstances, the new people met and the memories of a lifetime. Melancholy, in knowing that it’s over and the time has come for all of them to return to their regular lives.

With God’s help another adventure awaits!

Please be sure to follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn) and this website where we will share updates and the progress of this CD, concert videos and all things PaTRAM.

PaTRAM Institute™ – Days 8-11 of Epic Rachmaninoff CD Recording and Pilgrimage – The Recording Days

Refreshed and rested, Day 8 began with the arranging of the choir in the Ascension church to bring out the best sound. The Soundmirror engineering team determined that the building had too much echo and, as such, had to reduce it to be less noticeable while still contributing to the overall sound. To avoid any impact to the church’s interior, wires were strung between windows and blankets hung over the wires, effectively creating a sound room but with the natural acoustics produced by the church’s architecture.

The day outside was typical of Jerusalem and that area of the world, HOT! The sun shown down on the Mount of Olives with it usual force.

As such the rehearsals had more frequent breaks so that the choir could hydrate and reduce the vocal strain while Soundmirror could adjust the sound to optimum recording standards. The recording’s producer, multi-Grammy winner, Blanton Alspaugh discussed the nuances with conductor, Ekaterina Antonenko, during those breaks.

The “dress rehearsal” day was complete and the Soundmirror team, along with Ms. Antonenko and singers, listened to the sample recordings in the makeshift control room that would, starting tomorrow, become the eventual CD itself.

The ensemble is now ready to lay down the final tracks for the CD.

Day 9 was another eventful day as the choir and the recording team recorded the first 5 pieces of the 15-piece repertoire. The work was difficult but fulfilling as the first tracks of the CD were completed.

Day 10 began with a panihida service, at the Trapeznaya Church on the grounds of the Eleon Monastery, to remember the 40th day of the repose of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. The solemn but heartwarming service was sung by the PaTRAM Men’s Choir and conducted by one of our own singers, Vadim Gan.

After the service, it was back to work for the choir and Soundmirror to record the next 5 tracks for the CD.

Day 11, the final day of recording for the team. Coupled with a little anxiety, the group was very optimistic that this final day would “seal the deal”, as they say, and bring to fruition all the hard work that went into this recording. Once the end was reached, the entire team (choir, staff and Soundmirror) all posed for a group photo next to the Ascension Church.

As wonderful as the choir was, as a whole, the soul of the group was their amazing Oktavist section. They’re the ones who provide the depth on this recording showcased under Ms. Antonenko’s direction.

L-R, Vasilii Korostelev, Ilia Laptev, Elias Dubelsten, Alex Lukianov, Ekaterina Antonenko, Glenn Miller, Viacheslav Prutskikh, Chris Mallory and Jason Thoms

All of this being said, it’s still not over! One more day is still to come. One more adventure to be had.

PaTRAM Institute™ – Days 6 and 7 of Epic Rachmaninoff CD Recording and Pilgrimage

After the successful second and final performance in Nazareth, the choir traveled to the Sea of Galilee. After the hard work to prepare and perform the concerts, the singers and staff were ready for some rest and relaxation. However, most importantly, the group was looking forward to experiencing all the holy sites in the area as pilgrims.

The next day (Day 6) began with a trip to the Jordan River, the site where it is said Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. There is a tradition that all pilgrims cover their bodies before bathing in the Jordan. The local shop sells the typical bathing “gown” that both men and women wear over their bathing suits as seen in the photograph. The gown is not mandatory but covering up is.

After the blessing of the water by our two accompanying Bishops, His Grace Bishop Theodosy and His Grace bishop Nicholas, we entered the cool water and were submerged by both Their Graces and blessed in the River Jordan.

Once blessed, all the brethren jumped into the waters of the Jordan for a group photo. Don’t worry, our group’s photographer, George Konyev, was also able to wade into the water after he shot the photo.

Having been invigorated by the blessed waters of the Jordan, the choir and pilgrims boarded the bus for the trip to Cana. Cana is known as the place where Jesus attended a wedding and performed His first miracle, turning water into wine upon the request of His Holy Mother, the Virgin Mary, as the wine had run out for the wedding celebration.

Jesus’ first miracle is represented in the “Wedding Church”, a Catholic church that stands on the very spot where the miracle took place and contains the water urns where the water was transformed.

After returning to Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee, the group was rewarded for their efforts in performance, by PaTRAM Chairman Alex Lukianov and PaTRAM Artistic Director Katya Lukianov, with a stunning sunset cruise on Sea of Galilee. It was a beautiful evening with the sun shining brightly on the now relaxed group as they sailed in a wooden boat on the peaceful sea.

After a restful night’s sleep, Day 7 began with the choir and the pilgrims setting out to their next Holy Land site, the Mount of the Beatitudes.  This is the place where Jesus Christ made His famous Sermon on the Mount, teaching the masses how to live a Christian life and performing the miracle of feeding the crowd of thousands with two fish and five loaves of bread. The location sits high above the Sea of Galilee with colorful flowers and arresting view of the water.

The primary structure on the grounds is the Roman Catholic Mount of the Beatitudes Church. The group was able to pray outside on the church’s wrap-around veranda.

After a short water break, the group boarded the bus for their next Holy Land site, Mount Tabor. The monastery at the top of the mountain cannot be accessed by our tour bus so the group had to break up into smaller groups and board vans that shuttled everyone to the top. The view on the way was spectacular.

Although it took time, everyone was able to ascend to the Transfiguration Monastery at the top of Mount Tabor. It was worth the trip! This is the location where the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ took place and witnessed by His disciples, Peter, James and his brother John. The Greek Orthodox Transfiguration Church is a very simple stone building on the outside but an iconographer’s bounty of holy imagery on the inside.

