Male choir

Optina Pustyn

Male choir
Optina Pustyn

Optina Pustyn male choir.
Optina Pustyn male choir.
Optina Pustyn male choir.

About us

The Optina Pustyn male choir was created at the Dormition Metochion Church of the Optina Pustyn monastery in St. Petersburg. The first znamenny notation liturgy was celebrated on 15 September 1996. Over time, the ensemble has become a creative laboratory for the return of the singing heritage of Ancient Russia from the manuscript collections of academic libraries to liturgical practice. Today, in addition to the Ancient Russian one-voice chants, different types of Russian church polyphony are heard at the services of the Metochion: strochnoe and partesnoe choral singing, as well as chants of Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria and Georgia. In addition, the choir performs both composer’s and own versions of church chants, as well as author’s compositions.

Booklet

The founder of the ensemble and artistic director Aleksandr Semyonov graduated from the Conducting and Choral Faculty of St. Petersburg Conservatory where he additionally studied Ancient Russian notation and symphonic conducting. He is the author of a significant number of choral arrangements, concepts of research projects and concert programs.

The choir consists of professional singers: tenor Andrei Ivanushkin (since 1997), baritone and chior master Sergei Grigoriev (since 1999), profound bass, leading singer of State Academic Capella and Mariinsky Theatre Vladimir Miller, laureate of international competition, bass Dmitry Shishkin (since 2002), laureate of international competitions, baritone Boris Petrov (since 2012), tenor Ivan Egorov and tenor Nikita Chernikov (since 2019), tenor Danis Imamutdinov (since 2022), tenor Pavel Semagin and bass Pavel Andreev (since 2023). The ensemble consists of carefully selected voices: from the lowest profound bass to the highest tenor altino which allows to successfully solve performing tasks of any complexity.

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As for the concert activities, the ensemble specializes in musical and historical themes and has a diverse repertoire from church music to chamber works of world choral classics. Continuously developing several large-scale projects at once, the musicians constantly replenish their research and performing experience with new musical scores. In 2006, a collaboration album with the I Solisti Veneti orchestra was released on the Warner Music label. In 2008, the project “Chants of an Ancient Church” was presented at the Regensburg Museum of History; Byzantine, Gregorian, Armenian and Georgian chants of the V-XVI centuries were performed in the original languages. The program “Ars Antiqua & Ars Nova” consisting of masterpieces of Western European polyphony of the Renaissance was first performed in 2011 under the direction of Paul van Nevel. In 2023, a creative reinterpreting of this program is being prepared for the next performance at St. Petersburg Philharmonia. The project “Chants of the Tsar Singers”, work on which began in 2013 with a concert of the same name at the St. Petersburg Philharmonia, is dedicated to the chants born in the depths of the most famous Russian singing corporation from the reign of Ivan III and to the era of Peter the Great.

The choir “Optina Pustyn” has toured more than 20 countries in Europe, Asia and America. The musicians performed concerts in the Dormition Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin, St. Sophia Cathedrals of Kyiv and Novgorod, in numerous cathedrals of Western Europe, in the halls of the St. Petersburg Philharmonia and Academic Capella, the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall (Moscow), Moscow International House of Music, the Kyiv Philharmonia, concert halls Laeiszhalle (Hamburg), Temppeliaukio (Helsinki), Rikskonserter (Stockholm), Niguliste (Tallinn).

The ensemble constantly participates in international festivals. They include Moscow Easter Festival, Festival d’Auvers-sur-Oise (France), Musica Sacra International (Germany), Millennium Sacrum (Spain), BEMUS (Serbia), Ohrid Summer (Macedonia), Orientale lumen (Hungary), Muzyka w Starym Krakowie (Poland), Credo (Estonia), Moscow Christmas Festival, “Rostov Action” in Rostov the Great, “Transfiguration” in Yaroslavl.

In 2022-2023, the choir “Optina Pustyn” presented a solo program at the Saint Tikhon's Orthodox University (Moscow), Mirozhsky Monasery and the Alexandrovskaya Sloboda, gave several concerts at the St. Petersburg, Krasnoyarsk and Vologda Philharmonic, performed at the Moscow International House of Music.

The choir’s discography includes 15 CDs and SACDs. The music recorded by the ensemble is heard in many Russian and foreign feature films and documentaries.

