Minneapolis, MN – The International Society for Orthodox Church Music (www.isocm.com) will host a pan-Orthodox music symposium at St Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral from Wednesday, June 22 through Sunday, June 26, 2016. The event will include presentations and workshops, music reading sessions, rehearsals, and will culminate in a festive hierarchical All-Night Vigil and Divine Liturgy. The event will also feature a special concert by the critically-acclaimed vocal ensemble Cappella Romana.
According to Archpriest Ivan Moody, ISOCM’s board chairman, the aim of this symposium is to bring together people involved in all aspects of music-making in the Orthodox Church - chanters, choir singers, composers, conductors and musicologists. Father Ivan said, “An event like this reinforces the idea that we can all learn from each other and together enrich the worship of the Church.”
Father Ivan will present the keynote address on the symposium’s theme of “Orthodox Liturgical Music: Finding Beauty and Prayer in the English-Speaking World” on Saturday, June 25 during a session for symposium participants and the general public. Organizers hope the theme will inspire participants to reflect on their role and responsibility in creating a liturgical experience which engages the faithful in the liturgical life of the church.
“Church musicians assist the clergy in leading the divine services,” said Dr. Kurt Sander, one of the organizers for the Minneapolis symposium, “It is incumbent upon us as directors, singers, and chanters to cultivate an impression of profound beauty within the liturgical act.” Dr. Sander was also instrumental in organizing the very successful pan-Orthodox music symposium held in Cincinnati in June 2014. As at that event, attendees in Minneapolis will have the opportunity to participate in daily choir rehearsals in preparation for the Hierarchical All-Night Vigil and Divine Liturgy which will take place on Saturday, June 25 and Sunday, June 26, 2016 respectively.
“If we believe our church music is liturgical, then we must understand its function in professing the theology of our Faith,” said Dr. Sander, who will also make a presentation during the symposium. “We are responsible to use proper musical settings and sing them in ways which enable the assembly to not simply be present at, but participate in the liturgical services,” he said, adding, “Beautiful singing cannot exist without prayer.”
The symposium will feature new music which is being written for the event by the noted American Orthodox composer, the Archpriest Sergei Glagolev. “I’m excited about this opportunity, and very happy to work on a setting of the post-communion troparia,” said Father Sergei. “The text for these two troparia “We have seen the true light…” and “Let our mouths be filled…” serve as the ultimate thanksgiving of the liturgy and of the Eucharist which we receive.”
The ISOCM is also pleased to announce that the vocal ensemble Cappella Romana will present a special concert of Orthodox liturgical hymns in Minneapolis as part of the symposium. The concert, under the direction of Father Ivan Moody, will feature the extraordinary Opelo (Requiem) by Stevan Hristić, Peter Mirolybov’s Exapostilarion for the Dormition, and works by Fr Ivan Moody himself, Kurt Sander, Fr Sergei Glagolev and Tikey Zes. The program will showcase the breadth of creativity found in Orthodox liturgical music from the Byzantine and Slavic traditions to more modern settings from Finland and America.
The selections which Cappella Romana will perform reflect the sense of creativity and diversity reflect the mission of the ISOCM and the success of its conferences and gatherings. “Past ISOCM events have proved that bringing together church musicians from different traditions and different countries is a uniquely effective way of effecting a pan-Orthodox witness both to the universality of the faith and the diversity of its traditions,” said Father Ivan, who noted the symposium being planned for June 2016 in Minneapolis should provide church musicians in the English-speaking world with an opportunity to share in that witness and diversity, and even help grow the church on a number of continents.
In addition to Dr. Sander and Father Ivan, the symposium will feature presentations by other international and US-based specialists in the field of Orthodox liturgical music. Information about all of the presentations, workshops, practica, and rehearsals, along with the full schedule, presenter biographies, registration fees, and hotel reservations are available at www.orthodoxmusicsymposium.org
Participants who complete their registration before February 1, 2016 will receive an early-bird discount.
Founded in 2005, the ISOCM seeks to provide an open platform for musicians, musicologists, singers, and composers that encourages dialogue, the exchange of information and ideas, and inspires cooperation. The Society sees the promotion of communication between East and West as one of its priorities and hosts biannual conferences, at the University of Eastern Finland on its Joensuu campus.
The Society also hosts regional symposia and gatherings elsewhere throughout the world to help create opportunities for collaboration and the sharing of knowledge in the field of Orthodox liturgical music.