is pleased to present

the Second Annual Pan-Orthodox Master Class for

Composers & Conductors!

A Unique Master Class for Orthodox Church Composers & Conductors


• A Pan-Orthodox orientation centered around the English language.
• A master class designed to feature the participants and their talents.
• Repertoire for the Divine Services composed and conducted by the students.

• An international, diverse & world-class faculty.
• A professional choir conducted by the students.

• A substantive and varied curriculum carefully designed for every level of conductor:

  • pre-event mentorship
  • individual lessons
  • classroom instruction
  • lectures
  • concerts &
  • Divine Worship.

(instruction is designed for 3 levels of participants–beginner, intermediate, and advanced.)

• Intensive training in:

  • composition technique
  • manual conducting technique
  • score analysis
  • score reading &
  • ear-training.

* Scholarships available.

* Tuition includes pre-event mentorship.

* Centrally located in a major US city­–Chicago.

* Master class sessions & hotel 10 minutes from O'Hare Airport.


This event is supported, in part, by generous in-kind and monetary donations from

The Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral,

Ancient Faith Radio, and

numerous churches, local vendors, families & individuals.


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Founded in 1987 as the cathedral youth choir in Novi Sad, this ensemble of young professional and experienced amateur musicians has sung regularly at Divine Services in Orthodox churches, first in Novi Sad and, from 2011, in the historical town of Sremski Karlovci, for more than 30 years continuing the rich and long tradition of Serbian choral societies in the region. The Choir also often performs at public concerts as well as on TV and radio. Its achievements are lauded in both the artistic and educational-missionary fields. Today, the St Stephen of Dechani Choir is recognized as one of the best ensembles in Serbia that specialize in sacred music, with a broad and varied repertoire and a unique choral sound. Its members have a modern, fresh, and authentic understanding and interpretation of sacred music, at the same time preserving their national musical heritage. The Choir has performed as a mixed, womens' and mens' ensemble in concert halls around Europe and in Russia and Israel.

Orthodox church music of all periods: early Byzantine, Serbian, Bulgarian, Georgian and Russian chants; early polyphonic music; 18th and 19th century arrangements of traditional chants; and chosen works by contemporary composers. The choir was the first to sing unpublished manuscript music from the library of the Musicological Institute of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts: a rare privilege for any group. Close co-operation with choirs and conductors throughout the world and performing concerts in many European countries, as well as the membership in Europa Cantat choral association, have inspired members of the St Stephen of Dechani Choir to introduce a variety of choral music to the repertoire (secular and folk songs) and to sing in various languages.


The Vuk Karadzic Endowment Prize for musicological research (Belgrade 1999) for a CD to accompany The Founders of Hilandar in Orthodox Chant, a book by Professor Danica Petrovic.

Second prize at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod festival, Wales (2000).

Fourth position (2002).

Second prize at national competition in Negotin 2005 - dedicated to the most famous Serbian composer St. St. Mokranjac.

Diploma “Ambassadors of Good Will” at Zimriya 2007 Festival in Jerusalem.

Grand Prix at the International Festival of chamber choirs and vocal ensembles in Kragujevac, Serbia 2017.


Most important festivals and concerts:

International festivals of sacred music, Novi Sad and Belgrade, Serbia;

Szent Endre Summer Music Festival, Szent Endre, Hungary;

Concerts at the Rozhdestvenskye chteniya festival and Christmas festival in Moscow. Summer Academy in Saint Petersburg.

BEMUS International Music Festival, Belgrade, Serbia.

ProOriente-Year of the Bible 2003, Benefactory concert for the Christians in Iraque 2007, “Lange Nacht der Kirchen” 2017 and 2019, Vienna, Austria

Europa Cantat Festivals 2006, Mainz, Germany; 2009 Utrecht, the Netherlands , Turin, Italy 2012 and Pecs, Hungary 2015.

Zimriya International Festival 2007, Jerusalem, Israel

Concerts and liturgies in the churches in: Moscow, Munich, Paris, Wroclaw, Warsaw, Stuttgart, Vienna, Milan, Barcelona, Verona, Budapest, London, Köln, Hanover; Blaenau Ffestiniog in Wales, Trieste, Lisbon, Sarajevo, Zagreb and Dubrovnik, as well as monasteries and Serbian enclaves in Kosovo.

Recordings have been made for the Serbian, Hungarian, Welsh, Austrian, Italian, German and Russian national Radio and TV companies.
The choir published 20 editions of Orthodox church music and choral compositions based on Serbian folk music, as well as 4 score collections.
In 2018/2019 the Chicago Radio WFMT published 3 CDs of the St Stephen of Dechani Choir, offering them to the public as a part of their Annual Membership Pledge.


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How do I become a Master Class participant?

If you are interested in this master class, you should pick the category that you feel best suits your particular needs, level of musical activity, and area of focus–composing and/or conducting–and submit the registration form, resume, essay, and the deposit. If you would like to have a better understanding of which category might be best for you and your skill set, please read the brief answers to frequently-asked questions below and/or contact us by email. This masterclass has a set number of seats in each category, so the sooner you apply, the better chance you have of securing a seat. The Beginner and Intermediate Conductor categories are open on a first-come-first-serve basis. The Composer, Advanced Conductor, and Composer/Advanced Conductor categories will be filled through a merit-based evaluation of each applicant; you may be asked to submit additional supportive materials such as video recordings, samples of your compositions, etc. If you apply and are admitted to that particular category, your $100 deposit will be applied to the total cost of tuition; if you are not admitted or if the seats in your chosen category become filled, your $100 deposit will be fully refunded to you; you will also have the option of being placed on a waiting list. You will be notified within two (2) weeks of your registration if you are admitted or not to the Master Class. Once you are admitted, your $100 deposit becomes non-refundable. (As a matter of reference, in the 2019 Master Class everyone who applied was accepted but several individuals could not be given a seat in their desired category because the seats were filled.)

Registration deadline for Composer & Composer-Advanced Conductor categories:

March 31, 2020.

$550 balance due for Composer & Composer-Advanced Conductor categories: May 31, 2020.

Registration deadline for Advanced Conductor category: April 30, 2020.

$550 balance due for Advanced Conductor category: May 31, 2020.

Registration deadline for Beginner and Intermediate Conductors: May 31, 2020.

$350 balance due for Beginner and Intermediate Conductors: May 31, 2020.

Do I have to be an Orthodox Christian to be a participant?

