PaTRAM™ Returns From Successful Recording Trip in Saratov, Russia

The PaTRAM Institute Male Choir recently returned from Saratov, Russia, where they recorded the next CD to be released on the Reference Recording label, More Honorable Than the Cherubim. Release date is TBA for 2021.

The new CD is a compendium of hymns to the Theotokos, performed by a fifty-six member male choir. The choir was directed by Grammy nominated Maestro Vladimir Gorbik. The singers hailed from Russia, Serbia, North America, and Australia. Michael Davydov was the featured soloist and the choir featured an unprecedented ten oktavists! Click here to listen to the choir during rehearsal and see more of the gorgeous Nikolsky Monastery.

The first day of rehearsal began with a Moleben at the seminary church in Saratov. The Associate Producers also spent the day watching the choir rehearse. Later that evening, the Kursk Root Icon arrived in Saratov with Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan. The PaTRAM Institute Male Choir sang at the Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral to greet the Icon as it arrived. Click here to watch and hear our choir. There was then a Moleben and Akathist at the Cathedral in honor of the Kursk Root Icon. Click here to watch the service and listen to our choir!

On the second day of recording, the PaTRAM Institute Male Choir continued rehearsal at Nikolsky Monastery. While the choir rehearsed, our Associate Producers enjoyed an all-day tour of churches and other points of interest in Saratov.

Our third day of rehearsal on Thursday, August 22nd culminated with a press conference and concert at the Saratov Conservatory. It was an evening to remember! The concert set a record for attendance and included the governor and minister of culture. Bishop Nicholas, carrying the Kursk Root Icon and accompanied by Metropolitan Longin, led the procession into the standing room only auditorium. The hierarchs, and the 1,000+ people in attendance, then witnessed a riveting performance culminating with an encore and standing ovation.

Click here to check out an article about our trip to Saratov that was posted to the Saratov Minister of Culture website.

The next day, the choir then began the professional recording of the new CD with multi-GRAMMY Award-winning production company, Sound Mirror. PaTRAM partnered with Blanton Alspaugh and John Newton of Sound Mirror on our last two CDs, including the Grammy-nominated Teach Me Thy Statutes. It was wonderful to work with them again toward what we hope will be a world-class Disc which showcases the beauty of Russian choral music.

On Sunday the 25th, the PaTRAM Institute Male Choir sang during the Hierarchical service that was held at the Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral in the presence of the Kursk Root Icon. Metropolitan Longin acknowledged the group and awarded medals of the 1st order to Alexis and Katya Lukianov and Vladimir Gorbik; orders of the 2nd order to John Newton and Blanton Alspaugh of SoundMirror; 3rd order awards to Alex Milas, Tatiana Geringer, Natalia Prokopeca, and Andrei Zemtsov; and Gramotas to Andrei Chervikov, Leann Alspaugh, Oleg Guskov, and Michael Shoshin. Afterwards our group enjoyed a celebratory luncheon with Metropolitan Longin.

Click here to listen to the choir singing during the service.

From there, our group enjoyed a day of relaxation and fun on the Volga River. A boat ride took the group to a relaxing banya, dinner, ad hoc volleyball games, and swim in the beautiful Volga. It was a wonderful day and many new friendships were cemented!

On Monday, it was back to work for the final day of recording for the new CD. You can hear how fantastic the choir sounds by listening to these clips (here and here)! It was overall a very successful experience and we can’t wait to share the CD with you in the near future. PaTRAM was even featured on the local news in Saratov!

Following the final day of recording, many of the singers and support staff began to make their way back home, but some remained to celebrate the Feast of the Dormition. Eleven remaining members of the PaTRAM Institute Male Choir sang with the local choir during the Hierarchical Dormition vigil, which was celebrated by Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan with the Wonderworking Kursk Root icon at the Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral. While it was in Russia, more than 18,000 people came to venerate the Icon! We were blessed to have it traveling with us.