One can spend an entire afternoon looking at all the beautiful colors, the relics and icons on every wall of the church. Still, the afternoon had another stop in store for the group, the Dead Sea.

The Dead Sea is a body of water that is so saturated with salt that one can easily float without submerging. The salt that is in the mud, below the water and on the shore, is used for skin treatments and is sold locally to visitors. Spas are prevalent and known for the ages-old methods of skin cleansing and exfoliation.

The day ended with those that wished to take a plunge into the waters of the Dead Sea. After changing, the group boarded the bus back to the Sea of Galilee for the final night’s stay and then back to Jerusalem, to start the recording of the CD the next day.

PaTRAM Institute™ – Day 5 of Epic Rachmaninoff CD Recording and Pilgrimage

Day 5, a Sunday, started out with the choir checking out of their hotel in Jerusalem and boarding the bus for the trip to the Ascension Church, on the Mount of Olives, to sing and attend the Hierarchical services and pray that all will be well in the group’s second half of the day. The trip to Nazareth.

On the road to Nazareth there are other sites to see, too. The group stopped at the scenic overlook from where one can see the valley where Armageddon is and where the Final Judgement will be passed.

The town of Nazareth, the city where Jesus spent the first 12 years of his life, is built into a mountain which climbs high above the Jezreel valley below. Nazareth is known as the “Arab capital of Israel” and most of them are Christian, although the Muslim and Jewish faiths, too, are well-represented and everyone lives peacefully together.

Once in Nazareth, the group saw some of the ancient sites there including the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation and it’s beautiful interior and iconostasis. It is situated near the Catholic Church of the Annunciation where Archangel Gabriel was said to have descended to announce to the Virgin Mary that She will bear the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.

Towards the evening the choir arrived at the Church of Christ the Adolescent. A Salesian Catholic church built on top of one of Nazareth’s hills overlooking the city. It is the only church in the world named as such, although the pastor did mention another is in planning to be built.

It is here the choir will perform the “All-Night Vigil” for the second and last time on this Holy Land adventure. The church is an incredible juxtaposition of sights. Walking in you see a cavernous, white stone interior with high vaulted ceilings. Turn around to the entrance and you’ll see a magical view of Nazareth and the valley below.

The choir began the performance just after 7pm, local time, and there was an good showing of visitors and locals. Of course, His Grace Bishop Theodosy and His Grace Bishop Nicholas were with the choir, too.  The performance was wonderful and the cathedral’s acoustics gave their sound a deep and rich color. Maestro Antonenko showed the same grace and control in leading the group tonight as she did in Jerusalem.

The performance was extremely well-received and most all of the audience was enthralled. It culminated in an short encore that further excited the crowd who gave the ensemble, Ms. Antonenko and soloists Evgeny Kachurovsky and Igor Morozov a tremendous ovation.

After the performance it was back on the road again to the Sea of Galilee. The performances being complete, it was time for the group to become pilgrims and travel to the Holy Sites there.

PaTRAM Institute™ – Day 4 of Epic Rachmaninoff CD Recording and Pilgrimage

Day 4 was first of two BIG days for the choir because today was a performance day! Yes. Today there were no pilgrimages only the business of singing.

After 3 days of rehearsing, both at the Eleon Monastery and, yesterday, at the Notre Dame Hall the group was almost ready for performance.

Day 4 started with a nice breakfast at the hotel followed by a walk across the street to the sister property with the same name as our hotel, the Notre Dame Concert Hall.

There was lots of running around by the staff, preparing for the concert, while the ensemble was doing their sound check in preparation for the performance at 11am. An afternoon concert was not possible because the attending clergy would have had a difficult time getting back to their parishes and monasteries in time for their evening vigils as most start around 4pm, “monastery” time. Monasteries, in Jerusalem, do not recognize Daylight Savings Time and, therefore, run 1-hour EARLIER.

Although doors-open time was 10:45, people were gathering around the entrance of the theater an hour before performance time to get in. There was a real interest in see what the PaTRAM Male Choir™  was all about.

Finally, the audience was let in and seated.

The audience included many clergy including the Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Holiness Theofilos III (front row center), who kindly gave His blessing to PaTRAM to perform in Jerusalem.

After the Hierarchy were acknowledged, the choir filed out on to the stage followed by their conductor, Maestro Ekaterina Antonenko.

Once the choir was on stage the emcee for the performance, PaTRAM CEO Tatiana Geringer, read her introduction of the group and noted the fact that this was an original arrangement of Rachmaninoff’s “All-Night Vigil” for Male Choir.

After the introduction, the choir began singing the Rachmaninoff masterpiece. As the choir began to sing “Bless the Lord, O My Soul”, baritone soloist Evgeny Kachurovsky took center stage to sing the very moving solo .

Shortly after Mr. Kachurovsky’s solo, the Male Choir’s other soloist, tenor Igor Morozov, took to center stage to sing the solo in “Gladsome Light”. Mr. Morozov would go on to sing solos in “Lord, Now Lettest Thou” and “Blessed Art Thou, O Lord”, later in the program.

The entire performance was brought together by the focused and determined efforts of Maestro Ekaterina Antonenko. Her emotional conducting of this masterpiece was clearly visible.

As the “All-Night Vigil” performance ended with a standing ovation and encore, Ms. Antonenko was presented with flowers by Fr. Roman Gultaev, PaTRAM’s local guide and logistics support person.

Once all the accolades were completed and the crowd began to leave, the choir assembled onstage to take photos with the clerical Hierarchs: His Holiness, Patriarch Theofilos III (center), His Grace, Bishop Theodosy of Seattle (left) and His Grace, Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan (center).