No, everyone is welcome to apply and your personal faith or religion will not be used as a criterion for evaluation and acceptance into the Master Class. Still, you should understand at the outset of the journey that the context and focus of the Master Class is Orthodox–the venue is a Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, the culminatory Divine Services (All-Night Vigil and Divine Liturgy) will be served in the Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, and the repertoire will be entirely within the canonic Orthodox traditions. The Master Class is designed to fit the mission of the sponsoring organization–the Society of Saint Romanos the Melodist: to bring the beauty and spiritual depth of the Orthodox Faith to the world at large, in this case, through Orthodox music.

What does the composer component of this master class look like?

Upon acceptance into the Master Class, the participant will be asked to work on two or three projects–1) a chant-based liturgical composition, 2) a free-form liturgical work, and possibly 3) a paraliturgical piece–with composer faculty members. The student will have an opportunity to work with master teachers and is encouraged to take full advantage of the mentorship and guidance of each of these Orthodox composers. Work under the mentors will begin on November 1, 2019 and continue until April 30, 2020–when all the compositions must be completed and submitted to the faculty for evaluation. The full faculty will select those compositions that will be included in the Master Class repertoire.

How do I know if I am a beginner or intermediate or advanced conductor?

Every musician and conductor has his/her unique set of skills, strengths & weaknesses, and level of training & experience. The best way to assess a conductor is through a face-to-face evaluation. Without this personal evaluation, applicants can rely on the following general criteria to assess themselves:

* Beginner conductors can be singers or choir directors who would like to become more competent as leaders on the kleros in order to fully step into a choir director role or acquire skills that will eventually allow them to step into a choir director role. As members of this category, you will be assessed for music skills prior to the Master Class and by the end of the Master Class you will have a long-term plan in place for continued growth. A baseline music theory skill is that you be able to match pitch and sing in tune. You need not have significant conducting experience or hold a current conducting position.

* Intermediate conductors are expected to read music, have a working knowledge of key signatures and staff notation, and be able to hear and accurately discern pitches and intervals; you should be able to sing any given part of a 4-part choral score, and have some experience directing an ensemble or currently hold a conducting position.

* Advanced conductors should have completed a music degree–either an undergraduate or graduate degree or be, at the very least, in their 3rd year of a 4-year music degree program. This presupposes the completion of the standard 2-year sequence of courses in music theory, ear-training, and keyboard harmony. Advanced conductors should have the basic ability to analyze a score and be able to play a 4-part choral score at the piano (not necessarily at a performance level or tempo). They should have, also, conducting experience with a choral and/or instrumental ensemble.

The good news for all level of conductors is that as soon as you register, you can begin to build your musicianship skills through an online course of study with Musition & Auralia, a music theory & ear-training program. Advanced conductors will also receive individual instruction via Skype sessions. Through this unique pre-event training, all conductors will be optimally prepared for the Master Class in June.

How will the different levels be taught?

The beginner & intermediate conductors will be taught as separate groups in a class setting. The daily, 3-hour blocks will focus on the development of manual technique & all the joints of the arm, the various ways of beating (legato, staccato, etc.) in all tempos, and expressive use of hands. Students will have the opportunity to apply concepts to assigned repertoire. The classes will be accompanied by a professional pianist. Qualified conductors from these classes may be selected to direct a hymn with the Master Class Choir. The Beginner Class will be taught by Dr. Irina Riazanova & Anastasia Serdseva, and the Intermediate Class by Dr. Peter Jermihov.

The advanced conductors will receive 2 to 3 hours of individual podium time. The morning sessions will be taught with 2 pianos and a professional pianist, while the afternoon sessions will allow each conductor to direct the professional Master Class Choir. The emphasis in this format of study will be mainly on manual technique with elements of rehearsal technique. Members of the Advanced Conductor Class will receive individual sessions with Maestro Steven Fox and Dr. Tamara Petijevic. They will direct the Master Class Choir at the All-Night Vigil and Divine Liturgy.

All conductors will receive written feedback from their colleagues and from the professional singers in the Master Class Choir.

What other training will I receive during the Masterclass?

Pitch-giving with a tuning fork, the use of the voice in teaching a score, score analysis and preparation, development of "inner" hearing, daily instruction in ear-training, appreciation of newly-composed music, and inquiry into arranging chants and composing music suited for worship. A unique feature of this masterclass is the inclusion of a category for composers who are also advanced conductors; composers often are placed into situations where they must conduct their own compositions but lack the necessary training in conducting; here, they will have a chance to not only gain the needed skills to conduct but have the opportunity of hearing and directing their own compositions.

What skills & benefits can I expect to gain after completing the Masterclass?

Each track and level of participation will receive its own focused training. Conductors can expect to acquire and perfect a basic conducting apparatus–proper stance and hand position, appropriate-to-the-music hand movement, the ability to hear the score and connect their inner ears to their hand gestures, the ability to understand the style of the hymn at hand and its proper character within a liturgical framework, and most importantly, the knowledge of how to practice & prepare for performance and a self-awareness of the need for improvement in specific areas of competency. All conductors will be video-recorded while on the podium and receive a written summation of their work in the masterclass from the master teachers.

Composers can expect to gain more clarity on compositional intent and the technique by which that intent might be realized, a better understanding of the various musical traditions within the Church, and more knowledge of and insights into Church hymnography.

Will the course of study be challenging or even intimidating?

Yes and no. All participants will be encouraged to expand their comfort zones but the activities will be conducted in a supportive, collegial, and caring manner. Growth occurs when we reach beyond our comfort zones and become open to "otherness." For more insight into past masterclasses taught by Maestro Jermihov, please visit: https://patraminstitute.org/chicago-advanced-conducting-master-class-observers-and-students-share-their-opinions/

Is there any financial aid available?

Yes. A scholarship fundraiser will be established on Facebook with the goal of providing 2 scholarships in each category of participation. As funds become available through donations, especially by parishes that wish to support a musician from their community, the awards will be made on a need and merit basis. Applicants may wish to inquire about the availability of financial aid at the time of their registration.

How will out-of-town participants travel from the airport to their place of residence and the Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral and back to the airport?

Participants must make their own in-city travel arrangements. If participants stay at the recommended hotel, a shuttle will be provided from the hotel to the Cathedral, but the hotel is walking distance to the Cathedral. Participants who stay at the hotel offered through the Society will have the option of traveling to the Cathedral by shuttle.

What meals will be provided as part of the tuition?

A lunch will be provided on Thursday, Friday & Saturday, a snack before the All-Night Vigil on Saturday, and a banquet on Sunday after the Divine Liturgy.

I have more questions. Who do I address them to?

