“The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom”
Lyrica Classic, with the support of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, presents:
WORLD PREMIERE of
The Divine Liturgy of
St. John Chrysostom
By Kurt Sander
As part of the International Music festival
Spread New Music to the World
Dedicated to Sergei Rachmaninoff's 150th Birthday Anniversary
For mixed choir and soloists in two parts
Priest and Canonarch – Maxim Kalinin (tenor)
Deacon – Maxim Peradze (baritone)
Sue Slagle, digital art
“The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom” is written for mixed choir and soloists singing a cappella in two parts (1. Liturgy of the catechumens and 2. Liturgy of the faithful). Sergei Rachmaninoff’s own composed setting of the Divine Liturgy inspired Dr. Sander to compose his own Liturgy in the great traditions of Russian Orthodox sacred music.
Dr. Sander's work personifies the search for peace of mind and tranquility during difficult life trials. It was originally composed using the canonical text of “The Liturgy of John Chrysostom” as used in English-language worship. Dr. Sander's music was later reinterpreted to fit the original Church Slavonic texts.
In 2019, the Liturgy was recorded by the choir of Patriarch Tikhon Russian-American Music Institute and released under the Reference Recordings label. In 2020, it received a Grammy Award Nomination for Best Choral Performance.
In 2021, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, ongoing communication between Kurt Sander and Lyubov Shangina, conductor of the Russian vocal ensemble Canticum Festum, revealed their common desire to create musical solace for all those affected by this misfortune.
With the financial support of Northern Kentucky University, the Liturgy was professionally recorded over a period of five months, from November 2021 to April 2022. This recording has an anticipated release date in April, 2024.
During the "Spread New Music to the World" festival, the Liturgy will be performed by vocal ensemble Canticum Festum, led by its art director and conductor, Lyubov Shangina, at Moscow Sobornaya Palata on November 30 and at Peter the Great St.Petersburg Polytechnic University, White Hall on December 19. The broadcasts of the concert will be presented on our YouTube Live channel in December 2022.
"I have never seen such a composer's Liturgy, where from the first to the last note this single idea of accompanying the semantic observation of the service was preserved," - says Lyubov Shangina, conductor of the Canticum Festum ensemble - "For me, Kurt Sander is the first author of such a Liturgical cycle. For either religious or far-from-religious people, this music becomes an important inspiration, air, breath, purity, and truth, which everyone needs so much today."
Kurt Sander's compositions have been performed in 14 countries on five 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. His sacred choral work has been recorded and performed by professional ensembles throughout the world, including Cappella Romana, the Kastalsky Choir (RUS), the Cincinnati Camerata, the Cantata Singers of Ottawa (CAN), St. Romanos Cappella, the Clarion Choir, Archangel Voices, the Patriarch Tikhon Choir, and The Orthodox Singers (RUS) and the PaTRAM Institute Singers.
In 2017, he received a commission from the Patriarch Tikhon Russian-American Music Institute (PaTRAM) for a new English-language setting of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. The recording of this work was nominated for a Grammy in 2020 under the "Best Choral Album" category.
Sander was one of five featured composers on the collaborative composition "Heaven and Earth," which was commissioned by the St. John of Damascus Society and was recorded in 2021 by the renowned choral ensemble Cappella Romana under the direction of conductor Michael Boyer.
Kurt 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), the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Synchronia, the Corbett Trio, the Solaris Wind Quintet, and the St. Petersburg Quartet.
Sander currently serves as a Professor of Music and Coordinator of Music Theory and Composition at Northern Kentucky University.
This project is funded in part by a grant from the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.
Lyubov Shangina was born in Moscow to a family of biologists. She studied music since childhood and graduated with honors from the Academic Music School at the Moscow Conservatory (Department of Choral Conducting, class of the teacher of the Honored Artist of Russia L.N. Pavlov) and the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory (Department of Choral Conducting, class of the Honored Art Worker of the Russian Federation, Professor V.V. Sukhanov).
From 2008 to 2011, she worked as a choirmaster of the Boarding School for Girls of the Cadet Corps under the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.
From 2012 to the present, Lyubov Shangina has been the artistic director and conductor of the Canticum Festum vocal ensemble.
Currently, Lyubov is an assistant conductor in the class of Professor Alexander Solovyov at Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory.
The vocal ensemble Canticum Festum was established in 2011. Its repertoire is very diverse – from masterpieces of the Western European renaissance to the works of our contemporaries. Also, most of the repertoire is a collection of leaders and members of the ensemble and their arrangements. Lyubov Shangina joined the ensemble as an artistic director in 2012. She is a graduate of the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory, class of the Honored Art Worker of the Russian Federation, Professor V. V. Sukhanov – Since 2012, the ensemble has repeatedly participated in various events and competitions in Russia and abroad:
• In 2013, the ensemble became the silver medalist in the Per Musicam Ad Astra competition (Torun, Poland).
• In 2014, the ensemble became a silver medalist in the All-Russian competition "Choral Moscow 2014".
• In 2016, the ensemble became a silver medalist in the VII festival-competition "Crystal Chapel 2016".
• In 2019, the ensemble became a gold medalist and received 1st place in the nomination "Chamber Choir" at the International Competition "Eurasia Cantata" in Yekaterinburg, received 1st place in the nomination "Chamber Choir" at the International Festival-Competition of Sacred Music " Crystal Chapel 2019,” and also became a bronze medalist at the XXVII external competition “Cantate Domino” in Kaunas, Lithuania.
• In 2021, Canticum Festum became the Laureate of the II degree at the I International Choir Competition. Viktor Rovdo, Minsk, Belarus.
Sue Slagle (SUE-C) is an award-winning artist, engineer and educator whose work in “real time cinema” presents a new, imaginative perspective on live performance.
Her performances blend cinema and technology into an organic, improvisational and immersive act, created from live cameras, light pads and video algorithms. She has always pushed the boundaries of human-computer interaction, employing emerging technologies and inventing many of her own, both through performance and tinkering with hundreds of students in her well-established teaching practice.
This trajectory has led her to begin development of a new audio-visual instrument that will allow the performers to create fantastical visual and sonic worlds, manipulated both by machine learning software and their human hands. Physical elements of the story will trigger the worlds they inhabit, with the performers augmenting the narrative with voice, gesture, text and sound. The result will synthesize a high-tech cinema, full of perspective shifts and immersive worlds, all created in real-time from the camera, video clips, photographs, drawings, machine-cuts, handmade paper and everyday objects.
Sue is a Creative Capital awardee and MacDowell Fellow and has been covered in The Wire magazine, BoingBoing and the MIT Press book Programming Media. She has performed at the Library of Congress, REDCAT, Ars Electronica, MUTEK, SONAR, Ann Arbor Film Festival, NPR’s Tiny Desk and Transmediale, collaborating with musicians such as Morton Subotnick, Luc Ferrari, Laetitia Sonami, AGF, Paul DeMarinis, Wobbly, Ava Mendoza and Negativland. Her video installations have been exhibited at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, LaBoral and Marco Museum. She has held adjunct positions at George Mason University, Mills College, California College of the Arts, Portland Community College and the San Francisco Art Institute and has lectured at Stanford, UCLA and internationally.