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What’s on

07.07.2024

Antonievo-Dymsky Monastery, Leningrad Region

09.07.2024

Antonievo-Dymsky Monastery, Leningrad Region

24.09.2024

The Small Philharmonic Hall, St. Petersburg, 19:00. Chants os an Ancient Church

20.10.2024

Moscow Zaryadye Hall

Tickets

Apart from the concert periods, the choir can be heard at the Dormition Metochion of Optina Pustyn monastery. A large choir sings on Saturday evening and at the late Sunday liturgy, also on the twelve-day and temple feasts and at the Holy Week main services. A small choir sings during the other divine services.

Divine services schedule

Photos

  • Gallery
  • Posters
  • High resolution photos
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. The Smolny Cathedral, St. Petersburg. The Easter concert
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Saint-Petersburg Philharmonia. Grand Hall
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Saint-Petersburg Philharmonia
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Moscow Easter Festival
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Saint-Petersburg Philharmonia
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Moscow Easter Festival
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Moscow Easter Festival
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Kolarac hall, Belgrade
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Abbaye de Pontigny, France
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Bogota, Columbia

Discography

  • Optina Pustyn male choir. CHANTS OF AN ANCIENT CHURCH (DIGITAL RELEASE)

    CHANTS OF AN ANCIENT CHURCH (DIGITAL RELEASE)

  • Optina Pustyn male choir. THE CHRISTMAS SONGS (DIGITAL RELEASE)

    THE CHRISTMAS SONGS (DIGITAL RELEASE)

  • Optina Pustyn male choir. THE SOUL LONGS FOR HEAVEN (DIGITAL RELEASE)

    THE SOUL LONGS FOR HEAVEN (DIGITAL RELEASE)

  • Optina Pustyn male choir. THE CHURCH MUSIC OF RUSSIAN COMPOSERS

    THE CHURCH MUSIC OF RUSSIAN COMPOSERS

  • Optina Pustyn male choir. THE EARLY RUSSIAN POLIPHONY

    THE EARLY RUSSIAN POLIPHONY

  • Optina Pustyn male choir. THE HYMNS TO SERAPHIM VYRITSKY

    THE HYMNS TO SERAPHIM VYRITSKY

  • Optina Pustyn male choir. THE SOUL LONGS FOR HEAVEN

    THE SOUL LONGS FOR HEAVEN

  • Optina Pustyn male choir. THE HYMNS ON THE ANNUNCIATION

    THE HYMNS ON THE ANNUNCIATION

  • Optina Pustyn male choir. THE CHANTS ON THE ASSUMPTION VESPERS

    THE CHANTS ON THE ASSUMPTION VESPERS

  • Optina Pustyn male choir. PIETRO MASCAGNI. MESSA DI GLORIA

    PIETRO MASCAGNI. MESSA DI GLORIA

  • Optina Pustyn male choir. THE RUSSIAN CHURCH SINGING

    THE RUSSIAN CHURCH SINGING

  • Optina Pustyn male choir. SAINTLY LOVE

    SAINTLY LOVE

  • Optina Pustyn male choir. THE MILLENIUM OF RUSSIAN CHURCH SINGING

    THE MILLENIUM OF RUSSIAN CHURCH SINGING

  • Optina Pustyn male choir. THE EASTER. LIVE RECORD

    THE EASTER. LIVE RECORD

  • Optina Pustyn male choir. THE HYMNS ON THE ASSUMPTION

    THE HYMNS ON THE ASSUMPTION

  • Optina Pustyn male choir. CHANTS OF THE GREAT LENT

    CHANTS OF THE GREAT LENT

Video

  • Live
  • Video clips
  • Records
  • Media
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. The Angel is crying out. Your Hall
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Cherubic hymn. It is truly meet
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Flight of a Bumblebee. N.Rimsky-Korsakov
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Kookoo. Folk song
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Orlando di Lasso (1532-1594). Requiem aeternam (Missa pro Defunctis)
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Plain and plain is all around. Blaze, blaze, my Star. Evening bell
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. From beyond the wooded Island. Volga song
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. The Legend about twelve Robbers
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Concert № 32. Music by Dmitry Bortnyansky (1751-1825)
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Chants of an ancient Church
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace. Music by Sergey Rachmaninov (1873-1943).
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Chants of the Sovereign Singers
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Joy of those, who are in sorrow
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Open unto me the doors of repentance, O Life-giver
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. The bell rings monotonously
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Let all mortal flesh keep silence
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. I will make a prayer to the Lord
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. O Thou Who Coverest Thyself with Light
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Every gracious creature rejoices at You, oh Lord
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. For healthy Cup
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Franz Schubert (1797-1828). Ave Maria
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. The Angel is crying out. Music by Nikolay Uvarov (1914)
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Chants and prayers
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Let all mortal flesh keep silence.
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Asperges me. Gregorian chant
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Cherubic hymn. Old Bulgarian chant
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. O Mother of God, rejoice. Music by A.Gvozdetsky
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Evening on the Raid. Music By V. P. Solovyov-Sedoy
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. At bedtime. Music by Peter Tchaikovsky (1840 - 1893). Lyrics by N. Ogaryov (1813-1877)
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Blaze, blaze, my Star
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. Plain and plain is all around. Soloist – Dmitry Pisarev (baritone)
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. The Great Easter Concert in the Smolny Cathedral
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. The Great Easter Concert in the Smolny Cathedral
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. St. Petersburg Philharmonic
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. St. Petersburg Philharmonic
  • Optina Pustyn male choir. St. Petersburg Philharmonic 2

