Choir of the Moscow Sretensky monastery has existed for over 600 years – since the monastery was founded in 1397. Break of its activity occurred only in the years of persecution of church in Soviet era.
The choir gradually started to acquire its modern features in a reviving monastery about 10 years ago.
In 2005, with a blessing of Bishop Tikhon (Shevkunov), the choir was headed by its current regent — Nikon Stepanovich Zhila. The choir started to work on recording studio albums and maintain an active concert tours along with the monastery Divine Services.
The basis of the choir is the seminarians, seminary students and graduates of the Moskow Sretensky Seminary and Academy. No less important part of the collective is the vocalists from the Moscow Academy of Choral Art, Moscow Conservatory, the Gnesins Russian Academy of Music.
There are talented composers and arrangers among the choir members: Fedor Stepanov, Alexander Amerkhanov, Andrey Poltorukhin, Roman Maslennikov. First-class soloists: Dmitry Beloselsky, Mikhail Miller, Mikhail Turkin, Ivan Skrilnikov, Petr Gudkov, Alexander Korogod, Alexey Tatarintsev.
In adition to regular Divine Services at the Sretensky monastery, the Sretensky monastery choir sings in the most solemn Patriarchal Services in the Moscow Kremlin, participates in international music competitions and missionary journeys of Russian Orthodox Church.
In addition to spiritual music, the best compositions of a song tradition of Russia are collected in the repertoire of the choir – Russian, Ukrainian and Cossack folk songs (“On the Hill, on the Mountain,” “Steppe Is All Around”, “The Spring Shall Come, But Not For Me,” “Brothers, It Is Good to Live,” “Night Is So Moonlit, ” “On the Mountain”). Wartime songs such as “Enemies Burned My Family Home,” “Roads,” or early twentieth century waltz “On the Hills of Manchuria”, sound unique, because the Sretensky choir performs them acapella. Popular and favorite songs, “White Acacias,” “Misty Morning” in choral arrangement do not leave indifferent neither professional nor amateur music devotees in Russia and abroad.
In recent years Sretensky monastery choir has recorded several music albums with spiritual hymns and best songs of classical and folk repertoire.
Participation of the choir in the Russian Orthodox Church:
Joint consecration of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russian Temple at the Butovo firing renge by Patriarch Alexy and Metropolitan Laurus (2007).
Visit of His Holiness Patriarch in Vologda Eparchy in 2007.
Concert devoted to 90th anniversary of renewal of the Patriarchal Service in the Orthodox Church in 2007.
Concert in honor of opening the first Orthodox Church (Great Martyr Catherine) in Rome.
Consecration of the Cathedral in the Iversky monastery in Valday in 2008.
Consecration of the Temple of Saints Constantine and Helen in Istanbul (Turkey, 2009).
Concert at the historic Temple “St. Irene” in Istanbul for the Most Holy Patriarchs – Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople and Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill. (Turkey, 2009).
Foreign missionary trips of the choir:
In 2005 the choir participated in the reburial of the remains of General A. Denikin and philosopher I. Ilyin, and accompanied the funeral service in Paris and Moscow.
In 2006 the choir performed in Belgrade for the President of Serbia and in the hall “Auditorium” in the papal residence in the Vatican.
The choir performances went with triumph in Paris in the same year – a Divine Service at the Cathedral of Notre Dame (Notre-Dame de Paris) and a concert at UNESCO.
In 2007 the choir made a round-the-world tour, dedicated to the unification of the Russian Orthodox Church. Conserts were held in the best concert halls of New York, Washington, Boston, Toronto, Melbourne, Sydney, Berlin and London.
In 2008 within the bounds of the mission of the Russian Orthodox Church the Sretensky monastery choir participated in the “Days of Russia in Latin America” and performed in Costa Rica, in Havana, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Ansuncion with great success.