Alongside the tremendous effort of the choir, we also had our Associate Producers traveling with us as they enjoyed the Ultimate Russia Insider Experience! The Associate Producers arrived in Moscow a few days before the choir met in Saratov to rehearse and record the new CD.

On their first night in Moscow the Associate Producers were treated to cocktails and dinner on the roof of the Ritz Carlton, overlooking Red Square. The next day, Saturday, they enjoyed a VIP tour of Red Square, the Kremlin, and the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. They also experienced a traditional Russian banya at the Sanduni Banya. In the evening, the group had dinner at the White Rabbit, one of the best restaurants in the world with breath-taking views of the city!

On the second full day in Moscow, we began with our choir singing the Liturgy at Podvorye in the morning with our Associate Producers in attendance. The Associate Producers then had lunch at Genatsvale, a wonderful Georgian Restaurant. From there they were treated to a Moscow riverboat excursion and then a tour around the city before dinner.

While in Saratov, the Associate Producers continued to enjoy the VIP experience with exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the choir, front-row seats at our concert at the Saratov Conservatory, and tours around the city. If you are interested in the VIP Russia Experience stay tuned for how you can support PaTRAM during the recording of our next CD! All of our recording projects are generously funded by donors like you and we would love to have you involved in the process.

St. Tikhon’s Monastery Memorial Day Pilgrimage 2019

PaTRAM™ was the proud sponsor of several events at the recent St. Tikhon’s Monastery Memorial Day Pilgrimage! We sponsored the weekend choir festival and the World Premiere performance of Benedict Sheehan’s “Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom,” which was commissioned by PaTRAM in 2015. Here is the choir performing Praise the Lord from the Heavens, under the direction of Maestro Benedict Sheehan, during the Liturgy Concert on May 26th. The soloist is Countertenor, Timothy Parsons.


Memorial Day Choir Concert video



Remembering Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov – One Year Anniversary


Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov, was the father of PaTRAM™ Institute’s CEO, Alex Lukianov, and a leading voice in the Russian Orthodox church. He reposed to the Lord on May 25th, 2018. This video commemorates the one year anniversary of his passing. Memory Eternal.

Father Valery video

Score for the “The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom” Now Available

The score for Kurt Sander’s “The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom” is now available from Musica Russica!

From Music Russica:

“Kurt Sander’s Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom is the first complete setting of the Orthodox Liturgy in English composed in the Slavic choral idiom. Commissioned in 2016 by the Patriarch Tikhon Russian-American Music Institute (PaTRAM™), it follows in the great tradition similar works by Tchaikovsky, Gretchaninoff, and Rachmaninoff. At the same time, Sander’s masterful score breaks new ground: It employs a richness of modal harmony and sonority that places it definitively in the 21st century; it is built upon musical themes that are recognizably “American,” yet have an objective and universal quality to them; and it utilizes those distinctive motives to achieve a degree of thematic unity never previously heard in an Orthodox sacred choral work. In short, this work is a first-rate example of Orthodox liturgical creativity in the present day—achieving a remarkable blend of the traditional and the contemporary.

The release of the published score coincides with a splendid premiere recording by the PaTRAM Institute Singers, under the direction of Peter Jermihov. The choir brings together some of the finest professional vocal talent on the North American continent, singing in the gratifying acoustics of the New Gracanica Serbian Orthodox Monastery near Chicago, and superbly recorded by the multi-Grammy-award-winning firm of Sound Mirror, Blanton Alspaugh, Producer. Both the recording and the score represent a significant milestone not just in the realm of Orthodox liutrgical music, but sacred choral music in general.”


Click Here to Purchase the Score

Easter Greetings from PaTRAM™

The PaTRAM Institute would like to wish all of our subscribers, patrons and friends a blessed and bright Easter.

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

PaTRAM™ Institute wishes all our friends peace in celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord.

May you all find happiness in the New Year!

Thank you for your support.

The First PaTRAM™ Summer Academy – A Resounding Success!

