The ISOCM and SVS understand challenges exist in everyday parish life, limiting training and application of quality Orthodox liturgical singing and chanting.
The liturgical life of all Orthodox Christian communities regardless of their location in any country, must be dynamic and engaging if we are to be a beacon unto the world and share the light of Orthodoxy with this land.
For this reason, the Society and Seminary have gathered an elite class of presenters for the 2020 Symposium who will be leading masterclasses, workshops, conducting divine services, and offering keynote presentations.
Our goal is to offer participants with the best opportunities to learn from leading Orthodox Christian church musicians, providing the knowledge and resources which can be applied in local parish life across North America and throughout the English-speaking world.
With this knowledge and these skills, our hope is that together, we can use the gifts received from God to provide the beauty and prayer necessary for the spiritual growth of those in the choir, on the kliros, and those who worship with us.
The educators and presenters for the 2020 Symposium represent a cross section of musicians, musicologists, researchers, teachers, composers, directors, and singers in the Orthodox music world today.
Katie Boardman: Vocal Techniques
Boston-based soprano and music educator Katie Boardman strives to elevate musical excellence in concert and in the communities she serves.
A sensitive performer of music both centuries old and brand new, she appears with the PaTRAM Institute Singers on the recently released recording of Kurt Sander’s new setting of the Divine Liturgy (Reference Recordings 2019). Other appearances include the Rose Ensemble, the Boston Camerata, Red Shift Choir, Sourcework, and the Chamber Choir of St. Tikhon’s Monastery. She is one of the Voces8 US Scholars for the 2019-20 concert season.
Ms. Boardman keeps an active schedule teaching voice and piano lessons at two Boston area music studios. Her other teaching projects include vocal music workshops for local parishes, and she has taught voice classes at the Madison Early Music Festival and the Antiochian Archdiocese Sacred Music Institute.
A native of Wisconsin, she studied Vocal Performance and French at Augustana College, and holds a Master of Music degree in Historical Performance from Boston University.
She is a member of St. Mary Orthodox Church in Cambridge, MA
John Michael Boyer: Advanced Byzantine Chant
John Michael Boyer has been a professional singer, conductor, and Byzantine cantor since 1997. He studied Byzantine Music with Alexander Lingas, Lycourgos Angelopoulos (+2014), and Ioannis Arvanitis. He has sung with numerous ensembles, including Bay Area Classical Harmonies, Cantores in Ecclesia, and the St. Tikhon Monastery Chamber Choir.
John is a longtime member and featured soloist with Cappella Romana, and was made its Associate Music Director in 2017. He is also founder and Artistic Director of Próto, a collaborative duet with Lebanese-American cantor Deacon John (Rassem) El Massih; their seminal recording, Sun of Justice, was released in 2017.
John is an active composer and has produced new music for recordings Divine Liturgy in English (Cappella Romana), All Creation Trembled (Holy Cross), and Sun of Justice. In 2013, John set the English liturgical texts to traditional Byzantine melodies for the funeral of Sir John Tavener.
He collaborated on the new composition Heaven & Earth: A Song of Creation, for the St. John of Damascus Society, and conducted its premiere in 2018 with Cappella Romana. John’s book, Byzantine Chant: the Received Tradition – A Lesson Book is slated for publication in 2020, along with his Resurrectionary, an English Anastasimatarion using the translations of the late Archimandrite Ephrem (Lash) (+2016).
John married renowned Greek philologist and modern historian, Evangelia Boubougiatzi, in 2018. Their vision is to create an Institute of Byzantine Liturgical Arts and Hellenic Culture.
Robin Freeman: Introduction to Choral Conducting / Achieving a Unified Choral Sound
Robin Freeman is a New York-based singer, conductor, teacher, and researcher who is passionate about connecting and empowering people through music making. She is Director of Music at St. Vladimir’s Seminary. She holds degrees in voice performance and choral conducting, and is completing a Doctor of Education in College Teaching of Music at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Robin grew up in the forests of rural Maine, where her love of eclectic music was nurtured by her family, school, and community. As a singer, her repertoire ranges from early music to musical theater, jazz, and funk. She is a founding member of the vocal quartet Carnelian, a collaborative group of singers engaging audiences with superlative choral music to tell stories, spark connections, and transform listeners.
