The male choir "Optina Pustyn" was founded in 1996 in the Cathedral of Dormition of the Theotokos on Vasilevskiy Island in St.Peterburg. In 1994, this Cathedral became the metochion of Optina Pustyn. On September 15, 1996, at the venerable Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves, the first Liturgy echoes were served. In addition to the ancient monophonic chants, other chants are sung in worship different types of Russian church polyphony: a string chanting, banners and early polyphony Partes and chants. The chants of these books were used as model for the majority of composers, including Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov. In addition to transcripts of ancient polyphony choir and performs his own composition forgery "under style", as well as the most interesting works by Church composers. The singing tradition that is now well-established in the worship of a Farmstead, is consistent with the age of «many chants time», which existed in the reign of Alexei Mikhailovich and lasted until the end of the Petrine era.
The liturgical choir consists of nine singers and the concert composition, depending on artistic tasks, varies from seven to nine singers. The overall composition of concert and liturgical choirs is around 14 professional singers, most of whom are graduates of the St. Petersburg Conservatory. The artistic Leader - Alexander Semenov - graduated from the conducting and choral faculty of the St. Petersburg Conservatory (a class of people's artist of Russia V.V.Borisov, and also on an elective symphonic conducting in the class of people's artist of Russia E.A.Serov.) After graduating from the Conservatory, he studied ancient hook letter under the guidance of A.N.Kruchinina and Z.M.Huseynova.
After two decades of creative activity, the choir has become a permanent participant of many Russian and international festivals, playing up to a hundred concerts a year. In Russia, the choir has performed in more than 20 cities from Moscow to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk in the Far East. In his native St. Petersburg, the choir gives several concerts a year in the most important concert halls of the city: the Great and Small halls of the Philharmonic and the hall of the Academic Capella. Overseas touring has taken the choir to Germany, Holland, Hungary, Spain, Italy, China, Colombia, Norway, Serbia, Montenegro, Finland, France, Sweden, Estonia, and Ukraine. Despite the remarkable acoustic properties of the best concert halls, ancient chants sound especially impressive when sung by the choir in ancient churches, such as: St. Sophia cathedrals in Kiev and Novgorod, in the Cathedral of the Assumption in Moscow's Kremlin, and the Cathedral of Alexandrova Sloboda. Over the years of its existence, the choir has produced fifteen CD and SACD albums, recording most of their repertoire.
"The Optina Pustyn" is at present untouched by other choirs of the region's musical culture. In 2008, in the historical Museum of Regensburg (Germany) announced the program "Singing the Ancient Church", including the Gregorian, Ambrosian, Byzantine, and Georgian songs of the V - XV centuries in their original languages. This program first presented different choirs in St. Petersburg on 7 October 2011 in the Lesser Hall of the Philharmonic.
In 2011, the choir of Optina Pustyn', together with the Belgian conductor Paul van Nevel (founder and conductor Hueglas Enemble) presented a program called "Ars Aniqua & Ars Nova", which included chants of the XIII - XVI centuries by composers old French and Flemish schools.
In 2013 in the Lesser Hall of the Philharmonic, the choir presented a program "The Chants of the Choir Sovereign Vocalist Scribes". This program included songs which were born in the bowels of the most famous Russian singing of the Corporation. The program, designed for hour and half accompanied by a vibrant musical and historical commentary, turned the gaze of the audience to the era of the reign of Ivan III, Ivan IV, Feodor Ioannovich, Alexis and Peter I.
The artistic heritage of Holy Rus today is still «terra incognita». The main idea of the song of the manuscripts hasn't been studied yet and it is still waiting to be researched.