From June 21 to 24, the PaTRAM Institute held its first Summer Academy for Conductors and Singers on the beautiful campus of the Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey.

The event consolidated PaTRAM Institute’s summer programs over the past four years under a single, multi-faceted program and succeeded in bringing together

a multitude of church musicians from various backgrounds all under the guidance of an outstanding international faculty.

Father David Straut

The attendees and faculty members arrived in the afternoon of June 20th. That evening, Archpriest David Straut, Pastor of St. Elizabeth the New Martyr Orthodox Church in Rocky Hill, NJ, served a Moleben Before the Start of a Good Endeavor at which the participants sang the responses.



Prior to the Service, Artistic Director of the Academy–Dr. Peter Jermihov, auditioned all the Academy Choir Members to determine how they would best fit into the program he designed for the Academy.

The Academy was structured around three curriculum tracks: for Advanced Conductors, for Beginner & Intermediate Conductors, and for Singers. Each track was taught by two faculty members specializing in that particular area of instruction.


Dr. Nicholas Reeves

The entire program was integrated with instruction in Musicianship and Score Analysis, taught by Dr. Nicholas Reeves, composer and theorist, longtime faculty member of the PaTRAM Institute, and university professor at Adelphi University. The Academy is built around the concept of making studies in Musicianship the foundation of any performance application.



Each stream had its own breakout sessions. The Advanced Conductors were taught by Dr. Jermihov and Dr. Tamara Petijevic, a master conductor and teacher from Serbia, and were given up to three hours of individual podium time.


Generous podium time, intensive feedback from the master-teachers, and the opportunity to experience cause-and-effect relationships between hand movement and singers’ response is what serious conductors desire most and this is exactly what the Academy was able to offer. In addition to this unique feature, The Academy Choir–a chamber choir consisting of professional singers and qualified vocalists from the list of Academy participants–served as the conductors’ “practice instrument,” thus giving the student conductors not only a choir to work with but an ensemble of competent singers who were able to accurately respond to every gesture and nuance. This was a productive and joyful journey that allowed the Advanced Conductors, in the context of a supportive community, to experience tremendous growth and expansion of self-awareness.

Dr. Irina Riazanova

The Beginner and Intermediate Conductors were taught by Dr. Irina Riazanova and Benedict Sheehan. This track focused on basic conducting technique and the development of a conducting apparatus–proper posture, hand and arm position, and focused movement–to facilitate all the various types of articulations from espressivo legato to marcato.

Benedict Sheehan

This intensive training, both in group and one-on-one sessions, allowed the students to identify their individual strengths and weaknesses and then focus on the development of desired skills throughout the year; in a sense, the process was at once diagnostic and prescriptive. Participants of this track were also given the opportunity to sit in the singers’ sessions, thus expanding their knowledge of solid vocal technique, and in the Advanced Conductor sessions, thus witnessing the full application of conducting technique precepts. Some student conductors were given podium time with the Academy Choir and the privilege of directing hymns in the Divine Services at the end of the Academy.

Laryssa Doohovskoy

The Singers’ track was led by Laryssa Doohovskoy and Talia-Maria Sheehan–both outstanding and highly experienced vocalists and teachers. The sessions for this track included lectures on vocal anatomy–vital information on the physiology of the human voice that is often neglected in vocal pedagogy contexts–and extensive vocal training in group and individual lessons.

Maria Sheehan

The sheer length of Orthodox Divine Services places inordinate demands on the human voice, and it was the objective of the Academy to help students establish proper vocal habits, in some cases correct bad habits, and, most importantly, provide a model by which singers can function throughout the year; this objective in all of its facets was admirably accomplished. Some of the students were given the opportunity to sing in the Academy Choir and apply their newly-acquired skills and awareness in a competent choir and to respond with sensitivity and appropriate technique to the gestures and requests of the conductors.