Later that day, evening vigil was served at the Ascension Church (where the choir will be recording their CD next week). The administration of PaTRAM and several of the singers were invited to an excellent dinner with the Abbess of the Convent, Egumenia Varvara to celebrate the All-Saints Feast day and the Choir’s work at the Monastery.

Another exhausting but spiritually satisfying day!! But….it’s not over!

PaTRAM Institute™ – Day 3 of Epic Rachmaninoff CD Recording and Pilgrimage

Day 3 was a VERY special day! After the choir returned from their Day 2 adventure to Bethlehem and their continuing preparation for their concert and recording, they ate dinner and rested in their hotel to get some extra strength to participate in, yet another, special pilgrimage event….a midnight Divine Liturgy being served in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (above) in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Prior to the service, the ensemble and accompanying pilgrims walked through the immense and incredible site that is the Holy Sepulcher. The first site one sees walking into the complex is the anointing table where Joseph of Aramathea prepared the body of Jesus for burial with special oils after Jesus was taken down from the cross and brought to the Tomb. Pilgrims who come, venerate the sacred stone and bring religious artifacts, icons and crosses they want to be blessed on the anointing table of Jesus.

The actual burial place of Jesus can be seen just past the anointing table. The Sepulcher is an ornate, stone structure that houses the final resting place of Jesus before He was resurrected back to life. This is the most sacred place for all of Christianity. All believers are welcome to enter the Sepulcher, through a small opening and make their way into the cave where the body of Jesus was entombed. The ultimate of sacred places where a believer can come venerate the last resting place of Our Savior. Truly moving.

PaTRAM Institute™ received the blessing of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III, to serve a midnight Divine Liturgy at Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified on the cross. A small but incredibly ornate and stunningly beautiful chapel above the main church of the Holy Sepulcher, where the pre-Liturgical matins were read. It should be noted how RARE an opportunity it was, that was bestowed on PaTRAM™ by the Patriarch, to give the blessing allowing a Liturgy to be served on such hallowed ground! Such a blessing!

After the very special night singing the Liturgy at Golgotha, the choir and pilgrims walked back through the Old City to their hotel for some much needed rest in preparation for resuming their rehearsing for the big Jerusalem performance to come. This time the setting was the Notre Dame Center Hall, right across the street from where they were staying, and where the PaTRAM Insitute Male Choir will be performing, tomorrow, June 18th at 11am.  The Maestro, Ekaterina Antonenko, molds the sound and shape of the choir in the performance hall.

Tomorrow is the big day…the choir’s first performance! More to come….


PaTRAM Institute™ – Day 2 of Epic Rachmaninoff CD Recording and Pilgrimage

What a fantastic start to Day 2 of PaTRAM Institute’s CD recording and pilgrimage. Today started with a visit to Bethlehem. Bethlehem is in Palestine, an independent nation, so there was a border to cross which, thank God, went by without incident. The choir gathered in the courtyard of the Church of the Nativity. The birthplace of Jesus Christ!

Father Roman Gultaev led the group into the church, through a four-foot high stone opening and into the great church itself with it’s unbelievably intricate and beautiful iconastasis (shown later in this story) and down a set of stone steps, to another four-foot high stone opening, into the cramped but beautiful cave where Jesus Christ was born. As the group gathered, the morning Divine Liturgy began with the choir (led by one of PaTRAM’s choristers, Elias Dubelsten) singing and the liturgy being read in Greek, Arabic and Slavonic. Amazing!

With the blessing of the Metropolitan of Bethlehem, His Eminence Benedict (center), and the bishops accompanying PaTRAM™, Bishop Theodosy of Seattle and Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, all celebrated the very special and unique service, mere feet from where Jesus was born! Imagine that! The man who changed the world forever was born right here. To the hierarchs’ left, out of the picture-as there are too many people venerating it to get a good photo-is the manger where the Most Holy Theotokos, the Virgin Mary nestled Her Son the baby Jesus. One’s eye’s burst with amazement at the thought of what happened here!

The pinnacle of the visit to the Nativity cave, after the Liturgy, was the veneration of the Star that signified the exact spot where Jesus was born to the Most Holy Theotokos. All believers were given the unbelievable honor to genuflect to their knees, reach their heads into the fireplace-sized opening and kiss the Star where Jesus Christ, Our Savior, was born. The impact that has on one’s soul is inexplicable and the only way to experience that feeling is to have gone there in-person! A tremendous honor.

After the Liturgy, the group, and the three hierarchs, were invited back into the main church to pose for a group photo under the majestic, gold, 3+story iconostasis and its intricate carvings and iconography. Stunningly beautiful!

His Eminence, Metropolitan Benedict of Bethlehem invited all the pilgrims to have coffee, tea and sweets in the unique, arched stone meeting room adjacent to the Church of the Nativity. It was a wonderful gesture by the Metropolitan to invite everyone to his personal meeting room and show his support and give His blessing to the PaTRAM Institute Male Choir™ and accompanying pilgrims.

Then, the bus ride back to the Eleon Monastery for rehearsal in the Trapeznaya Church. The same church that is 150 meters from where the Ascension took place! And also, 50 feet from where the head of St. John the Baptist was discovered and a church erected on the site. Lunch-fueled and inspired by all the Holy places they visited and were near to, the choir continued to improve and grow under the steady hand of Maestro Ekaterina Antonenko.

More to share later…..

PaTRAM Institute™ Male Choir Embarks On Epic Rachmaninoff CD Recording and Pilgrimage

After many delays from COVID and other logistical issues over the past 2 years PaTRAM Institute has finally been able to begin their epic recording of Rachmaninoff’s “All Night Vigil” in Jerusalem, Israel. The new arrangement, for male choir, is the first ever recorded.