Please send an email to societystromanos@gmail.com


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Fr. Ivan Moody, Ph.D.

“How do I understand that words proceed into deeds? (…) from the fact that imitating the angelic choir, and endless hymnology is offered to God (…). Above, the armies of angels praise while below the people are standing in the choir of the church and imitating their praise. The Seraphim above cry the thrice-holy hymn and the people below raise the same hymn.”

St John Chrysostom, “Homily on Ozias.”

Patrologia Graeca; Paris: Migne, 1862.


Composing for the Orthodox Church is a task that requires both humility and daring. Like so many aspects of the Orthodox faith, this is a paradox that challenges us and simultaneously enables us. We require humility before the traditions of the Church, and daring in order to take hold of them and work with them, or, perhaps, have them work with us. These traditions (and I used the plural advisedly) should be the basis for any composer writing sacred music. But the

Church is dynamic, not static, and if we are not able to harness that daring, we are essentially creating museum pieces rather then renewing within tradition.

I am not interested in teaching students to write church music; my approach has always been to teach them to write music, to be able to make use of the full array of compositional tools and techniques available to them. Specialization comes later. And even at that later stage, I expect students to be able to absorb lessons from other traditions, from other repertoires, from other periods, that will help them to work in the best way possible within the framework of Orthodox liturgical traditions, rather than assuming that it is possible to live in a vacuum and ignore the riches of centuries of musical history.

Naturally there is also a category of work that falls outside the strictly liturgical, even though it may make use of liturgical texts. This paraliturgical music is also something with which I am much concerned, providing us as it does with a way of presenting Orthodox culture(s) on a wider platform, and in fact it is something in which the above observations concerning tradition and renewal have just as much relevance, given the relative freedom one has outside the strictly liturgical context.

In both cases, however, to be able to find the music for “endless hymnology”, we need to learn what it means, as St John Chrysostom says, to imitate the praise of the armies of angels. That is no small task, and in turn requires a technical facility that is not acquired without humility, daring and application.


Fr Ivan Moody studied music and theology at the Universities of London, Joensuu and York (where he took his doctorate). He studied composition with Brian Dennis, Sir John Tavener and William Brooks. His music has been performed and broadcast all over the world, and commissioned by world-renowned artists.

His largest works to date are Passion and Resurrection (1992), the Akathistos Hymn (1998) and Qohelet (2013). Other significant works from recent years include the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom No. 2 (Greek Liturgy), commissioned by the St Romanos Choir of Chicago, The Land that was Not, commissioned for the BBC Singers and ‘cellist Nicholas Altstaedt and premièred in London in October 2014, and the Dante Trilogy, for choir and ensemble (O Luce Etterna, Oltre la Spera, and Cielo della Luna, premièred in Portugal and the USA). In 2016 he completed Los Espejos de Velázquez for the pianist Artur Pizarro, Paris, 7 a.m. for soprano Suzie Leblanc, a Petrarch cycle, Le Vergine, for Stimmwerck, Lacrimae for the brass ensemble Septura, and the large-scale Vespers Sequence for New York Polyphony, premièred to great acclaim in New York in January 2017. In 2017 he completed Psalm Antiphon for the Lisbon University Chamber Choir, a companion work to Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, two works in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Singer Pur, commissioned by Singer Pur and the Regensburger Domspatz, and in 2018 Isangele, premièred by the English Chamber Choir at the Patmos Festival of Sacred Music, and a set of three motets for Trio Mediaeval. Works completed this year include Tanninim for tuba and piano, to be premièred in Alcobaça, Portugal, by the composer’s daughter Sofia in August.

As a conductor, Ivan Moody has directed and collaborated with many choirs and vocal groups, notably Voces Angelicae and the Kastalsky Chamber Choir in Britain (both of which he founded) and Capilla Peña Florida in Spain. In 1992 he was invited by Radio Nacional de España to direct the inaugural concert in celebration of Columbus Day, broadcast live to more than 30 countries. He is a founder member of Ensemble Alpha, specializing in eastern and western mediaeval music, and which has given hugely successful concerts in various European countries and the USA, and of the Pravoslava chamber choir. He is in frequent demand as a guest conductor, and has given courses with a number of groups, such as Capilla Peña Florida (Spain), Vértice and the choir of the Semanas Internacionais de Música (Portugal), the Early Music Ensemble of the UFF (Brazil), Cappella Romana (USA), the Winterthur Vocal Ensemble (Switzerland) the Orthodox Choir of the University of Joensuu (Finland), the choir of St George’s Cathedral, Novi Sad (Serbia), Sforzinda (Spain), the Odyssea Choir (Portugal), the Chamber Choir of the Academy of Arts, Novi Sad, (Serbia) and Vox Laci (Portugal). He is a co-founder, together with Peter Phillips, Pedro Teixeira and Jordi Abelló, of the choral course Victoria 400, held in Barcelona.

As a musicologist, Ivan Moody has published extensively on the music of the Balkans, Russia and the Mediterranean, with a particular emphasis on contemporary and sacred music. His book Modernism and Orthodox Spirituality in Contemporary Music was published in 2014. He is a researcher at CESEM – Universidade Nova, Lisbon, having previously been Professor of church music at the University of Eastern Finland, and is founder and president of the International Society for Orthodox Church Music, founder member of the music panel of the European Academy of Religion and Coordinator of the Music Panel of the International Orthodox Theological Association. He is a protopresbyter of the Orthodox Church (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople) and rector of the parish of St John the Russian in Estoril, Portugal.

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Dr. Kurt Sander


Excerpts from On the Need for a Living Orthodox Creative Tradition by Kurt Sander.

Every Orthodox Christian has an obligation to nurture creativity in some way, as it remains one of the most essential and immediate ways we have to glorify God. God has given us, through His creative image, a mind that can conceive of things out of nothingness—to create art and music out of light and sound. He gave us voices to sing in a whole spectrum of notes and keys. He gave us the whole theory behind tonal music and its harmonic makeup which resonates throughout the natural world in mathematical proportions and ratios. He gave us these things that we might draw closer to Him.

Creativity is a delicate and temperamental thing. If overindulged, it suffers from excess. If constrained, it responds in passive silence. If neglected, it departs from us taking with it answers to some of the most fundamental questions of our being. Yet, despite creativity’s mutable nature, the Orthodox Christian has an obligation to nurture it, as it remains one of the most essential and immediate ways we have to glorify God. From a Christian perspective, the fountainhead for all human creativity remains the Divine act of creation. Of all that we confess in the Nicene Creed, nothing is more fundamental to the faith than the affirmation of God as Primordial Artist: the “Maker of Heaven and the Earth, and of all things visible and invisible.” The recurrent liturgical emphasis on God as the quintessential Creator obligates us to acknowledge the creativity of man as both a reflection of the image of God and an indispensable extension of our faith.