Press

  • Reviews
  • Interviews
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PERFORMANCE AT THE REGENSBURG HISTORICAL MUSEUM (GERMANY)

The choir presented a panorama of chants of Christian confessions. Some chants sound in their original unison form, others form polyphony, in which the top rises in jubilant melismas over long archaic fifths and octaves. The singers develop astounding loudness for this small cast and cover a wide audio range.

Mittelbayerische, Von Gerhard Dietel

THE CHOIR’S 20-TH ANNIVERSARY (ST. PETERSBURG PHILHARMONIC)

The title fully conveys the musical stylistic diversity of church and spiritual works performed that evening. According to the rector of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy, Archbishop Ambrose, the choir's works on restoring ancient singing traditions give listeners a unique opportunity not only to listen to a magnificently performed piece of music, but also to connect with the prayerful experience of our ancestors.

St. Petersburg Theological Academy

FESTIVAL IN AUVERS-SUR-OISE (FRANCE)

The Optina Pustyn male choir from Russia filled the Cathedral of Our Lady in Auvers-sur-Oise with a truly cosmic harmony. The ingenious Boris Petrov succeeded in “Eternal Council”. The glorious Bulgarian chant “Joy to All Who Sorrow” (“Vseh skorbyaschih radoste”) allows to hear each voice separately. The song “Save, God, your people” enabled us to immerse into euphony velvet voice of Vladimir Miller, endowed with one of the richest voices in the world.

Classique d'aujourd'hui, Bruno Serrou

CONCERT TOUR IN SWEDEN

The Optina Pustyn male choir has been successfully touring the Swedish capital. On October 4 the ensemble held a concert in the one of the oldest churches in the country – the Storkyrkan (“Big Church”) in Stockholm. It was opened in 1306; the kings are crowned and married there. This is not the first meeting of Russian singers with Swedish audiences, but the huge church was still full of people.

The Moscow Patriarchate

THE “CHANTS OF AN ANCIENT CHURCH” PROGRAM

I was able to feel the uplifting grandeur of music in the Temple of St. Gregory of Neokesaria in Derbytsi. The Optina Pustyn male choir treated us with masterpieces of singing art. An exceptional program was performed, featuring Christian chants of the 10th – 17th centuries. Nineteen songs formed a peculiar mini-anthology of church chant. This performance became one of the precious adornments of the X Easter Festival Choir program.

Belcanto.ru, Igor Koryabin

CONCERT IN BELGRADE (SERBIA)

The Optina Pustyn male choir gave a divine, spiritual and expressive concert in the Belgrade Cathedral. This famous Russian choir consists of singers with the highest vocal and artistic capabilities. Their voices range from countertenors to deep bass. The applause in the temple is inappropriate, but the audience was overwhelmed with such strong emotions that they gave the choir a long standing ovation.

Saborna crkva

THE “SINGING TRADITIONS OF ANCIENT RUSSIA” PROGRAM (SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA)

The Sacred Music Evenings season at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic opened with chants of the Sovereign Singers performed by the Optina Pustyn male choir. The ensemble was conducted by Alexander Semyonov, the author of many transcriptions of church and secular works. Prayers and spiritual chants were performed. The concert was accompanied by information about Russian history and explanations of singing features.

St. Petersburg Metropolitanate of the Russian Orthodox Church

CONCERT IN YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK (RUSSIA)

The Optina Pustyn male choir gave its first concert in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. In the first part of the program Russian church chants of the 17th-20th centuries were performed. The second section contained arrangements of Russian folk songs and works by Russian composers of the 19th and 20th centuries. Bishop of Yuzhno-Sakhalin and Kuril, Archimandrite Tikhon (Dorovskikh) expressed gratitude to the choir musicians for a Christmas present to the parishioners of Sakhalin churches.