We will chronicle, in photos and text, on PaTRAM’s website and their social media outlets, the journey that began on June 15th, 2022 in Jerusalem.

After a harrowing day of travel from different cities around the world, all the singers came together in Jerusalem at the Notre Dame Hotel. A beautiful 19-century creation, it stands overlooking Jerusalem with great views of the old city right across the street. The singers and staff all gathered on the rooftop of the hotel with their guide, Fr. Roman Gultaev, who explained all the sites the group was seeing.

After taking photos and getting the lay of the land, the choir boarded a bus and were driven, across the city they just saw from a bird’s-eye view, up to the Mount of Olives where Jesus Himself walked. The group walked the sacred grounds of the Eleon monastery to the Ascension Church deep inside the fenced-in grounds.

The choir and staff were greeted by Archimandrite Roman Krassovsky, who heads the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem (ROCOR). Fr. Roman served a moleben to help the choristers in their quest.

The services were attended by Bishop Theodosy of Seattle and Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan both of whom traveled with the choir to pray for them and to support the mission of PaTRAM.

After the moleben the group was escorted by Father Roman Gultaev to the trapeznaya church just past the Ascension church where they sang the moleben.

The choir was seated in the arranged vocal groupings created by Maestro Ekaterina Antonenko, in her first conducting effort for PaTRAM.

At lunch, the group was visited by the Abbess Varvara in support of their efforts. So, despite the stress and strain of travel the prior day the choir was able to rehearse the full day and at the end of today, tired and hungry, they took the first steps toward a successful recording.

The day ended around 6:30 local time. Sore and tired, the choir diligently cleaned up after themselves, leaving the trapeznaya clean and tidy. They picked up their scores and backpacks and walked back to the waiting bus for the trip back to the Notre Dame to have dinner and relax.

They walked past the Ascension Church, where they will record the CD the following week, once again. The Church shined in its beauty from the top of the Mount of Olives looking over Jerusalem.

More to come tomorrow…

PaTRAM Institute Male Choir™ To Perform and Record Rachmaninoff’s “All-Night Vigil” In the Holy Land



Contact: Alex Milas                                                               FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tel. +1.201.838.7872


Date: 06/01/2022

PaTRAM Institute to Record Next CD in Jerusalem, Israel

Fresh off their latest CD, “More Honorable Than the Cherubim”, PaTRAM Institute™ will record their next CD in the Holy Land in Israel, this summer. The new CD, the “All-Night Vigil” by Sergei Rachmaninoff, will be sung by a 54-member all-male choir. The singers hail from Russia, Serbia, North America, and Australia. Maestro Ekaterina Antonenko, conductor of the Intrada Choir and once described as “the best choir in Moscow”, will conduct the ensemble, which will sing the first-ever arrangement of the piece for an all-male choir, with Igor Morozov and Evgeny Kachurovsky, as the featured soloists.

The PaTRAM Institute Male Choir™ will be in Jerusalem for rehearsals from June 15th-18th. The Choir will perform Rachmaninoff’s piece, in concert, on June 18th at the Notre Dame Concert Hall, in Jerusalem, and at the Nazareth Salesian Church, in Nazareth, on June 19th. Before embarking on the recording, the Choir and clergy will visit various Holy Sites around Galilee for a couple of days. The new CD will be recorded from June 22nd thru June 25th, at the Church of the Ascension on the Mount of Olives, by multi-Grammy award winning production company, Soundmirror, led by multi-Grammy winning producer Blanton Alspaugh and multi-Grammy winning recording engineer, John Newton.

Officiated by Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan and Bishop Theodosius of Seattle, who are accompanying the PaTRAM Institute All-Male Choir™, and by special permission, the Orthodox members of the choir will sing the morning Liturgy in Bethlehem and the Hierarchical Liturgy on Sunday, June 26th on the Mount of Olives. Then, following the completion of their CD recording on June 25th, the Orthodox members of the choir will sing the Hierarchical Liturgy on Sunday, June 19th at Gethsemane. All of the services will be conducted by Elias Dubelsten, choir director at St Stefan Serbian Orthodox Church in Ottawa, Canada.

Alexis Lukianov, Founder and Chairman of PaTRAM Institute said, “It will be so moving to be in the Holy Land to worship, perform and record Rachmaninoff’s beautiful music in Jerusalem and Gethsemane, as well as to sing and pray at the many sacred sites. This truly promises to be an epic tour for our choir. We are overjoyed and humbled to visit the holiest of holy places.”

About PaTRAM (Patriarch Tikhon Russian American Music Institute)

The mission of PaTRAM Institute™ is to foster the authentic and original splendor of Russian Orthodox choral music together with its astounding spiritual depth, in both the English and Slavonic languages.

PaTRAM Institute performs world-class, professional recordings in unique venues featuring its award-winning international ensembles; distinctive concert performance events; and educational programs.

PaTRAM is a non-profit 501-c3 organization in their 9th year of existence and headquartered in Tiburon, CA.

To learn more visit




PaTRAM™ Stuns with Latest Release “More Honourable than the Cherubim”

Simeon Rusnak, Host of Winnipeg’s Classic 107, interviews PaTRAM Institute Male Choir octavist and Artistic Consultant on the “More Honourable than the Cherubim” recording, Elias Dubelsten.

PaTRAM™ was extremely honored to receive an invitation for an interview on Winnipeg’s Classic 107 broadcast. Classic 107 invitation stated: “Wants Interview. Awesome! It sounds great! The disc is freaking awesome!! Man, those basses!” We had to answer this request, and our own Elias Dubelsten agreed to the interview. Elias is one of the “super basses” on the new release. The uber-low bass singer, also known as an octavist, is a very rare talent, with the ability to sing a full octave below basses, going all the way down to a D1! “More Honourable than the Cherubim” features an unprecedented 9(!) octavists from five countries, making our new release truly unique and noteworthy.