Robin has worked with a wide range of choral and instrumental ensembles, including children’s choirs, professional chamber choirs and opera choruses, off-Broadway choruses, university choirs, church choirs, and community choruses. Her ensembles have been noted for their “superb blend,” “crispness,” and “beautifully sensitive phrasing.” She is the founding director of the St. Vladimir’s Seminary Women’s Sextet, the first women’s choir to emerge from an Orthodox seminary.
2012 marked her first season as the Assistant Conductor of The Princeton Festival, where she served as the Chorus Master to critical acclaim. She has released three albums with St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press. A fourth album, due to be released in December, 2019, features her new arrangement of Arvo Pärt’s Habitare fratres in unum | Psalmus 133 (132).
Robin is the recipient of the St. Macrina Award for Excellence in Teaching at St. Vladimir’s Seminary. Responding to challenges facing parish music programs, she launched a new program in 2017 called "Revitalizing Parish Music.” Her research interests include democratic choral pedagogy and the social and spiritual dimensions of choral singing.
Archpriest Sergius Halvorsen: Achieving Quality Reading and Chanting in Liturgical Services
Father Sergius Halvorsen is Assistant Professor of Homiletics and Rhetoric at St. Vladimir's Seminary, and serves as Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program.
In addition to teaching homiletics and preaching, he also teaches courses in apologetics, faith and science, and Christian education Fr. Sergius received his M.Div. from St. Vladimir’s Seminary in 1996, and completed his doctoral dissertation at Drew University in 2002. From 2000 to 2011 he taught at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell CT, and since 2011 he has taught at St. Vladimir’s. Fr. Sergius is a priest of the Orthodox Church in America and is attached at Christ the Savior Church in Southbury CT.
An accomplished liturgical musician, he was director of the St. Vladimir’s Seminary Octet in 1995 and more recently he has contributed to a number of "Archangel Voices" recordings. (Some may know him for his recording of the “Dry Bones” reading from Ezekiel for the Matins of Holy Saturday.) Fr. Sergius is the author of “Church Reading: A Vital Ministry,” which is available on numerous Church websites, and since 1996 he has regularly offered workshops for Church readers.
His approach to church reading is based on an understanding of the Divine Liturgy as the work of God’s people to fulfill Christ's command to love God and to love the neighbor through ritual actions that are beautiful and intelligible.
Father Sergius currently lives in New Haven, CT with his wife and three children. He loves gardening, hiking, biking, and reading biographies and fiction.
Susan Harvey: Keynote Presentation: Music as Liturgy
Susan Ashbrook Harvey is the Willard Prescott and Annie McClelland Smith Professor of Religion and History at Brown University, where she has also served as the Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence, and the Director of the Program in Early Cultures.
She specializes in Syriac studies, early Christian history, and Christianity of the Byzantine and Syriac traditions, particularly with respect to women. She has received honorary doctorates from Grinnell College (Iowa), the University of Bern (Switzerland), and Lund University (Sweden), and is a past-President of the Orthodox Theological Society in America, and of the North American Patristic Society.
A recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, she has published widely in academic venues on women in ancient Christianity, monasticism, the cult of saints, hagiography, and early Christian hymnography. She is the author of Song and Memory: Biblical Women in Syriac Tradition (2010), Scenting Salvation: Ancient Christianity and the Olfactory Imagination (2006, 2015), and Asceticism and Society in Crisis: John of Ephesus and the ‘Lives of the Eastern Saints’ (1990, 2018).
