The male choir ‘Optina Pustyn’ was founded in 1996 at the Priory of Optina Pustyn in St.Petersburg in the Dormition church on Vasilievsky Island. With his blessing the activity of the choir, from the first steps the choir had research characteristics. In recent decades, the choir achieved the status of a research laboratory for bringing back to life ancient church chants: Znamenny, Putevoy, Demestvenny, Greek, Kievan one-voiced chants, and also many other kinds of Old Russian polyphonic chants: Znamenny polyphonic singing, and early polyphonic singing. Today the choir consists of 9 singers and 2 choir conductors and the concert staff has filled up to three more singers, altogether there are fifteen professional singers in it. Since the foundation, the choir has recorded thirteen solo albums. The choir is a permanent participant of Russian and international festivals, giving about 50 concerts a year. At the same time the male choir ‘Optina Pustyn’ is a liturgical choir participating in daily divine services of the Priory.

The choir has performed in more than 20 cities within Russia from Moscow to South-Sakhalinsk. In its home city of St.Petersburg, the choir gives several concerts in the Philharmonic Hall, in Capella and other concert halls every year. It has performed on tours in Germany, Holland, Spain, Italy, China, Columbia, Norway, Montenegro, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, Finland, Estonia, and France. The choir has also participated in joint concerts and recordings with the chamber orchestra ‘I Solisti Veneti’ conducted by Claudio Shimone in Padua and Verona in 2004. In July 2008, the program entitled ‘Singing of Ancient Church’ was announced in Regensburg. The program included Gregorian, Ambrosian, Byzantine, Kartalino-Kakhetinsky chants of V-XV centuries in their original languages. On March 2011, the choir performed the program Ars Aniqua & Ars Nova together with the Belgium conductor Paul Van Nevel, the choir sang the hymns of the XII and XVI centuries by old French and Flemish schools.

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