Mr. Rusnak opens with “..PaTRAM is a church choir supergroup…(and) released their latest disc ’More Honourable than the Cherubim‘ in August, much to the awe and delight of choral fans and church music aficionados alike.” PaTRAM is delighted that fans are enjoying our new album!

In this candid interview, Elias Dubelsten shares his unique behind-the-scenes insights and stories about the making of PaTRAM’s new offering. Mr. Dubelsten has participated in four PaTRAM recordings with both the PaTRAM Institute Singers™ (Mixed choir) and the PaTRAM Institute Male Choir™ and offers a unique, singers-point-of-view perspective on what it takes to create a masterpiece.

The host of Classic 107 invites you to “… hear more about the unprecedented number of octavists—exceptionally deep-ranged basses—who came together to add the glorious subterranean rumble to the album; how the Ottawa-based Dubelsten came to join PaTRAM; the special circumstances surrounding the recording of the album in Saratov, Russia; and, more!”

To read the article and view a video of the interview or view on YouTube.

The PaTRAM team invites you to enjoy “More Honourable than the Cherubim”, available on all major music outlets, and “Get your subwoofers ready!” as Mr. Rusnak says!

We love hearing from our supporters and listeners! Please don’t forget to leave a review of PaTRAM’s new album on

Thank you for your continued support.

“It Is Truly Meet”: An Interview with PaTRAM’s Katherine Lukianov

In response to the newest CD from PaTRAM Institute™, “Blessed Art Thou among Women”, interviewed our very own Katya Lukianov, Co-Founder and Artistic Director. is a highly-respected online and hard-copy music magazine that specializes in reporting on classical music. They have published other interviews with PaTRAM™ personnel including Alexis Lukianov (Chairman), Vladimir Gorbik and Peter Jermihov (Conductors). FanFare has also published reviews of all PaTRAM™ CDs including our current one.

We urge you to read this excellent interview by James A. Altena, of, published in their Nov/Dec 2020 (44:2) issue.

This interview is Copyright © 2020 by Fanfare Inc.

“It Is Truly Meet”: An Interview with PaTRAM’s Katherine Lukianov


Back in issue 42:3 (Jan/Feb 2019) I interviewed both Alexis Lukianov, the co-founder, chairman, and CEO of the PaTRAM (Patriarch Tikhon Russian American Music) Institute, and Russian conductor Vladimir Gorbik upon the release of the PaTRAM Institute Singers’ (hereafter PaIS) first CD, Teach Me Thy Statutes. That disc was nominated for a 2019 Grammy for Best Choral recording, and was selected “Record of the Year” for 2018 by MusicWeb International. That was followed in 43:2 by a joint interview with composer Kurt Sander and conductor Peter Jermihov upon the release of the premiere recording by the PaIS of Sander’s The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, which earned a 2020 Grammy nomination for Best Choral Recording. Now, with the release of a third PaIS disc Blessed Art Thou Among Women, I have the privilege of interviewing Katherine (Katya) Lukianov, the Executive Director of the PaTRAM Academy, a program for training conductors and singers of Russian Orthodox liturgical repertoire.

Let me begin, as I did with your husband Alexis two years ago, by asking you to tell us something about yourself. You are not only a pianist and conductor, but also a mechanical engineer—a remarkable and interesting skill set combination. What aspects of your personal and professional background led to your deep involvement with the music of the Russian Orthodox Church?

First of all, thank you for your interest in PaTRAM. I grew up in a musical environment. My mother had a beautiful soprano voice and would perform in concerts, singing Russian folk songs accompanied by a 20-piece balalaika orchestra, in Michigan as well as adjoining states. She was also a conductor in our local Russian Orthodox church and I literally grew up in the choir loft. In retrospect, it is easy to see where my love for Russian Orthodox sacred music came from. I started playing piano at age seven and became a competitive pianist. I subsequently became a church conductor myself over 20 years ago. As for engineering, in middle school I developed a passion and proficiency in math and science, which ultimately led to me becoming a mechanical engineer and working at Boeing, bridging the design-to-manufacture of new airplane models. You are not the first person to comment on the dichotomy of music vs. science in my background. I have a deep passion for both. Engineering allowed me to develop my analytic mind. Interest in music, on the other hand, came from a deep love and passion in my heart for worship through beautiful and prayerful singing.

How did you and Alexis meet and become a couple? How do the two of you work together, both professionally and personally, in his business activities and in PaTRAM?

Alex and I met at age 13, in a Russian-American camp located in upstate New York. We were the best of friends for many years. It took a while for both of us to realize that perhaps it was a very good idea to marry your best friend! In terms of working together, Alex has several business ventures in the works. I do not work with him on business activities. PaTRAM is a different story. Alex handles the strategic side: future plans, determining concert and recording venues, organizing our choirs, event logistics, fundraising, etc. I work on the artistic side to develop themes and repertoire for our CDs. My focus is on the music. We both brainstorm the future of PaTRAM fairly regularly.

In the previous interview, Alexis gave us some basic background to the founding of PaTRAM, which I’d like for you to flesh out further. How did you first come to know about, and become acquainted with, Maestro Vladimir Gorbik, and consequently urge Alexis to meet with him in Russia in 2013? (Readers may be interested to know that I met Maestro Gorbik at orchestral concerts he conducted in New York in 2018 and 2019, and was also his guest for five days in Moscow in January 2019, during which he conducted and made a still to be released recording with his Russian orchestra.)

