With Faith and Love; Thoughts on a Russian-American Choral Masterclass

Spiritual music plays an important role in the cultural life of many countries in the world. It brings people together, unites their hearts, and acts as a crucial unifying link amongst worldwide musical cultures. The mission of the eminent Moscow conductor Vladimir Gorbik is directed specifically towards realizing these benevolent objectives and bringing them to…

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An All-Night Vigil for St. Richard of Wessex: An Old Saint is Venerated Anew

Overview: On the evening of 6 February 2022, Dormition of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church in Somerville, Massachusetts celebrated an All-Night Vigil (full festal Vespers, Orthros, and Divine Liturgy served consecutively) for Saint Richard of Wessex (7 February, +722 A.D.). At the altar were three priests: Rev. Fr. Anthony Tandilyan, proistamenos of Dormition Rev.…

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Review: Great and Holy Pascha and The Mystic Pascha

In a recent panel discussion on music for the Orthodox Christian Studies Center of Fordham University, composer Benedict Sheehan made the observation that the publication of musical anthologies tends to solidify and codify generational snapshots of particular traditions, carrying authoritative weight for those who use it as a resource. These anthologies… put on the page…

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An Interview with Benedict Sheehan on the Premiere Recording of his Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom

This week Cappella Records released the world premiere recording of Benedict Sheehan’s Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom. It’s an ambitious and truly incredible setting, full of sweeping melodies and rich deep harmonies. It calls to mind the great concert liturgies and masses by famous composers of the past, and can compare admirably with any of…

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Saint Tikhon Choir & Company Release Chart-Topping Album

South Canaan, PA—On August 28, the world-premiere recording of Alexander Kastalsky’s Requiem was released by Naxos Records. The recording—which was made during a live performance in the Washington National Cathedral in October of 2018 in celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the World War I Armistice—features the combined forces of multiple GRAMMY-winning ensembles, including the Cathedral Choral…

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Acoustical Considerations in Orthodox Church Design

As a designer of Orthodox churches, I am frequently asked whether a proposed church building will have good acoustics. Acoustics is a complex matter that cannot always be catagorized as simply “good” or “bad”. In order to shed some light on this topic, I am going to discuss the various acoustical characteristics encountered in churches,…

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Byzantine Music is Choral Music

Some years ago, a singer who was primarily active in Russian Orthodox choral music pulled me aside at a church music event. “Can I be honest with you about something?” this person said to me. “I don’t understand Byzantine music. To me, it looks like it’s either a soloist or a group of mostly men;…

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