She is co-author with several others of Jacob of Sarug’s Homilies on Women Whom Jesus Met (2016); co-editor with Margaret Mullet of Knowing Bodies, Passionate Souls: Sense Perceptions in Byzantium (2017); co-editor with David G. Hunter of the Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies (2008, 2010); and co-author with Sebastian P. Brock of Holy Women of the Syrian Orient (1987, 1998).
Prof. Harvey is working on a new book tentatively titled Women’s Singing and Women’s Stories in Ancient Syriac Christianity. In addition to her academic obligations, Dr. Harvey served for twenty-five years on the Eastern Orthodox – Roman Catholic Bilateral Theological Consultation for North America.
She is a tonsured chanter at St. Mary’s Antiochian Orthodox Church in Pawtucket, RI, where she is also the choir director.
Amy Hogg: Introduction to Byzantine Chant
Amy Hogg chants at St. George Antiochian Cathedral in Pittsburgh, PA. In 2011, after a varied teaching career in which she taught bilingual kindergarten, Spanish reading, first grade, Music Mind Games and Suzuki Piano, she began an in-depth study of Byzantine chant.
Amy has been guided in her study of Byzantine chant by Dr. Stephen Esper, Richard Barrett, Samuel Herron, and Dr. Nicholas Giannoukakis. Amy chants with the Byzantine Choir of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Pittsburgh and studies voice with Dr. Kimberly Steinhauer, president of Estill Voice International.
Amy has a performer’s certificate in Byzantine music from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, is a member of the board of the St. John of Damascus Society, and is the co-host of the AFM podcast, A Sacrifice of Praise.
Amy is the founder and lead teacher at Byzantine Beginnings, and is developing a chant curriculum that blends the best practices from other fields of education with the theory and praxis of Byzantine chant by using visual and concrete models, cooperative games, and ear training exercises.
She offers eight-week long intensive online courses for beginning chanters through her website www.byzantinebeginnings.com
Peter Jermihov: Advanced Choral Conducting
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 Fr. Ivan Moody and Dr 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 active as a guest-conductor and teacher throughout the world and has recently conducted the Russian-premiere performance of Kurt Sander’s Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom at the Moscow State Conservatory where he taught masterclasses in conducting for two consecutive years. In June of 2019 he organized the Orthodox Music Masterclass for composers and conductors which was held in Chicago and featured, exclusively, the works of living composers.
He is Founder & Artistic Director of the Society of Saint Romanos the Melodist – a not-for-profit corporation devoted to the promotion of Orthodox culture in America. His numerous recordings, including Rachmaninoff's All-Night Vigil with Gloriae Dei Cantores (Paraclete Press: GDCD-063) and The Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom by Kurt Sander with the PaTRAM Institute Singers (Reference Recordings: FR-731) – a recording which was nominated by the Grammy Recording Academy for Best Choral Performance (2019). The recordings under his direction are released by Reference Recordings and distributed by Naxos of America.
Protopresbyter Ivan Moody: Keynote Presentation: Liturgy as Music
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 performers. His most substantial works to date are Passion and Resurrection (1992), Akathistos Hymn (1998) and Qohelet (2013), and recent works include a marimba concerto for the Croatian percussionist Ivana Bilić, Vespers Sequence, for New York Polyphony, a set of motets for Trio Mediaeval, and Tanninim for tuba and piano, premiered by the composer’s daughter, Sofia Moody, in Alcobaça in August 2019.
He is also a conductor and musicologist. As a conductor, he has directed choirs throughout Europe and in North and South America, especially in early and contemporary repertoire. As a musicologist, he has published extensively on the music of the Balkans, of Russia and of the Iberian Peninsula, with special emphasis on contemporary and sacred music.
He has contributed to the Grove Dictionary, Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, the Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology and the Cambridge Companion to Stravinsky. His book Modernism and Orthodox Spirituality in Contemporary Music was published in 2014, and reprinted in 2017.
He is a Researcher at CESEM – Universidade Nova, Lisbon; Chairman of the International Society for Orthodox Church Music; and a Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, being rector of the Orthodox Parish of St John the Russian in Estoril, Portugal.