The moment that God willed us into existence, He gave to us an image of His own creative nature that manifests itself in in three ways: love, discernment, and free will. The first part of this image, love, can be considered the primary motivation for all creative activity. St. Isaac the Syrian reminds us that God’s creative will emanates from His inherent goodness, “brought about with a love that cannot be measured.” And so, as we were created out of love, out of love do we also create.

But love, alone, is incapable of ensuring good creative fruit. For this reason God offers us a second portion of His image given to us in the form of discernment. Holy Scripture describes discernment as a type of wisdom enabling us to recognize the intrinsic virtue in what we do or create. The Book of Genesis repeatedly emphasizes the good that God saw in His creation. In realizing the creative image of God, we remain obligated to seek the good in our own creations, understanding that “good” is that which is pleasing to Him.

The final, and most fundamental, aspect of the creative image is free will. Without it there can be no creativity. Free will is essential because it gives us the option to choose right or wrong–to direct our creative aspirations to glorify the sacred or the profane. In choosing what is good, we show our love for God and also for one another. St. Paul writes in his Epistle to the Galatians, “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” Without free will, it is clear that our actions can never be completely born out of love nor do they demand our own discernment. Without free will, we cease to be creative.


Kurt Sander's compositions have been performed in twelve countries on four different continents. Much of his choral and instrumental work takes its inspiration from the sublime dimensions of the Eastern Orthodox faith and its rich artistic traditions.

While his record of work includes a variety of contemporary concert pieces, his energies are heavily focused on the composition of Orthodox choral music and research on the aesthetics of Orthodox creativity.

His sacred choral work has been sung by many fine performing ensemble throughout the world including Cappella Romana, the Choir "Kastalsky," the Cincinnati Camerata, the Cantata Singers of Ottawa, the St. Romanos Cappella, the Clarion Choir, Archangel Voices, and the PaTRAM Institute Singers. It has also been featured at the CREDO International Festival of Orthodox Choral Music by the Orthodox Singers. In 2017, the Patriarch Tikhon Russian-American Music Institute commissioned the composition of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom which was recorded in August 2017 and will be released under the Reference Recording label in early 2019.

Sander has also acquired notoriety for his chamber and orchestral writing. He was recently named a finalist in the American Prize for his song cycle Ella's Song about the life of St. Elizabeth, Grand Duchess of Russia. Other instrumental works have been performed by the Transylvania State Philharmonic Orchestra, the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, the Brasov Philharmonic (Romania), the Pleven Philharmonic (Bulgaria) and the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Synchronia, the Corbett Trio, the Solaris Wind Quintet, and the St. Petersburg Quartet.

Sander also is an active presenter and author. His research is directed toward the relationships between Orthodox iconography and music, and the unique traditions that inform the creative process for the artist and composer, more specifically, the work of contemporary Orthodox composer Arvo Pärt.

Sander currently serves as Professor of Music and Coordinator of Music Theory and Composition at Northern Kentucky University. He holds degrees in composition from Northwestern University, the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and Cleveland State University. His teachers include Bain Murray, William Karlins, Alan Stout, Rudolph Bubalo, Andrew Imbrie, and Alan Sapp.



Composition of Prayer by Matthew Arndt

St. Augustine says that the one who sings prays twice, while St. Theophan the Recluse

distinguishes amongst bodily prayer, attentive prayer, prayer of the feelings, and spiritual prayer. How precisely might music duplicate these different degrees of prayer? I find it helpful in teaching composition for the Church to relate praying with the body, mind, and heart and the through the Spirit heuristically to rhythm, melody, harmony, and silence, so as to make each of these parameters a matter for careful consideration.

Bodily prayer

Praying with the body means using reverent posture and gestures (such as the sign of the cross) and pronouncing the words correctly. In musical terms, this prayer means having tempi and rhythms that accord with such demeanor, and—above all—writing rhythms that fit the word stresses in English. The principle is this: the stressed syllables must be metrically stronger than the unstressed syllables, unless syncopated. This principle requires special attention from student and teacher.

The action of the muscles in bodily prayer corresponds to the activity of the will, whose desire more generally should be for God. Music can embody this constant desire through long-range voice-leading goals and paths (coordinated contrapuntally through rhythm), which give direction and flow to music through its many vicissitudes. This aspect is the most subtle and open to interpretation, and it is not necessarily a matter for deliberate planning unless disruptions become apparent to the teacher that necessitate analysis and revision.

Attentive prayer

Praying with the mind means attending to the words and crediting them in faith. In musical

terms, this prayer means shaping the phrases and the form to accord with the sense, grammar, and rhetoric of the text and the liturgical versus paraliturgical function of the piece. Praying musically with the mind also entails giving the line an intrinsic sense through repetition and variation of motives (the smallest recognizable repeated parts) and Gestalten (shapes of all sizes). Motives need not be emphasized or obvious, nor do they require a great deal of planning unless musical non-sequiturs become evident.

Prayer of the feelings

Praying with the heart means wordless communion with God. Music can embody this

communion through the harmonious mixing of notes, not only in chords but in all collections, such as scales. “Harmonious” does not mean pretty. “Harmonious” literally means fitting together, but what fits depends on what is fitting. It is fitting that we should feel pain of heart in our lowliness before God, and that is fundamentally what our harmony should convey. As St. Gregory says, God’s love is granted for tears. The danger of neglecting this pain and taking harmoniousness for granted by using banal or even misapplied formulae is great. (For example, one might try to harmonize Byzantine tone four in a major key with the final as the third scale degree, with the result that the leading tone continually goes unresolved as a melodic apex.) On account of this danger, and due to the variety and complexity of harmonic problems, this parameter requires special attention. It requires sensitivity to the sounds and capabilities of the human voice. It requires the ability to hear oneself precisely. And it requires sensitization to harmonic possibilities from an experienced teacher.

Spiritual prayer

Spiritual prayer is the gift of constant prayer through the intercession of the Holy Spirit. As the Spirit is in all places and fills all things, so music is conceptually surrounded by silence, and by acknowledging this silence music can gesture toward the Spirit and spiritual prayer. Music can work with silence as a kind of negative space weaving through various textures. It can also evoke silence symbolically, for example through pitch centers or tonics, if these are used.