Father Sergius Bowyer

In addition to the practical, skill acquisition-based instruction, Academy participants heard dynamic lecture presentations by Father Sergius Bowyer, Abbot of St. Tikhon Monastery in Pennsylvania, and Father Alexander Webster, Ph.D., Dean and Professor of Moral Theology at Holy Trinity Seminary in New York.

Father Alexander Webster


These presentations opened our eyes to the possibilities church musicians have in leading and inspiring worshippers to comprehend the salvific content of Orthodox hymnography. Dr. Petijevic delivered a lecture on liturgical traditions Kosovo, Serbia, as well as her activities with her liturgical choirs. On Friday, at the end of the second day of the Academy, all the participants and instructors sat in the round and shared their trials and tribulations; this sharing allowed everyone to acknowledge mutual challenges and ways to overcome them.

Photo courtesy of Eastern Archdiocese

The Academy culminated in the celebration of two Divine Services at the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Howell, New Jersey–the All-Night Vigil on Saturday evening and the Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning. Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, presided.



Photo courtesy of Eastern Archdiocese


The right kleros was led by esteemed conductor–Maestro Vladimir Gorbik from Moscow, Russia; this was a special treat for all present as we heard the resident St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral Male Choir sing the responses with beauty and impeccable delivery of the words.

Photo courtesy of Eastern Archdiocese


The left kleros was led by the Advanced Conductors of the Academy, who had the chance to apply all that they learned in an actual worship experience, while the Academy Choir sung the responses. It was a glorious celebration, indeed, as we witnessed Orthodox worship and hymnography in their full splendor. At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Hilarion addressed the faithful from the ambo and emphasized the importance of beautiful liturgical singing in worship and, to that end, the tireless and outstanding work performed by the PaTRAM Institute.

The Academy ended with a festive banquet in the Church Hall with all the clergy and the faithful; Metropolitan Hilarion and the full faculty headed by Dr. Jermihov and Katya Lukianov–Executive Director of the Academy–presented the participants with certificates of completion of the Academy and heartfelt congratulations.

As described earlier, many objectives were realized with respect to process and product. Feedback from the students, faculty members, and clergy continues to pour in. Extraordinary praise and enthusiasm center around the outstanding level of instruction, detailed attention on skill acquisition, and the resulting personal growth and inspiration. Many have expressed the desire to repeat enrollment in the Academy next year and offered the suggestion to expand the Academy to a full week-long learning experience.

Photo courtesy of Eastern Archdiocese

From all personnel, facets, and perspectives, the Academy was, indeed, a resounding success. Praise be to God for all good things and may everyone continue to sing to the Glory of God and to serve the Church with diligent preparation and humility!

Easter Greetings from PaTRAM

The PaTRAM Institute would like to wish all of our subscribers, patrons and friends a blessed and bright Easter.

Registration Opens for PaTRAM Institute Summer Academy for Conductors and Singers

The PaTRAM Institute Summer Academy is now open for registration.

The Academy will take place at the Princeton Theological Seminary on the beautiful campus of Princeton University.

Featuring an outstanding faculty of specialists in conducting, vocal technique and liturgical music, the Academy is conceived to provide intensive development of skills in musicianship, conducting and singing for the advanced, intermediate and beginner church musician. The curriculum will include master classes in conducting, group and individual voice lessons, lectures, presentations by Orthodox clergy, repertoire sessions and a professional “practice choir” for the conductors, all culminating in Divine Services at the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Howell, New Jersey.

Take advantage of this unique and truly exciting event and bring your skills to a new level!

For more information click here.

PaTRAM Institute Hosts Maestros and Producers Dinner

Beautiful Miami Beach was the setting for PaTRAM Institute’s Maestros and Producers Dinner on Friday November 10th 2017. Guests were treated to cocktails overlooking the pool and ocean at the exclusive Loew’s Miami Beach hotel. The $500 per plate dinner was held to raise funds for PaTRAM Institute’s upcoming recording of the “Dormition Hymns” CD that will be recorded in August of 2018 at the St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral in Howell, NJ.


