About the St. Panteleimon Choir
The St.Panteleimon Choir is an a capella choral ensemble based at the Church of St.Panteleimon in St.Petersburg, Russia. A choir exists since 7th April 1991. That day, at Easter, the first worship service took place in this very Temple after it has been ruined and desolated for 60 years.
Before that time each of the choristers was a member of a folklore group of St-Petersburg (former Leningrad) University. All of them went on ethnographic expeditions for several times, learned about traditional folk culture, participated in folk concerts and performances. On their own practical experience they perceived the proximity of folk and Orthodox Church traditions.
In the present time the St.Panteleimon Church is located on the territory of a mental hospital. The Church was built in 1870 by the Russian imperial family, but after the Russian Revolution it was occupied by the Soviet government and used as a medical supply warehouse. In 1991 it was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church, but in ruined condition. It is considered to be a parish temple for residents of city environs and support the spirit of workers and patients. Today this small very beautiful church wooden building is under the completion stage of restoration. For choral singing during worship service it is quite enough to have a choir consisted from 4-6 people.
The choir for the last 15 years of its religious service in the St.Panteleimon Church learned various repertoire of church songs: from Old Russian motet to present-day compositions of church composers. At the same time they did not lose an opportunity to perform folk songs especially during great religious holidays (Christmas, Easter), weddings or festivals. As a result the choir built up its own typical performance style. This is a main choir peculiarity. Moreover the choristers during their concerts performs both motets and folk compositions without any acoustic backings trying to reproduce more realistic the original musical ethnography. Another peculiarity of this choir is that many of the performing church songs were composed by their chanter, Mr. Zaharov.
The choir visited different European countries with their concerts for several times (for instance, Germany, Austria), in 1994 they visited the USA (Washington) for the first time within the bounds of the program “sisters-churches of big Seattle”.
For the time being the choir consists of 4:
1) Lubov’ Kryuchkova – soprano, graduated from Saint-Petersburg Academy of Culture and Art (the University now) by profession “folk singing”
2) Darya Kutz – alto, graduated from Saint-Petersburg University of Culture and Art by profession “folk singing”
3) Aleksei Zakharov – tenor, leader of a chorus (chanter), lead a choir during worship service,
composer, graduated from Saint-Petersburg (former Leningrad) Conservatoire, musicologist, specialist in folklore, teacher in Saint-Petersburg University of Culture and Art
4) Petr Zakharov – bass, professional singer and conductor, graduated from Saint-Petersburg Conservatoire, lead a choir during concert performances
"We are not a large, academic choir. We sing like the people sing in church choirs in the villages and monasteries of our country.
"Our most important purpose is to inspire people to pray. We want to reveal the Word of God."
"I get inspiration for the creation of music when I read the text of the psalms or prayers. It is the Word of God, and when I feel myself as a child of God, then God gives me the music for these texts. All genious comes from only one God. We are just a quill in His hand, but He writes the music with that quill." A Zakharov.