Furthermore, as the Spirit is the giver of life, so music is nurtured by silence. Only standing in humble supplication and silence before God can one make ready to receive the music that is to arise, whether in composition or in teaching. For in teaching composition, the music is still not totally on the page but in a kind of hibernation, and it needs to be coaxed out, which requires a certain emptying of oneself in imaginative sympathy. In my experience, this orientation toward prayer and silence by teacher and student alike is central to tradition in church music. When combined with long practice and study in singing church music, it automatically results in the cultivation of what Archbishop Kallistos Ware calls an “aesthetic dialect” of a time and place, while relying on ostensibly traditional elements such as the Byzantine tones or tonal harmony results in a hodgepodge. Thus the one who composes church music prays not just twice but (at least) three times: in asking for God’s help, worshipping, and singing. And the one who teaches composition of church music must likewise pray for God’s help.


Matthew Arndt is an Associate Professor of Music Theory at the University of Iowa and a choir leader at St. Raphael Orthodox Church in Iowa City. He has also taught composition and music theory at Mercer University and Lawrence University. He holds a Ph.D. in Music Theory with a double minor in Music Composition and Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, an M.M. in Music Composition from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a B.A. with honors in Music Composition from Lewis & Clark College. At the University of Colorado at Boulder, he studied with Orthodox composer Richard Toensing of blessed memory, and at Lewis & Clark College he studied with composer Robert Kyr. From his conversion to Orthodoxy in 2009 until recently, Arndt remained mostly compositionally silent while absorbing church music and studying music theory. He researches the application of insights from the history of music theory to music theory pedagogy, analysis, and criticism. He also studies technical aspects of Georgian chant and has arranged Georgian chant for the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom into English. He is the author of The Musical Thought and Spiritual Lives of Heinrich Schenker and Arnold Schoenberg (Routledge, 2018) and several articles. Having found a mature voice, Arndt has recently returned to composition, primarily of church music and chamber music dedicated to his wife. His music is influenced by Georgian chant, Byzantine chant, Bach, Beethoven, Schoenberg, Theolonius Monk, Olivier Messiaen, Jacques Ibert, Arvo Pärt, and others.

Arndt collaborated with five other Orthodox composers, including Richard Toensing and Kurt Sander, on Heaven and Earth: A Song of Creation (a collaborative setting of Psalm 103), premiered by Cappella Romana in October 2018. For this occasion, he also composed a setting of the Jesus Prayer. Of these works, Matthew Neil Andrews for Oregon ArtsWatch writes: “Arndt’s The Jesus Prayer, closing the first half, came at me out of nowhere, right out of the gate crying a big Ligeti-esque wall-of-sound chord on ‘Lord!’ and proceeding directly to fluctuating chromatic micropolyphony, occasionally resolving to lightly seasoned fifths before shifting back into 2001 overdrive, the text looping obsessively, cycling through iterations of ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner,’ texture constantly changing, from vibrating clusters and close dissonant harmonies down to superquiet unisons. If I’d heard this in Seattle the previous night, I would have driven down here today just to hear this one piece again. Later, Arndt’s setting of his section of Heaven and Earth, ‘There is the sea, great and wide,’ used similarly dense harmonies to evoke ‘creeping things without number, living creatures small and great.’”

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Natasha Bogojevich studied composition in Belgrade with Srdjan Hofman, graduated with a thesis on nonlinear time in music composition for symphony orchestra titled Circulus vitiosus. She also studied piano, chamber, electronic, and computer music with Vladan Radovanovic and Neil Rolnick at the Radio Belgrade Electronic Studio and attended Master Classes for Film Music with Ennio Simeon. Her musical background consists of various interrelated activities in the area of traditional and electronic music, multimedia, performance art, and sound design for visual media (theater, film, TV and commercials).

Ms. Bogojevich is a former Assistant Professor of composition at the University of Music in Belgrade. She was also a collaborator in Belgrade TV - Cultural Production. Since 2003, Natasha has been on the faculty of DePaul University, where she teaches the courses Understanding Music and Intro to Composition.

Natasha's compositions include works for symphony orchestra, solo instruments, chamber ensembles, choral and vocal pieces, electronic and computer music, ballet, and numerous scores for film and stage music. She is the recipient of many awards for composition in former Yugoslavia (October Prize of the City of Belgrade, Josip Slavenski, Radio Belgrade, Association of Composers of Serbia) Awarded the top prize at the UNESCO's Rostrum of Composers in Paris, her chamber composition Formes differntes de Sonneries de la Rose+Croix was broadcast throughout the world.

Most recently her new works were premiered by the New York Miniaturist Ensemble, Versus Vox Ensemble, Amarone String Quartet, and Demetrius Spaneas who commissioned a piece for woodwinds, electronic, and film to present during his year long Euro-Asian tour. In October/November 2007 Natasha's music was presented at the prestigious Belgrade Music Festival, The Long Night of Chamber Music 190 Years of Brandenburger Theatre in Brandenburg and Berlin, Versicherungskammer Bayernin in Munich, AmBul Festival in Sofia, and International Rostrum of Composers. She also composed original music for Chicago Theatre Productions (Chopin Theatre, The Utopian Theatre Asylum, BackStage Theatre Co. etc.) and written original scores for indie feature films "Where It Gets You" and "Black Mail" which premiered in 2008.


Dr. Peter Jermihov


My energy to teach comes from my own passion for music and music-making. I encourage students to root themselves in their innate passion for music and then work to acquire skills in a life-long process of self-betterment. I advocate score preparation and an attitude of self-criticism in the classroom. My teaching philosophy is a kind of balancing act between the intrinsic-innate and extrinsic-acquired elements of a musician's persona.

I do not legislate religiosity or personal faith. I teach music–often sacred and Orthodox choral music in particular–and conducting. Within these boundaries, I encourage my students to explore their awareness of how sacred texts impact their connection to the music.

I am always searching for new and more efficient ways of gaining and imparting knowledge and skills, but my main concern is to present an image to the students of a man who knows his limitations, who is honest in his appraisal of himself and others, and who is constantly seeking ways of becoming a better musician and person. Awakening and nourishing a desire to examine and better oneself is the greatest gift a teacher can offer a student.