Archbishop Benjamin (Peterson): Keynote Presentation: Liturgy, Music, and the Cathedra
His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin was born in 1954 and was baptized and chrismated at Holy Virgin Mary Cathedral, Los Angeles, CA on April 27, 1972. In 1982, he was awarded a Master of Divinity degree and Certificate in Liturgical Music from Saint Vladimir Seminary.
A prolific musician, he served as choirmaster at parishes in Detroit, MI and Los Angeles and as chairman of the Orthodox Church in America’s Department of Liturgical Music. He was ordained to the Holy Diaconate on November 15, 1987 by Bishop Tikhon at his home parish, which he served for 10 years as deacon and youth and education director. The following year he was tonsured a riasophore monk by Bishop Tikhon and further tonsured to the lesser schema by Archbishop [now retired Metropolitan] Herman at Saint Tikhon Monastery, South Canaan, PA. In 1991, he was elevated to the rank of archdeacon.
On July 19, 1997, he was ordained to the Holy Priesthood by Bishop Tikhon. In 1999, Igumen Benjamin was transferred to the Diocese of Alaska, where he served as dean of Saint Innocent Cathedral and later as administrative dean of Saint Herman Seminary, Kodiak, AK. He was elevated to the rank of archimandrite in 2002. In January 2004, he was reassigned to Holy Virgin Mary Cathedral, Los Angeles, and appointed Chancellor of the Diocese of the West.
Archimandrite Benjamin was elected to the episcopacy by the Holy Synod of Bishops at its Spring Session in March 2004 as Bishop of Berkeley, Auxiliary for the Diocese of the West and His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman presided at his consecration to the episcopacy at historic Holy Trinity Cathedral on Saturday, May 1, 2004.
Following the retirement of His Grace, Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) of San Francisco, Los Angeles and the West in November 2006, a diocesan assembly nominated Bishop Benjamin as ruling hierarch on January 31, 2007. The Holy Synod of Bishops canonically elected him as Bishop of San Francisco and the West in March 2007. He was installed as ruling hierarch of the diocese on October 2, 2007. In addition to overseeing his own diocese, he provided archpastoral leadership for the Diocese of Alaska as its administrator in 2008-9 and as locum tenens from 2009 until early 2014.
He was elevated to the rank of Archbishop on May 9, 2012.
Tamara Petijevic: Choral Leadership / The Spiritual Dimension of a Church Musician
Dr Tamara Adamov Petijevic is conductor, violin player and teacher, a researcher in the field of choral music and leader and artistic director of three choirs and two symphony orchestras, with around 300 mostly young people.
She conducts the renowned Orthodox church choir St Stephen of Dechani, the Isidor Bajic Music School mixed and female choir 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 woman-conductor and teacher in the history of that institution from XVIII century.
Her choirs and orchestras won many prizes at national and international choral competitions and festivals. She was awarded the Best Conductor Performance at YoungPrague competition, the title Ambassador of Good Will at Zimriya Festival in Jerusalem and First prize Summa Cum Laude at the International Festival of Youth Orchestras in Neerpelt, Belgium; several high national prizes for her pedagogical work.
Her research work resulted in numerous projects, including recording 10 CDs or editing and publishing 4 books/music collections of Serbian Orthodox music.
She has presented and conducted at choral workshops for liturgical and choral music in the USA, Canada, Italy, Hungary, and Serbia.
She is a member of the Regional Artistic Committee of Europa Cantat choral association, as well as served on many international juries for choirs and composition.
In May 2017, she initiated and founded the Serbian Choral Association, today acting as a portal with over 120 choirs.
In 2018 she completed her PhD studies in conducting at the Faculty of Music Art in Belgrade with the project: "Oratorization of the opera 'Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh' by N. Rimsky Korsakov."
She teaches at the Music Conservatory in Novi Sad and very often does conductors’ seminars and masterclasses in Serbia and abroad. In the USA she has been a guest conductor and lecturer four times since 2011.
