The Future of Sacred Music – One Man’s Story


There are standouts in every profession. But how does a person like this come about in the space we refer to as “sacred music”. As part of our effort to pass on the prayerful creation of Orthodox sacred music, PaTRAM™ is always looking for diamonds in the rough. When PaTRAM discovers someone who has the devotion, dedication, and talent to become exceptional, it is incumbent on PaTRAM to do all we can to help such people grow into world-class musicians.

Introducing Nektary Kotlaroff, who, at just 21 years of age, has already achieved a great deal! Through God’s grace Nektary and PaTRAM Institute™ were connected. It was easy to see that Nektary had not only the skills to be a great sacred music singer and conductor but had more important traits: the unceasing desire to improve, learn as much as he can, and grow both in his religious life, as a deeply Orthodox believer, and his secular life, as a good person who yearns to share his talent with the world.

In the coming weeks, PaTRAM Institute readers will be able to see Nektary’s story unfold. PaTRAM Institute is honored to do its part in supporting Nektary’s journey in sacred music and to spotlight his amazing talents and growth. You WILL be moved, as we were.

© Eastern Archdiocese ROCOR

Chapter 1:

Nektary Kotloraff grew up in a very religious family. His grandfather, father, and many of his uncles are all graduates of Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary in Jordanville, NY. From a very young age, Nektary possessed a deep love for the Church and music. He spent 10 years serving in the altar before transitioning into the tenor section of the choir at Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Sydney, Australia. There, he discovered not only a passion for singing but for conducting and composing as well.  Nektary took voice lessons from Dallas Watts, an accomplished singer from Opera Australia and received instruction on his own compositions from Andrei Laptev, current conductor of Strathfield Cathedral. He learned to conduct from Nick Kulikov, who at the time was conductor at Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral.

That was just the beginning for Nektary, who achieved numerous accomplishments at an impressively young age. At the age of 14, he conducted his first Liturgy which was sung by the Russian school choir on Lazarus Saturday. When he was 15, he was invited to be the youngest member of the Australian Diocesan Choir which participated in the Hajnowka Music Festival, where the choir won first place under the direction of Andrei Laptev. In 2016, during Nektary’s final year of high school, his final singing performance was nominated for the ‘Encore HSC Music Performance’ to be held in the Sydney Opera House. It was a showcase of the best music performances in the state from the high school graduating class of 2016. That same year, he was ordained a Reader by His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

But it was in December of 2016 that Nektary had the idea to assemble a group of men to sing a Liturgy in his Cathedral – a decision that would mark a turning point in his career as a musician and lead him to PaTRAM Institute.

More to follow…..