Born in Chicago of Russian-émigré parents, Peter Jermihov is an American conductor with Russian roots. A student of legendary, master teacher–Il'ya Musin, he has cultivated a versatile career by combining professional conducting engagements with teaching appointments, choral with orchestral conducting, and music-making with research. An internationally recognized specialist in Orthodox liturgical music, Jermihov is also a devoted proponent of East-West cultural exchange. He has led an initiative to commission and premiere new compositions from prominent Orthodox composers, including Ivan Moody and Kurt Sander. Jermihov’s doctoral dissertation was dedicated to Georgy Sviridov, and he continues to champion the music of this major composer in the West.

During his formative years, Jermihov studied conducting under such renowned choral masters as Eric Erickson of Sweden, Vladimir Minin of Russia, and Helmuth Rilling of Germany. He was invited to the Tanglewood Music Center under Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Ozawa as a Conducting Fellow and to the American Orchestra League’s Conducting Seminars under Kurt Masur and Leonard Slatkin as an Active Participant. He had the privilege of serving as Robert Shaw and Vladimir Minin’s assistant in preparing Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem at the 2nd World Symposium on Choral Music in Stockholm. Jermihov has served as director of choral and orchestral activities at several major state universities and private colleges. His articles and editions of choral music appear in the Choral Journal, International Federation of Choral Music Journal, Musica Russica, Inc., PSALM Music Press, and numerous other publications. He is Artistic Director of The PaTRAM Institute Singers and The St. Romanos Cappella.



Conducting is defined as a 'non-verbal behavior of a conductor' and, as such, is based on gestures. But those gestures should express the whole inner world of the person conducting, including broad knowledge of the music, intellectual and psychological potentials, emotional specter, and the physical condition. The art of conducting is very complex; it also includes leadership skills, organization and management of the ensemble with different people etc.

In addition, in church music, the conductor must have a deep understanding of the words and context of the church services and know how to transfer this understanding to the singers; all of this is essential for a person conducting sacred music.

To be precise and innovative at the same time, achieve the balance of tension and relaxation in every aspect, motivate the singers at each rehearsal, not just at the performance–these are some of the skills that I would like to teach students of conducting.

The Serbian St. Varnava wrote: "Music was the first consolation that Heaven sent to Earth after the Fall." Therefore, music is a comforting element in our lives, but it is also means towards salvation. I believe that collective (choral) singing is one of the great achievements of our civilization. Treat your choir with respect, but try to "squeeze" the most from it, and never stop learning how to do it.


Tamara Adamov Petijevic is a conductor, violinist, teacher, a researcher in the field of choral music, and leader and artistic director of three choirs and two symphony orchestras, with approximately 300 mostly young people. She conducts the renowned Orthodox Church Choir of St. Stephen of Dechani, the IsidorBajic Music School mixed and female choirs, and a professional vocal-instrumental oratorio studio Orfelin. She conducted the boys’ Choir of the Karlovci Seminary of the Serbian Orthodox Church as the first female-conductor and teacher in the history of that institution which was founded in the 18th Century. Petijevic’s choirs and orchestras won many prizes at national and international choral competitions and festivals. She was awarded the Best Conductor Performance at the Young Prague Competition, the title Ambassador of Good Will at Zimriya Festival in Jerusalem and several high national prizes for her pedagogical work. Her work as a researcher resulted in numerous projects, such as recording 10 CDs and editing and publishing three music collections of Serbian Orthodox music. She has served as a presenter and conductor at choral workshops for liturgical and choral music in USA, Canada, Italy, and Hungary. Petijevic is a member of the Regional Artistic Committee of Europa Cantat choral association, as well as many international juries for choirs and composition. In May of 2017 she initiated and founded the Serbian Choral Association. She completed her Ph.D. studies in conducting at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade, conducting Rimsky Korsakov's opera Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and writing her dissertation about the opera's oratorization.

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Conductor Steven Fox is Artistic Director of The Clarion Choir and The Clarion Orchestra, and is the newly appointed Music Director of the Cathedral Choral Society at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. He founded Musica Antiqua St. Petersburg as Russia’s first period-instrument orchestra at the age of 21, and from 2008 to 2013 he was an Associate Conductor at New York City Opera. He has also served as Assistant Conductor for the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artists Program and for Juilliard Opera. He has appeared as a guest conductor with many renowned ensembles such as Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in San Francisco, Handel and Haydn Society in Boston, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, Opéra de Québec, Music of the Baroque in Chicago and the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. His performances have also taken him to some of the most prestigious halls internationally, such as the Grand Philharmonic Hall and Hermitage Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Rachmaninoff Hall in Moscow, the Duke's Hall of London, and the Vatican. He has been called 'an esteemed director' by The New Yorker and 'visionary' by BBC Music Magazine. Of a recent Clarion performance, The New York Times praised his ‘deft guidance’ and wrote: ‘an inspired interpretation. Mr. Fox revealed the drama of the score with vivid dynamic shadings. Intonation and pacing were exemplary throughout the performance.’ In 2017, Steven and The Clarion Orchestra mounted the organization's first fully-staged opera production, Mozart’s Magic Flute. The production, staged by renowned Canadian director Alain Gauthier, was called 'a deft reach across two centuries' by The New York Times and 'a delight, on all fronts' by Opera magazine (UK). Steven was named an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, London, in 2010 ‘for significant contributions to his field in music,’ and has received GRAMMY nominations for his first two recordings with The Clarion Choir: Steinberg's Passion Week (2016) and Kastalsky's Memory Eternal (2018). In May 2018, Steven conducted The Clarion Choir in a performance with Madonna at the Met Gala, including the world premiere of 'Dark Ballet'. He has given master classes and clinics at The Royal Academy of Music, Dartmouth College, The Juilliard School and Yale University, where he served for two years as preparatory conductor of the Yale Schola Cantorum.



As musicians, we are always faced with the challenge of how to translate the composer’s vision into a meaningful and beautiful sound. The conductor’s role in this process is even more complex since he/she has to not only discern the inner meaning of the music but also be able to communicate that meaning efficiently to an ensemble and lead them in communicating this musical vision to the listener. My role as a teacher is to assist my students in this intriguing process of discovery and learning. I try to create a safe and engaging environment in which everyone can openly explore different ways of becoming better conductors and musicians.