Maria Sheehan: Engaging Young People with Music / Para-liturgical Activities
Talia Maria Sheehan has been a professional vocalist and music instructor for over twenty years. Her musical background and performance experience is broad, including rock lead vocals, jazz and classical piano, operatic soprano, and folk and classical ensemble singing.
She received her musical education at Westminster Choir College, where she sang in the Westminster Choir under the direction of Joseph Flummerfelt, and appeared with them on many of the great American stages. As a professional ensemble singer she has appeared with Cappella Romana, the Saint Tikhon Choir, and the Grammy-nominated PaTRAM Institute Singers, among others. She was a featured soloist with Bach in Baltimore series in November 2019.
She lives and works at St. Tikhon’s Monastery and Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania. There she is a teacher of voice, music theory, and liturgical music, and directs a children’s choir and a women’s choir, as well as being marketing director for St. Tikhon’s Bookstore and Press.
Her musical instruction synthesizes age-appropriate vocal technique, with an early music influence, and systematic Kodály-based music pedagogy. She lives on the grounds of St. Tikhon’s Monastery with her husband, composer and conductor, Benedict Sheehan, and their seven daughters.
Grant White: The Theology of the Liturgy
Since 2015, Grant White has taught courses in liturgical theology at St. Vladimir’s, in the Seminary’s master’s and doctoral degree programs. The central motivation for his teaching and writing is the desire to help Orthodox parishes to faithfully and creatively discern, develop, and nourish the connections between the church’s liturgical life and its own life and witness in the world today.
The topics of his courses have included liturgical theology and pastoral ministry, liturgy and scripture, liturgy and mission, the daily office, Orthodox pastoral rites, and an introduction to Orthodox liturgical theology. Since receiving his doctorate in 1993, Grant has taught history of Christian liturgy, liturgical theology, church history, and historical theology at institutions of theological higher education in the United States, England, and Finland, and has served as Principal of the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies in Cambridge, England.
Besides teaching liturgical theology, Grant has also taught courses at the University of the Arts Helsinki, the premier institution of education for professional artists in Finland, on the topics of art and ritual and art and approaches to the transcendent in late modernity. He is currently working on a book tentatively entitled Living Tradition: An Orthodox Liturgical Theology for the 21st Century Church.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in comparative religion from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in liturgical studies from the University of Notre Dame. He has also studied Syriac language and literature at the Oriental Institute of Oxford University as a Fulbright scholar. He is a native of central Kansas, a member of the Orthodox Church of Finland, and resides with his family in Finland.
Nazo Zakkak began his musical career working in the fields of jazz, ambient, and experimental music. He earned his BM in Jazz Studies from San Diego State University in 2009 and in 2011, completed his MFA in Integrated Composition Improvisation and Technology from UC Irvine, where he studied with Kei Akagi. During this time, Nazo was an active jazz pianist and performed with some of the best improvisors in the field.
Shorty after completing his education, Nazo was introduced to the world of Orthodox hymnography and very quickly became involved in the creation of new liturgical music. His first arrangement was premiered and recorded on Their Proclamation, directed by Vladimir Gorbik and released by SVS Press.
Since then, Nazo has received commissions from various monasteries and churches across the US and was brought on to be Composer-in-Residence by the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. He continues to lead workshops in composing, arranging, and youth choirs.
In 2017 Nazo released an album of original Orthodox hymns, Luxari, and his works have been recorded by several choirs, most notably Archangel Voices and the SVS Women’s Sextet among many others. Early 2019 saw the completion of his first Liturgy, Divine Liturgy No. ½¸ which continues to be performed by various parishes in the US.
Nazo is fluent in writing for concert choirs as well as humble parish choirs; his most recent commissions include a concert setting of the Doxastichon of Pentecost, for the Spirit of Orthodoxy Choir, and a simple 2-part arrangement of The Akathist to Archangel Michael, which is to be completed near the end of 2020.
Nazo is currently the choir director at St. Anthony’s Antiochian Orthodox Church in San Diego, California.