I had heard about Maestro Gorbik through respected friends involved with Russian Orthodox choral music. In 2013, Vlad Morosan (who runs Musica Russica) considered Maestro Gorbik to be the best current Russian Orthodox sacred choral conductor. My husband was planning a business trip to Moscow at the time and I began urging him to meet with Maestro. He originally resisted, asking me, “What on earth am I going to talk about with a maestro?” Although I did not have a preconceived plan, I felt very strongly that the meeting must take place and that something positive would come out of it. (Maestro Gorbik still refers to me as the heart of PaTRAM for this reason.) After my husband acquiesced, my dear friend Elizabeth Ledkovsky, who had contact with Maestro Gorbik, facilitated the meeting between him and my husband. The trip to Moscow was made during the beginning of Great Lent. For the Orthodox, this Lenten season has many unique services, with much of the associated music and text being of a deeply penitential nature. After attending a service and personally hearing the very prayerful singing at the Representation of the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra, where Maestro Gorbik conducts, my husband and he went out to dinner. That is how the concept of PaTRAM was born—a result of my husband’s brainstorm six-plus years ago!

Alexis mentioned that most of PaTRAM’s operations are funded by the Lukianov Family Foundation. Can you tell us something more about the Foundation, its purposes and activities?

The Lukianov Family Foundation was established for philanthropic purposes by my husband and me several years ago. Our foundation focuses primarily on two goals: supporting our church, and proliferation of the performing arts. In the case of PaTRAM, we achieve both goals by supporting the liturgical arts while helping to improve singing in our church and bringing greater attention to the beauty of Orthodox worship through music.

How did you come to shape PaTRAM’s educational programs? What were the obstacles and opportunities that presented themselves to you in the course of so doing that influence the various directions you have taken?

We began with a heavy focus on positively influencing the competency level of singers from parishes in the USA, which led to several successful singer programs at both OCA [Orthodox Church in America] and ROCOR [Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia] monasteries. We planned our events to coincide with meaningful events already taking place in the monasteries, which facilitated good attendance. In time, it became clear that it would be more impactful to also develop choir conductors, as opposed to just singers. This led to PaTRAM’s Conductor Master Classes and Academies. These classes and academies were developed with input from the three maestro conductors we work with—Vladimir Gorbik, Peter Jermihov, and Benedict Sheehan—and again were well-received programs.

Concurrently, we wanted to record music to showcase a very professional level of execution of prayerfully sung Russian Orthodox music. This led to our CDs, which struck a chord in the larger music community, with two Grammy nominations and critical acclaim. That was a very uplifting and humbling endorsement of our efforts!

I noted on PaTRAM’s website ( that, due to financial and logistical exigencies, the original online training courses offered directly by PaTRAM have been discontinued in favor of PaTRAM acting as a liaison to put students in contact with approved instructors for individualized one-on-one training. How has that shift worked out?

It was challenging to coordinate classes with a wide range of participants (Matushkas [wives of priests—Ed.], students, and singers who held other jobs) with different schedules and different needs. We also needed a minimum number in order to make the classes financially viable. As a result, we decided that the one-on-one training would be a better model (less expensive and with more direct revenue going to the teacher), and so we decided to facilitate the connection between student and teacher without being an intermediary.

Alexis also mentioned the use of Skype for conducting online courses. Have Zoom and other technologies been adopted as well, and if so, how are those being employed?

When we taught online classes with several students, we used an Adobe platform. With one-on-one lessons we leave the platform to the discretion of the teacher and student.

I likewise note that, regrettably but understandably, the annual in-person PaTRAM Institute Summer Academy at the ROCOR cathedral of St. Alexander Nevsky in Howell, NJ had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. What has been the impact of the pandemic and concomitant lockdown on PaTRAM, and also on the conduct of worship services and other activities at St. Alexander Nevsky?

We have been affected by the COVID pandemic in the same way as many others. In-person events have been cancelled to support the health and safety of all involved. We continue to keep a close eye on the pandemic level while still continuing to plan future events. We had planned to record our new CD of Rachmaninoff’s Vigil, sung by a large male choir, in Moscow this year but had to delay it until 2021.

The impact on St. Alexander Nevsky at the height of the lockdown was significant, as it was on many churches. Most services were performed by a skeleton crew, with those services being livestreamed. Personally, I felt the biggest negative effect was the limited attendance during the Great Lent season, which is a critical and spiritually edifying part of the annual church cycle. As mentioned previously, Great Lent is a time of great penitence, with fasting from certain foods, and increased prayer and church attendance, in preparation for the joyous resurrection of Jesus Christ on Pascha Sunday. I greatly missed the benefit of in-person church services this year due to COVID. Of course, this impacted our church (as well as all others) financially as well, which has presented its own challenges for more fundraising.

How would you describe your specific activities with the PaTRAM Institute? What—if indeed there is such a thing—is a typical workday like for you?

There are various projects I am working on from the musical side, from recordings to concerts to tours. I work on PaTRAM part-time, and my hours greatly vary with the projects at hand, which now also entail converting a local orthodox choir in Pompano Beach, FL to a professional level under the auspices of PaTRAM support. I largely work remotely anywhere from several hours per day to marathon days as the need demands.

As a teacher, what do you consider to be the most important information, techniques, and values that you attempt to communicate to your students, and what are your chief pedagogical methods for so doing?

Personally, I rarely teach, other than to develop my own choir now at St. Luke’s Orthodox Church. My job is to establish standards for what we strive to relay in every educational endeavor, which is how to accomplish prayerful singing. Overall, this involves tone quality, diction, and singing together as an ensemble, with good and appropriate dynamics.