Irina Riazanova received her Master of Music Degree in Choral Conducting with honors from the St. Petersburg State Conservatory, Russia and, upon immigrating to the United States, completed the Doctor of Music Degree in Choral Conducting from Northwestern University. Her doctoral dissertation, An inquiry into text and music relationships in Sergei Rachmaninoff's “Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom,” Opus 31, can be found at Northwestern University D. M. Publication Number: 3030539, 153 p., 1999. Her professional experience is multi-faceted, having served as an assistant conductor to Vladimir Minin in New York City and James Conlon at the May Music Festival in Cincinnati; as a professional vocalist in the Rockefeller Chapel Choir, St. Romanos Cappella, and PaTRAM Institute Singers; as a vocal coach at Lyric Opera of Chicago and Houston Opera; as a producer of a CD recording Holy Radiant Light with Gloriae Dei Cantores; and as a presenter and conductor at numerous Orthodox festivals and conferences across North America. Riazanova served as choir director and chanter in Moscow Patriarchate, OCA, and ROCOR parishes for over 25 years. She is currently employed as a full-time music teacher at Lincolnwood School District No. 74 and as an organist at St. Andrew Greek Orthodox Church in Chicago. She is passionately devoted to bringing young people closer to their Orthodox faith through singing in worship.

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"A skilled conductor can communicate a great deal to an ensemble through the use of gestures, without saying a word. Just with a pickup beat, a conductor can define the tempo, dynamic, and character of the sound that follows. This ability to communicate through gesture is very important to Orthodox choir directors, since we are faced with a vast body of liturgical hymnography that is constantly changing throughout the year and the common reality of not being able to rehearse all of it for all the services we direct. Therefore, by developing our skills in conducting, along with our knowledge of the order of services, liturgical repertoire, and choral vocal technique, we can become clearer with our gestures during services and more efficient during rehearsals. I strongly believe that by acquiring and continuing to refine all the basic “tools” in conducting, one can make a positive difference in the quality of the sound that one’s ensemble produces. It is my goal to equip church choir directors with the skills needed to navigate and communicate the many nuances of Orthodox liturgical music.


Anastasia Serdsev holds an M.M. degree in conducting from the Bard College Conservatory of Music and an M.A.T. degree in music teaching from Lehman College. She is a conductor, teacher, and performer of differing styles in music and an active participant in various Orthodox liturgical music conferences, concerts, and projects. Serdsev is particularly interested in the training of current and future generations of Orthodox church musicians in North America. On this subject, she wrote her conducting master’s thesis titled Orthodox Liturgical Music in North America: Finding a Place for Professionalism. At the 2017 PaTRAM Memorial Day Workshop,she gave a talk titled “Choral Tone and Prayerful Singing” and another titled ‘Working with Your Church Choir: Will the ‘Next Generation’ Follow?” at the 2015 Russian Orthodox Church Musician’s Conference. Serdsev regular appears as a conductor and singer at different Orthodox liturgical events. In April 2017, she directed the Prince Vladimir Youth Association Choir in its third annual Paschal liturgy and concert. In the preceding year, she travelled with select members of the choir to Ukraine, where they performed at several of the country’s most prominent monasteries. She has, likewise, participated in the Patriarch Tikhon Choir concert series in September 2013 and in the choir’s recording “Praise the Lord, All Ye Nations” in December 2014.


Paul Barnes, Pianist


Praised by the New York Times for his “Lisztian thunder and deft fluidity," pianist Paul Barnes has electrified audiences with his intensely expressive playing and cutting-edge programming. He has been featured seven times on APM’s Performance Today , on the cover of Clavier Magazine, and his recordings are streamed worldwide.

Celebrating his twenty-three-year collaboration with Philip Glass, Barnes commissioned and gave the world premiere performance of Glass's Piano Quintet "Annunciation" with the Chiara Quartet at the Lied Center for Performing Arts on April 17, 2018. The work is Glass's first piano quintet and first work based on Greek Orthodox chant. Barnes who shares with Glass a love for ancient chant, serves as head chanter at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Lincoln, Nebraska. Barnes sang the beautiful communion hymn of the Annunciation for Glass who then agreed to base the new work on that chant. In a Journal Star interview, Glass stated: "You have a world-class pianist in Paul Barnes. He's a pure piano virtuoso." The Journal Star described the world premiere as "meditative...striking...touchingly played by Barnes and the quintet, 'Annunciation' is a romantic, late-period Glass masterwork." Fred Child, host of APR's Performance Today was present for the premiere and wrote: "Pianist Paul Barnes put together and performed a thrilling evening of music!" Child's interview with Barnes and Glass and the world premiere performance of the quintet was featured three times on Performance Today in June, 2018. The New York premiere took place on May 12, 2018 in the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York Classical Review called the quintet a "fascinating mosaic of Glass's late style...with a warm inner expression that seemed to echo Brahms." And New York Music Daily labeled the quintet "magically direct...lushly glittering."

Since the world premiere, Barnes has performed the quintet in Chicago, Seattle, and Hartford, with the Chinese premiere at the Sichuan Conservatory in Chengdu. Barnes will perform the quintet in Vermont, Salt Lake City, Philadelphia, with the Canadian, French, and Austrian premieres in 2020. Barnes recorded the quintet with Brooklyn Rider in January of 2019 and will perform with Brooklyn Rider as part of an international CD release event at the Lied Center for Performing Arts on Oct 3, 2019. Nebraska Educational Telecommunications produced a video on the creation of the quintet and the collaborative relationship of Barnes and Glass which was recently featured on PBS News Hour.

Barnes twelfth CD New Generations: The New Etudes of Philip Glass and Music of the Next Generation has received rave reviews. Gramophone Magazine wrote, "Pianists of Barnes's great technique and musicality are a boon to new music." And American Record Guide commented, "This disc provides further proof of Barnes's ability to communicate new music with flair and passion." Produced by Orange Mountain Music, the recording features a selection of Glass's etudes juxtaposed with works by N. Lincoln Hanks, Lucas Floyd, Jason Bahr, Zack Stanton, Ivan Moody, and Jonah Gallagher. The sonic result is a breathtaking panorama of the energetic and expressive landscape that is twenty-first century piano music. Barnes has performed the recital version of New Generations in Vienna, Seoul, Rome, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and Chicago, Interlochen, and most recently at the 2017 Music Teachers National Association Convention in Glass's hometown of Baltimore.

Barnes also commissioned and gave the world premiere of Glass's Piano Concerto No. 2 (After Lewis and Clark). The Omaha World Herald praised Barnes playing for his “driving intensity and exhilaration.” Nebraska Educational Telecommunications' production "The Lewis and Clark Concerto," a documentary/performance of the concerto featuring Barnes, won an Emmy for Best Performance Production. Additional performances included collaborations with conductor Marin Alsop at the prestigious Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music and also the Northwest Chamber Orchestra where the Seattle Times called Barnes' performance "an impressive feat." The world-premier recording with the NWCO was released by Orange Mountain Music. Gramophone Magazine remarked that this recording is "certainly one of the most enjoyable recent releases of Glass's music...Paul Barnes is a shining soloist." Barnes gave the Chinese premiere of the concerto in December of 2018 at the famous Sichuan Conservatory of Music in Chengdu China as part of an inaugural American Music festival.