After cocktails, guests sat down for a gourmet dinner in the hotel’s Preston Room and PaTRAM’s CEO, Alex Lukianov, kicked off a program that saw presentations by Maestro Steven Fox, Maestro Dr. Peter Jermihov and PaTRAM’s own Katya Lukianov.


Mr. Fox, the Artistic Director of the Clarion Choir and close collaborator with PaTRAM, presented his recollections of his Choir’s epic, Grammy-nominated CD “Passion Week”. The discussion included interesting facts about the piece’s history and the techniques used in performing and recording it. Mr. Fox recently accepted a directorship with the Cathedral Choral Society in Washington, DC.


Dr. Jermihov, PaTRAM’s senior faculty member and choir director, presented details and facts about his recent, highly acclaimed recording of Rachmaninoff’s “All Night Vigil”. He also shared his observations about the soon-to-be released PaTRAM recording of “Teach Me Thy Statutes” (conducted by Maestro Vladimir Gorbik, also a PaTRAM faculty member and conductor), which was recorded in Saratov, Russia in 2016. Dr. Jermihov concluded his presentation with sneak previews of the upcoming PaTRAM recording of “The Divine Liturgy of St. John of Chrysostom”, an English language liturgy put to original music written by the renowned composer and scholar, Dr. Kurt Sander, and conducted by Dr. Jermihov.


Mrs. Lukianov, closed the evening’s program with her presentation on the history and background of the Dormition Hymns, what they mean to her and why the decision was made, by PaTRAM, to engage in recording such a deeply emotional and soulful piece of music.



Mr. Lukianov closed the evening by presenting the guests with unique opportunities to become part of the production team for the upcoming recording of the “Dormition Hymns” CD. All were invited to join Mr. and Mrs. Lukianov and the maestros outside on the deck to indulge in aperitifs and cigars from Mr. Lukianov’s private collection.

The event raised over $35,000! Thank you to all of PaTRAM’s generous supporters!


The Miami Ball. A Russian Cultural Event. A Rousing Success!

On November 11, 2016, the Ritz Carlton Hotel in South Beach opened its doors to the First Annual Miami Ball,

“A Russian Cultural Event”!

15129455_571963896342093_1804300951130918834_oThe event was a fundraiser co-hosted by two non-profit organizations, the Patriarch Tikhon Russian-American Music Institute (PaTRAM) and the Prince Vladimir Youth Association (PVYA). Both organizations are deeply committed to our youth maintaining and expanding their cultural, artistic, philanthropic and religious interests.


15111002_571963903008759_7549146242086804801_oThis black tie/evening gown affair featured cocktails, dinner, entertainment and dancing, was everything a night out could possibly provide. The Miami Ball was attended by almost 200 people including clergy from the local Orthodox parishes and His Grace, Bishop Nicholai of Manhattan.


The evening began with a red carpet photo session as each patron was ushered over to the press wall and photographed, sometimes with their spouse, sometimes with their friends and sometimes solo. The resulting photos reflected the joyful beginning to the night’s event.



After the photos, patrons were escorted to their respective cocktail hours.

For VIPs, there was a special, pool side reception held outdoors overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The evening was a bit balmy but not enough to matter to any of the VIPs as they sipped Beluga vodka shots, cocktails and enjoyed caviar and sturgeon provided by the Tsar Nicoulai Caviar Company, the Miami Ball’s exclusive provider of these fantastic delicacies. Xenia Maximova, the Tsar Nicoulai representative (and guest of the Miami Ball), served these exclusive and tasty dishes to all the attending VIPs. Delicious!


Ms. Maximova even took the time to explain to the VIPs the different ways to enjoy these products and the condiments that accompanied them.

img_3947Meanwhile, the remaining patrons assembled in the foyer of the Ballroom to enjoy their cocktails of vodka, other varieties of spirits, wine and beer. The wine, provided by another sponsor, Lot 18, was delicious and served a white blend called “Docheri”, meaning “daughters” in Russian, and even had the famous Russian nesting dolls on the label which really added to the Russian theme of the evening. Tsar Nicoulai provided caviar for this cocktail hour as well which was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.