We offer musicianship as well as singing techniques to our students during our classes. This is critical to helping to move the students forward. The additional specific elements we do teach are established by coordination between myself, the faculty, and the conductors, based on common gaps they encounter in their work with many various singers and choirs. I am happy to say, we have been blessed to have outstanding faculty at all of our events—true experts in Orthodox sacred choral music and singing!

Since PaTRAM is still a fairly young operation, this next question may be a bit premature, but I’ll ask it anyway. What concrete impact has PaTRAM had to date in its stated goal of elevating the quality of choir singing in Russian Orthodox parishes in the USA? Do you have any sort of objective metrics for assessing that impact beyond the testimony of parish choir directors, clergy, and parishioners around the country?

I would say that up to this point we have relied on the testimony of participants in our programs. We polished the questions in our feedback questionnaire to identify the pros and cons of our programs, and adjusted them accordingly. Most of the feedback has been very positive.

We recently sponsored a young conductor to receive a series of conducting lessons with Benedict Sheehan. PaTRAM will be showcasing his very positive experience online in the near future. In addition, I have taken on conducting the choir at our local parish. We plan to also document the tangible progress in this process.

My next question may be counterintuitive, but again I’ll ask it. Have you folks ever run into any opposition to your training efforts—e.g., insistence that standards of choir singing in a particular parish are already good enough, or that your program has the effect of excluding from choirs enthusiastic and devout parishioners who can’t meet your standards? If so, how do you work with such situations?

As is to be expected, we have found various reactions to our training efforts. Some parishes already offer basic training, so they strive to implement their own programs to meet their own standards. Some attend other programs, such as the Synodal School of Liturgical Music, held at the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY. But those who have chosen to attend our programs have gone so far as to say it was the best experience they have ever had!

Concerning the second part of your question, the interesting thing about Maestro Gorbik is that he started his choir with approximately 75 percent non-professional singers. Over time he brought them up to a professional level. So, teaching singers how to sing prayerfully at a high level is the foundation of PaTRAM.

Let’s turn attention to the PaTRAM Institute Singers’ new release, Blessed Art Thou Among Women, devoted to hymnody and service music glorifying the Theotokos (literally, “God-Bearer”), the Virgin Mary. Why was this focus chosen, as opposed to one on, say, the Trinity, or the Incarnation or Resurrection of Christ?

One of my favorite feasts is the Dormition of the Mother of God. Also, as a mother, I ask the Virgin Mary to pray for me to be a better wife and mother, and to watch over my children with her prayers. In fact, I once had a miraculous answer to one of my petitions to her. So, it was very easy to gravitate towards using the Theotokos as a theme for our CD due to my love for her.

How would you explain the role that veneration of the Theotokos plays in Orthodox worship and devotions, especially in liturgical music? How is that distinct from its Roman Catholic counterpart?

I would say that the liturgical emphasis on the Theotokos is much greater than I have seen in my limited exposure to Catholicism. The Theotokos, or Mother of God, plays a very important role in the Orthodox faith and is venerated in song during every liturgy and several times throughout the course of all vigils. As a result of her prominent role in Orthodoxy, there is a huge and diversified repertoire of Russian Orthodox chants and music written to honor her. In fact, our entire church calendar starts and ends around two of her major feasts—The Nativity of the Theotokos in September and her Dormition in August (the annual Church calendar begins on September 1).

There are also multiple representations of her in icons, often relating to her motherhood portrayed tenderly embracing her Son, so Orthodox mothers in particular are often drawn to venerating her, that is to asking for her intercessory prayers. One of the very popular hymns on our recent CD, We Have No Other Hope Than Thee, underscores how important the Theotokos is as an intercessor for the Russian people.

What were your criteria for selecting the particular works featured on this recording, out of a great many settings that might have been chosen?

Naturally, there are various levels of complexity in music written for church services. Some pieces are simpler (but still beautiful) chants. Others are complex musical works. For this CD, a variety of pieces was chosen to showcase the different styles of Russian Orthodox music that developed over many years, incorporating composers ranging from the late 1600s to the 20th century. Some of the pieces are commonly used in liturgical services, some have rarely been heard, others are considered concert pieces and are not typically sung in church services. A few of the pieces are the same prayers, set to music by different composers who lived at different times. We wanted to bring the depth and beauty of varying musical styles within Russian Orthodoxy to the listener’s awareness.

Have you ever had an occasion where a choir member was not responsive (for whatever reason) to a particular selection? If so, how have you addressed and resolved that issue?

Perhaps we have been blessed, but no, I have not encountered this. Of course, everyone has a personal taste in music, but when the choir comes together, we all know we have a common mission, and everyone strives to execute to his or her peak ability.

How has your work dovetailed with that of Peter Jermihov, the conductor in this recording? Have you and he ever found that each of you wanted something different in some aspect of the choir’s singing, and if so how has that been worked out?

I have the utmost respect for Maestro Peter Jermihov as a maestro and musician. He feels the music deep in his soul, and conducts with such talent and expertise! On the occasions when we have had differing opinions, we have always worked through them to find a meaningful compromise.

Another—hopefully temporary—casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic is postponement from 2020 to 2021 of a planned concert tour and associated recording by the PaIS featuring that summit of Russian Orthodox sacred music, the All-Night Vigil (Vespers) of Rachmaninoff. While I look forward to all this eagerly, the question inevitably arises: Given that there are already a plethora of fine recordings of this work, including the highly acclaimed recent one by Peter Jermihov with Gloriae Cantores Dei, what unique contribution does PaTRAM hope to offer here that justifies adding yet another version to the catalog?