Sakhalin and Kuriles— SKR.SU

CONCERT IN DACHAU (GERMANY)

The ensemble's style features are calmness, depth and spirituality. The choir sounds crystal clear and harmonious. None of the soloists entered later or earlier, not one singer drowned out the other, the sound seemed to be monolithic. Ancient chants from Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece and Byzantium were performed with versatile differentiation, easy register change and precise tone. “Flight of the Bumblebee” by Rimsky-Korsakov arranged by Alexander Semyonov sounds fascinating.

Merkur.de, Von dr. Bärbel Schäfer

CONCERT IN VASTERVIK (SWEDEN)

The Optina Pustyn male choir from St. Petersburg came on a concert tour in Sweden. The fact that they drove into little Vastervik looks like a miracle. The main concerts are held in Stockholm, Uppsala, Linkoping. The choir had performed on Swedish TV the day before. The choir is small. The leader, Alexander Semyonov, stands in the middle and seems to be writing music with his hands. He is not only engaged in conducting: about a third of the program consisted of choral arrangements created by him.

Västerviks-Tidningen, Rune Engelbrektson

CONCERT TOUR IN FINLAND

The world famous male choir Optina Pustyn will come from St. Petersburg to Finland in November. This ensemble was created in 1996 to revive old church chants. In recent years, they have presented many pieces of music found in the monastery libraries. The program will also include famous Russian folk songs. The musicians also promise to perform something more familiar to the Finnish audience.

KONTAKT

THE “GLORIFICATION OF CHRISTMAS” PROGRAM IN SMOLENSK (RUSSIA)

The concert of the male choir Optina Pustyn became a Christmas present for the Smolensk audience and left an unforgettable impression. The audience did not let the artists go for a long time, several musical pieces were performed as an encore in addition to the main program.

Smolensk Metropolitanate of the Russian Orthodox Church

PERFORMANCE IN MUROM (RUSSIA)

The Murom Annunciation Monastery will host a concert of one of the best choral groups in the country – the Optina Pustyn male choir from St. Petersburg. The choir's creative interests are not limited by the Old Russian repertoire. The musicians try to convey the great richness and diversity of Russian choral music.

REGNUM

IV INTERNATIONAL SACRED MUSIC FESTIVAL. KYSHTYM (RUSSIA)

At the end of the concert, the House of Culture shook with applause for a long time. Priest Mikhail Chirkov, rector of the Church of the Nativity of Christ in Kyshtym, did not hide his emotions: “The Optina Pustyn сhoir is a precious pearl in the crown of the festival. What a palette of voices! What a consonance! No other feelings but delight and admiration! Thank you for such a wonderful gift, for coming so far to present us your magnificent art!”

Ozersk.Ru

“THE MILLENIUM OF RUSSIAN CHURCH SINGING” PROGRAM

Singers of the Optina Pustyn male choir presented a panorama of Russian church music from ancient chants to modern monastic chants and brilliant compositions by Rachmaninoff. Its highlight was the performance of unique polyphonic compositions with virtuoso eccentric bass. This music has no analogues in Europe. The choir's brilliant singing manner allows to highlight a new direction in the choral art – Russian baroque singing.

Blagovest-info

CONCERT IN TALLINN (ESTONIA)

The depth of the music combined with professional and meaningful performance made listeners cry regardless of their nationality or religion. The performance of folk songs was remembered for the presence of a real Russian style.

Moles.ee, Valery Petrov
Alexander Vitalievich Semenov

Notes

  • Decipherments
  • Synod chant books
  • Arrangements

Contacts

Alexander Semyonov

Artistic Leader

Alexander Semyonov

Telegram@optinachoir E-mailas@optinachoir.ru
Elizabeth Semyonova

Production Manager

Elizabeth Semyonova

Phone+7 (904) 519-65-08 Telegram@konfetkasmile E-mailas@optinachoir.ru
Elizaveta Makarova

Media manager

Elizaveta Makarova

Telegram@elizaveta_makarova E-mailpress@optinachoir.ru

mapThe Optina Pustyn male choir. The Metochion of Optina Pustyn Monastery in St. Petersburg

27/2 nab. Leytenanta Shmidta V.O. St. Petersburg 199034 Russia