As the cocktail hours ended, everyone moved to the ballroom, as the Barynya band played, and settled into their table assignments for dinner.


img_4065 After everyone was seated, the Emcees introduced the two organizations and their histories. Once completed the entertainment began.


First to perform was Tonia Cianciulli, an accomplished opera singer who also has performed popular music and is a composer in her own right. Ms. Cianciulli performed superbly, acknowledged by the audience in rousing applause. Ms. Cianciulli was joined by Anna Bateman and the two singers performed a duet to close that segment of the entertainment.

15111024_571963556342127_3425310723795884026_oAfter the arias, Bishop Nicholai led the room in prayer and gave his blessing before the meal. As the dinner continued so did the entertainment when the Barynya dancers took to the floor and gave a sensational performance of traditional Russian music and dance replete with traditional Russian costumes.


15110295_571963683008781_6019350372315291279_oimg_4208When the audience settled down from Barynya’s exciting dancing, the Emcees introduced another Miami Ball sponsor, Mr. Mark Pugachev, representing Pugachev Concierge Services. This generous sponsor contributed a door prize of a day’s outing for four on a 70-foot yacht (valued at $7000). Mr. Pugachev was asked to pick a table number out of a hat. The chair at the winning table, denoted by a red dot placed on the back of one chair, was Table 6. The lucky chair belonged to Irina Jermihov to whom Mr. Pugachev presented the prize.


Next came the leaders of the host organizations. PVYA’s Chairman and co-Founder, Father Andrei Sommer’s presentation was first. Regrettably, Father Andrei was unable to attend due to illness. He was instead represented by PVYA’s Vice-President and Secretary, Eli Shikaloff who gave a heartfelt speech wishing Father Andrei well and presenting the efforts of PVYA and how they work with youth and the community.


Following Mr. Shikaloff, the Emcees introduced Alexis Lukianov, Chairman, CEO and co-Founder of PaTRAM. Using accompanying slides on two large screens, Mr. Lukianov described to the audience what PaTRAM’s mission entails, a short review of accomplishments and PaTRAM’s future aims.


Mr. Lukianov mentioned the efforts of PaTRAM to help singers and conductors which perfectly segued into Mr. Lukianov introducing the highlight entertainment of the evening, the PaTRAM choir.

img_4231Before joining the Choir as an octavist, Mr. Lukianov introduced Dr. Peter Jermihov, the conductor of the Choir. Maestro Jermihov led the choir through their repertoire with efficiency and grace.

15123035_571963913008758_1781913988745392448_oThe musical depth of the choir was obvious and the sound clear and bright. Soloists, Fotina Naumenko (soprano) and Pavel Roudenko (bass), both sang beautifully. But the most amazing thing about this Choir’s performance is that they had ONE single rehearsal together earlier that day. One!


The audience was enthralled and could never tell that this performance resulted from so little rehearsing. Many of these singers honed their skills using PaTRAM’s training resources, so there is a lot to be proud of.


After the Choir’s performance, there was more dancing from Barynya and then came a performance by the VK dancers. This world-renowned dance troupe wowed the audience with their expert execution of tangos and other Latin-based ballroom dancing. VK clearly inspired the audience because their performance segued beautifully into the final stage of the evening, dancing!



There were press reporters present from Miami Me Magazine, Voice of America(Miami) and other news outlets who did stories and interviews about the evening.


Photographers and videographers were recording the events throughout the night and the social networks were abuzz with commentary about the Ball.


All in all, everyone who attended confirmed that the evening was exciting and fun. As Alex Lukianov had mentioned in one of his interviews, “mark November 10th, next year. The Miami Ball will be bigger and better!”




img_4447View the full album of the Miami Ball here.