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The 2016 Pan-Orthodox Music Symposium

“Orthodox Liturgical Music: Finding Beauty and Prayer in the English-Speaking World”

Minneapolis, Minnesota / 22-26 June 2016


​Presentations during the ISOCM's 2016 Pan-Orthodox Music Symposium will take place at St. Mary's Orthodox Cathedral, 1629 and 1701 NE 5th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55413 unless otherwise noted.


Thursday 23 June 2016

Session I: How to Sing Beautifully in English 

Larissa Kaminsky Sander


Singing in church is a gift, a sacred honor.  Why is it important to study vocal technique, proper diction, or any form of “secular” connection to the voice? Isn’t it enough to offer to your praise to the Lord with whatever voice He gave you? Music is as integral a part of Orthodox worship as the architecture of the church, the iconography on the walls, and the structure of the Divine Services. 


It is an honor to sing in a church choir, not a right, and as much (if not more) care and preparation must be given to the choral sound as to anything else during each service. There is so much to singing well: breath support, intonation, tone quality, warmth, flexibility, expression, artistic interpretation, tempo, rhythm, steady beat, harmonization, phrasing, dynamics, and more. 


Conductors must make the effort to incorporate principles of good voice production in order to improve the choir. Singers need to learn to listen, to blend, and to be aware of their own sound. This presentation is designed to explore ways to make a beautiful choral sound, and to identify and highlight the particular challenges of singing in the English language. It will be interactive, high-energy, and thought-provoking.

Session II: The Gift of Tears: The Joyful Sorrow of Orthodox Liturgical Music

Dr. Kurt Sander

St. Isaac the Syrian tells us that the fullness of prayer lies in what he calls the “gift of tears.” These tears emanate neither from pure joy nor abject despair, but from a mystical feeling that the Orthodox term kharmolypi, or “joyful sorrow.” 


This presentation will explore this seemingly contradictory reaction when listening to the liturgical music of the Orthodox Church. In tandem, it will also address the oft-misunderstood concepts of emotion, simplicity, humility, and beauty in the Orthodox aesthetic sphere.

Friday 24 June 2016

Session III: The Future of Orthodox Liturgical Music in America 

Symposium Presenters and Participants


This session will allow symposium participants to consider their role and responsibilities in creating a beautiful and prayer liturgical experience. While technology exists to help us prepare resources, limited time and money often prevent directors and singers from doing all that is necessary to ensure we are offering our best to God in song. This session will consider those things which require our attention and what steps must be taken in the coming months and years to nurture liturgical music in North America through a more collaborative approach. Six topics will be discussed:


  • Church music for children

  • Research and publications

  • Leveraging social media

  • Training of leaders and singers

  • Engraving and transcribing music

  • Concerts and outreach


Session IV: “Minimalism, Mysticism and Monasticism: Concert Music Inspired by Byzantine Chant"

Paul Barnes


Pianist and chanter Paul Barnes explores the inspiring intersection of liturgical chant and concert music. Barnes has commissioned several composers to write piano works based on Byzantine chant including Fr. Ivan Moody, Victoria Bond, and Philip Glass. The presentation will explore these musical works focusing on how the liturgical vision of chant spills over onto the concert stage. 


Works discussed include Fr. Ivan’s piano quintet Nocturne of Light based on the Greek Orthodox communion hymn for Holy Saturday and Hristos Anesti. Bond’s piano concerto Ancient Keys is based on the communion hymnPotirion Sotiriu. Works of Arvo Pärt and Philip Glass will also be discussed revealing an important connection to the spiritual world of byzantine chant.


Saturday 25 June 2016

Session VI: Keynote Address

Protopresbyter Ivan Moody


Father Ivan Moody, noted musician, composer, and priest will present the keynote address of the 2016 symposium focusing on the theme of Finding Beauty and Prayer in the English-speaking world. 




Presenter Biographies

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