Orange Mountain Music also released Barnes' recording of his transcriptions from the operas of Philip Glass, including both the Trilogy Sonata and the Orphée Suite for Piano. Gramophone Magazine observed, “Barnes offers a surprisingly expressive reading…. Atmosphere and rhythmic vitality are important, and these qualities Barnes has in abundance.” The American Record said "Barnes is an expressive pianist with a lovely tone and a flair for the dramatic." The Trilogy Sonata and the Orphée Suite for Piano are published by Chester Music of London and are available at sheetmusicplus.com. Barnes' eleventh CD, The American Virtuoso, featuring the music of Philip Glass, Samuel Barber, and Joan Tower was released on Orange Mountain Music to much critical acclaim. The American Record Guide wrote, "Another fine release from the amazing pianist Paul Barnes...with a pianist like this, new American music is in good hands."

Barnes also commissioned a new piano concerto Ancient Keys written by Victoria Bond based on a Greek Orthodox chant. The world-premiere recording of this concerto as well as Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue was released on Albany Records. Barnes has also commissioned Victoria Bond to write a new piano work based on the Greek Orthodox hymn on the crucifixion of Christ. "Simeron Kremate (Today is Suspended)" is co-commissioned by the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts and the SDG Music Foundation in Chicago. The world premiere of Bond's new work was given at Kimball Recital Hall on March 3, 2019 with the Chicago premiere on March 10 at the beautiful Nichols Hall at the Music Institute of Chicago. Reviewers from the recent New York premiere at Symphony Space wrote: "Paul Barnes gave an exciting performance. He is a most visceral player!"

With performances throughout Europe, the Near East, the Far East, and the U.S., Barnes' unique lecture/recitals have received international acclaim. Liszt and the Cross: Music as Sacrament in the B Minor Sonata explores the fascinating relationship between music, theology, and the Orthodox icon. Barnes' live recording of this lecture recital was recently released on the Liszt Digital label. The British Society Newsletter reviewed the recording and wrote that Barnes was “a fine pianist and gives us a performance of resounding conviction.” Clavier Magazine wrote "It is a majestic, reverential performance that elevates listeners to the sacred experience Barnes so eloquently desribes in the lecture."

Barnes is Marguerite Scribante Professor of Music at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Glenn Korff School of Music. He teaches during the summer at the Vienna International Piano Academy and the Amalfi Coast Music Festival. In great demand as a pedagogue and clinician, Barnes has served as convention artist at several state MTNA conventions, most recently at Virginia in October of 2018, and was recently named "Teacher of the Year" by the Nebraska Music Teachers Association.

Upcoming performances include Barnes' latest lecture recital Love, Death, and Resurrection in the Musical Vision of Glass, Liszt, and Byzantine Chant. Barnes gave the premiere performance of this interdisciplinary event in Los Angeles with additional performances in Philadelphia, Arizona, South Carolina, Minneapolis, the Amalfi Coast Music Festival, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Nashville, Dallas, Chicago, Seattle, and the 2018 American Liszt Society Festival at Furman University. Barnes is also collaborating with Native Flutist Ron Warren and will give the world premiere of a new work for solo piano by Warren entitled Piano Distance at an interdisciplinary performance event In Harmony: Ancient Songs, Modern Voices at the Omaha Conservatory of Music.

Barnes' recordings are available on Pandora, ITunes, Apple Music, YouTube, and Amazon.

Staff accompanists

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Melita zdravkovic

Melita Zdravkovic was born in Nis, Serbia in 1988. She holds degrees in both Music Education and Piano Performance. She graduated in 2010 in the class of Aleksandar Serdar at the Univeristy of Nis – Faculty of Arts. In 2011, she received her Master’s Degree in Piano Performance in Nis, Serbia.

In the course of her education, Melita won dozens of competitions in Serbia and throughout Europe, such as the competition in Turin, Italy, in 2008, where she won the first prize with her twin sister in four hands, and the special award for the premiere performance of Skalamerija written for her and her sister by the composer Dragana Velickovic.

Melita was a winner of numerous scholarships for young artists. She worked in Music Schools and Academies as a piano teacher and an accompanist around Serbia and Kosovo since the age of 17.

Since 2011, Melita has been working with the Steinway Artist Cosmo Buono in New York, where she received a scholarship that enabled her to record her first solo CD in New Jersey, and the opportunity to hold concerts in Chicago and Boston and at prestigious halls such as Carnegie Hall and Steinway Hall in New York City.

Melita is the winner of the first Claudette Sorel Scholarship honoring the contributions of women performers to the world of classical music and offered through The Alexander & Buono Foundation in New York City.

Currently, Melita is completing her second Master’s Degree in Piano Pedagogy at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, where she has a full scholarship. She is also serving as a staff accompanist at Northwestern University in Evanston and works as a piano teacher at Metropolis School of the Performing Arts in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

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timothy morrow

Timothy Morrow is an American born pianist and composer. Born in 1999, he is currently a junior at Westminster Choir College studying piano and composition. There he has sung in choirs including the Westminster Chapel Choir, and Schola Cantorum. He also sings and accompanies the Grammy nominated Westminster Kantorei, an ensemble focusing on early music. He is also a cellist in numerous orchestras affiliated with the Westminster Conservatory and Princeton University.

Timothy's music career has taken him far and wide, performing in concerts and competitions all throughout Europe, most notably at the 2013 Cremona International Music Festival in Cremona, Italy. He has also performed in places such as Carnegie Hall, NJPAC, Steinway Hall, and David Geffen Hall. In January of 2019, he will also participate in the Texas tour of the prestigious Westminster Choir.

Currently, he lives in New Jersey with his loving family.

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Velislava Franta

Velislava Franta is a native of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. She started piano lessons at the age of 6 and graduated with a degree in Piano Performance from Dobrin Petkov National School of Music and Dance in her hometown. She continued her studies at the National Music Academy in Sofia, Bulgaria, where she earned a Master's degree in Music History.

Velislava is a piano instructor, accompanist, singer, and composer. Besides music, her interests include history and knitting.

This event is supported, in part, by generous

in-kind and monetary donations from

The Holy Resurrection Serbian

Orthodox Cathedral,

Ancient Faith Radio,

and numerous local vendors,

families, and individuals.