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Global Conference to Explore Future of Orthodox Church Music

Yonkers, NY – Orthodox Christians are often considered the most traditional of Christians, yet the latest technology is making it possible for an international gathering of Orthodox church musicians to take place during the COVID-19 global pandemic, exploring and preparing for the future of Orthodox Church Music.

Participants at the 3-day online 2020 Pan-Orthodox Music Symposium will explore the theme of “Music as Liturgy” beginning Thursday, June 11.

The event, co-sponsored by The International Society for Orthodox Church Music (ISOCM) and St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVS), will feature masterclasses, presentations, and workshops for training and educating current and future music leaders.

“The response to this event has been overwhelming,” according to Protopresbyter Ivan Moody, Society chairman. “It is, in spite of or perhaps because of moving to an online format, on a large scale: a sure sign that these kinds of occasion are absolutely necessary both spiritually and culturally.”

Three presentations will be open to the general public:

Keynote Address: Music as Liturgy presented by Dr Susan Ashbrook Harvey

Thursday, 11 June, 2020 at 4 pm EDT with Q&A sessions

Keynote Address: Liturgy as Music presented by Father Ivan Moody

Friday, 12 June, 2020 at 4 pm EDT with Q&A sessions

Piano Performance: A Bright Sadness: Piano Works Inspired by Orthodox Chant presented by Dr Paul Barnes

Friday, 12 June, 2020 at 6 pm EDT

The Symposium is the third of its kind hosted in North America hosted by the Finland-based ISOCM, and first co-organized with the New York-based St. Vladimir’s Seminary. As one of the largest gatherings of Orthodox church musicians anywhere in the world over the last 20 years, this year’s event has garnered interest from Orthodox and non-Orthodox musicians alike.

“I think the numbers speak for themselves,” said Dr. Peter Bouteneff, director of the Seminary’s Institute of Sacred Arts, adding, “Over 200 registrants from 12 countries, across different jurisdictions and confessions. This tells us how thirsty we all are for a connection through music, and for improving our skills for the Church. It’s a joy to help address that need!"

This year’s event is dedicated to the life and legacy of the Archpriest Sergei Glagolev, 92, the pioneering composer of Orthodox Christian chant in the English-language. During the Symposium, a music reading session will present selected new compositions written in honor of Father Sergei.

On Thursday, June 11 at 5 pm EDT (4 pm CDT, 2 pm PDT), a public dedication ceremony will be held. Symposium organizers will offer reflections and a short video celebrating the pastoral work and musical accomplishments of Father Sergei who is expected to join this special event with members of his family. For more information and to join the event:

“Father Sergei is beloved by so many, and his musical labors for nearly 70 years continues to impact the Orthodox world,” said Dr. Bouteneff. “His music enlivens our prayers, bringing us into a deeper relationship with the liturgy.”

A full schedule of events, presenter biographies, and topics of presentations are available here.

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