I agree with the high acclaim for Jermihov’s recording with Gloriae Cantores Dei. In fact, my husband and I were part of the PaTRAM choir for that recording and PaTRAM was one of the sponsors of the recording.

We will record Rachmaninoff’s Vigil with an all-male choir, which is a unique contribution in and of itself, with somewhat unique arrangements. This masterpiece will be conducted by Maestro Gorbik, who himself is Russian and steeped in Russian choral music. He did such a beautiful job on our first CD, Teach Me Thy Statutes, which was nominated for a Grammy. We are confident that he and the choir, which we expect to be over 50 voices strong, will do a stellar job once again.

Another PaTRAM event, still listed for February 2021, is the world premiere in Moscow of Russian Cross with acclaimed Russian stage and film star Yevgeni Mironov. What more can you tell us about this planned event?

We are in the middle of planning an international concert in Moscow on February 8, 2021. This will be a joint production and world premiere of Russki Krest (Russian Cross) with critically acclaimed movie star Yevgeni Mironov of Russia. This concert will consist of Mr. Mironov reading the poem “Russki Krest,” written by Nikolai Melnikov, with our PaTRAM choir singing interspersed hymns that support the poem. It’s a very deep and moving work. We will perform at Zaradiye, a brand-new, state-of-the-art hall, that is just outside of the Kremlin. All proceeds from the concert will go to support Life in Motion, a not-for-profit organization that provides prosthetic limbs to Russian children.

This leads me to reprise a question I asked in my interview with Alexis. Have increased political tensions between the USA and Russia (in addition to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic) created obstacles for the realization of this project, such as difficulty in obtaining visas?

We have never had difficulties obtaining visas for our singers and staff in the past. No one has ever been denied entry into Russia. However, due to the pandemic, the Russian Consulate has been closed for months. Therefore, visa applications are not being accepted, and visas are not being granted. It remains unclear when the Russian Consulate will open and begin accepting visa applications once again.

What other plans do you and PaTRAM have on the drawing board, once the pandemic finally passes?

Besides planning to record the CD of Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil with our male choir and the Russki Krest world premiere, we are also planning a series of concerts and singing of orthodox services in 2021. These will likely take place in Serbia as well as in Romania and Bulgaria in mid-2021. Additionally, we are cultivating our plans in 2022 and 2023 for additional recordings and concert tours.

What do you see the focus of PaTRAM being in the next few years?

As mentioned, we have stepped back from providing online education, but will continue to help to facilitate it. There are many other organizations that offer similar educational programs, and we would rather channel our resources into concerts and professional development to help proliferate the beauty of Russian Orthodox music.

We are planning an album dedicated to the music of Archimandrite Matfei (1938–2009), an hieromonk and legendary choirmaster from Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra Monastery, who is credited with maintaining Russian choral traditions from pre-revolutionary times through decades of persecution to the present day. That liturgical tradition has had a large impact on Orthodox music and is now widespread throughout Russia and the rest of the world. We hope to record at the Dormition Cathedral at the Lavra—the same place where Fr. Matfei conducted and worshipped.

Another highly influential component in the development of Russian Orthodox liturgical music was the Moscow Synodal School. Before the 1917 Revolution it was the musical nucleus, but was dissolved in 1919 by the atheistic government. Many of the faculty were then merged into the Moscow Conservatory, but the proliferation of Synodal music by its many illustrious composers was over. Many of these directors and faculty members were very accomplished composers like Kastalsky and Viktor Kalinnikov. From this school came many renowned students and alumni such as Rachmaninoff, Grechaninov, Shvedov, etc. It would be appropriate to honor all of them with a compilation of their works.

So, you see, there is still much more work to be done by the PaTRAM Institute to propagate Russian Orthodox music, performed at the highest levels without a hint of accent, in a prayerful manner in unique church venues, to the glory of God!

BLESSED ART THOU AMONG WOMEN  Peter Jermihov, cond; Fotina Naumenko1,5, Alexandra Olsavsky6 (sop); Lauren McAllister6 (mez); Pavel Murashka7, Daniel Shirley6, Sergei Tkachenko7 (ten); Leonid Roschko2,7 (bar); Michael Hawes6 (bbar); Alexis Lukianov3,7, Glenn Miller4 (basso profundo); PaTRAM Institute Singers  REFERENCE 737 (79:11 Text and Translation)

BORTNIANSKY Today the Virgin Gives Birth. Beneath Thy Compassion. KASTALSKY Today the Virgin Gives Birth. Rejoice, O Queen. TITOV O Virgin Unwedded. SVIRIDOV 1A Hymn of Praise to the Mother of God. P. CHESNOKOV 2O Most Holy Theotokos, Save Us. 3Memory Eternal. ZHELUDKOV 4Do Not Lament Me, O Mother. RACHMANINOFF The Theotokos, Who Is Ever-Vigilant in Prayer. VIKTOR KALINNIKOV Virgin Theotokos, Rejoice. N. TCHEREPNIN Virgin Theotokos, Rejoice. It Is Truly Meet. GRETCHANINOV It Is Truly Meet. DANILIN All of Creation Rejoices in Thee. A. CHESNOKOV Do Not Lament Me, O Mother. LEDKOVSKY 5The Angel Cried Out. ILYASHENKO The Mystery of God from All Eternity. LVOVSKY O Ye Apostles, Assembled Here. MATVEYEV 6Magnification for the Icon “Joy of All the Sorrowful.” TOLSTIAKOV With the Voice of the Archangel. To Thee, the Victorious Leader. NIKOLSKY To Thee, the Victorious Leader. ANONYMOUS 7In the Flesh Thou Didst Fall Asleep

This interview is Copyright © 2020 by Fanfare Inc.