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International Conference on Orthodox Church Music Set to Open June 3

Joensuu, Finland – The Fifth International Conference on Orthodox Church Music will open on Monday, 3 June 2013 here, at the School of Theology, University of Eastern Finland. The conference, hosted by the International Society for Orthodox Church Music (ISOCM), will feature participants from fifteen different countries presenting papers on a variety of topics related to the conference’s overall theme of “Church Music and Icons: Windows to Heaven.”

“This year’s conference not only builds on the four previous ones, but expands our range, in linking the discussion of church music with iconography,” said the Rev. Ivan Moody, board chairman of ISOCM, “Not only will musicians be discussing their work and its relationship to icons, but we will have a number of joint sessions in which musicologists and iconologists present their work together.

The week-long gathering affirms the mission of ISOCM as a place in which like-minded people can come together and share their vision, and learn from others. In addition to the schedule of presentations and discussions on the conference theme, a number of divine services, workshops, and concerts will provide attendees with the opportunity to worship and sing together, while enjoying fellowship.

Vespers and the Divine Liturgy will be celebrated at the Church of St John the Theologian on the campus of the Orthodox Seminary and at the local parish of St. Nicholas in Joensuu. Participants will serve, chant, and lead the singing of responses during the services, along with local faithful of the community. The program also includes a reception honoring attendees will be hosted by the city of Joensuu. Following the conference, participants will make a pilgrimage to the New Valamo and Lintula Monasteries.

“Such a rich and full schedule fills me with pleasure, and with hope for the future of both the ISOCM and these Conferences,” said Father Ivan, adding, “Displaying as it does the remarkable richness of Orthodox Christianity and the deep joy we all experience in sharing our traditions and experiences.”

On the first day of the conference, the proceedings from the Fourth International Conference, held in 2011, will be made available to participants. Copies may also be purchased in advance on the ISOCM website.

The record number of participants is encouraging during times of uncertainty and contraction, and the variety of topics on all aspects of church music suggest a growing interest and desire to explore the beauty and depth of Orthodox Christianity.

Presentation topics range from the practical and aesthetic aspects of chant from Serbia, Bulgaria, Albania, and elsewhere, to presentations on early hymnography, newly-composed music, and the correspondences between iconography and hymnography.

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. The biannual conferences, hosted at the university in Joensuu, Finland are just one of the ways ISOCM accomplishes this goal.

For more information about the conference.

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