The 8th Liturgical Music Conference of the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand is Held

With the blessing of His Grace Bishop George (acting on behalf of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion), this year's Russian Orthodox Liturgical Music Conference was held in Brisbane from September 27- October 2, 2017.

The international guest speaker at the conference this year was Archpriest Andre Papkov, Senior Priest at Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral in Chicago, IL. Fr Andre is a founding faculty member and director of the Summer School of Liturgical Music in the United States. In addition to heading the School, he teaches the first year level of the Liturgical Performance Practice course, a unique class that he developed to introduce students to the practical issues facing singers and conductors of Russian church choirs, and to address creative solutions to the most unexpected kliros situations. He has also been active in the work of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia’s Synodal Liturgical Music Commission for more than twenty years, and is presently serving as its chairman.

The conference comprisec workshops, lectures and many rehearsals, in preparation for the Saturday night vigil and Sunday morning Hierarchal Liturgy. There were 65 participants in this year’s event, including experienced singers and novices, and even Greek singers.

Fr Andre delivered a lecture on the life and work of Boris Mikhailovich Ledkovsky, the eminent composer and musician of the Russian diaspora: “Ledkovsky wrote the Cherubic Hymn during a time of sorrow. That’s the way he put it: ‘I suffered this composition out.’ Boris Mikhailovich had lost an eye to disease at the time, and as a result of intrigues, lost his employment at the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in New York and was forced to find a job at a match factory to support his family. It was during this difficult time that he composed the Cherubic Hymn. Remember him in your prayers,” said Fr Andre.

Ledkovsky not only wrote music but carefully collected handwritten notes of other composers living abroad, archiving and publishing them. Fr Andre also discussed other eminent musicians of the diaspora such as Valeria Konstantinovna Hoecke, a widowed mother of three who wrote her music at night. She wrote the service to the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God "of the Sign” and the moleben for safe air travel.

Helping organize the event, which consisted of rehearsals, workshops and lectures, were two of the best choir directors of the Australian Diocese: Andrei Laptev and Nicholas Kovalenko of Melbourne, who have labored for many years to improve the art of Liturgical music. Each participant received a book of various choral music compositions, from the very basic to complicated canons.

The next conference will be held at SS Peter and Paul Cathedral in Sydney in 2018.


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