The International Masterclass of Byzantine Chant in Iasi, the largest event in Romania dedicated exclusively to the teaching and performance of the Psaltic Art, now in its 16th edition, will take place between July 10-14, 2023.
This edition will be a very special one, especially dedicated to the commemorative year of hymnographers and psaltes. For this festive reason we have invited some of the most important performers and researchers of the Psaltic Art to Iasi. The event is organised by the Byzantion Cultural Association, the “George Enescu” National University of Arts in Iași, the Metropolitanate of Moldavia and Bucovina and the City Hall of Iași, in partnership with the Archdiocese of Suceava and Rădăuților.
This year, too, the renowned performer Panagiotis Neochoritis, Archon Protopsaltes of the Great Church of Christ (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople), will be present in Iasi, who will give intensive courses in the interpretation of the Psaltic Art, working at an advanced level with a select group of students who have extensive experience of chanting in the analogion. This year’s topic, The Koinonikon – analysis, technical performance and interpretation will be enriched with a new topic, Lenten Idiomela of Jakobos Protopsaltis. These two courses represent a high point in terms of complexity, following up on the series of topics covered in previous years by the renowned Master.
Following the tradition of previous editions, the event combines practical lectures with theoretical presentations, so that students will benefit from interdisciplinary lectures, debates and discussions in Greek and Romanian, with consecutive oral translation.
This year’s edition brings back the well-known researcher Prof. Dr. Georgios Konstantinou, conductor of the Greek Byzantine Choir (Athens) founded by Master Lykourgos Angelopoulos (†2014). Prof. Konstantinou, perhaps the most representative researcher of intermediate notation and one of the greatest theorists in the field, comes to Iasi with a particularly complex and appealing topic: Byzantine Music in its entirety. The interdependent relationship between the written and the oral tradition.
Prof. Maria Alexandru (Aristotelis University of Thessaloniki) will give a series of practical, interactive presentations on the life and work of the Holy Hymnographer Kasia, the most famous Byzantine composer. In addition to the students present, the vocal-instrumental ensemble Floralia (Iasi), the children’s psaltic choir Mini Byzantion (Iasi) and the academic choir Byzantion (Iasi) will participate in these presentations.
Practical courses on vocal technique could not be absent from our program. This year’s special guest is Marilyn Accaoui Leignel (Lebanon) who introduces us to the mysteries of Arabic psaltic chanting through the female voice. As a completely new aspect, we will have the opportunity to listen to the Lebanese singer performing chants in Romanian.
Singing technique in Byzantine music remains an area to which the organizers pay special attention, inviting this year, alongside Marilyn Accaoui Leignel, Ms Mihaela Grăjdeanu, soprano at the Romanian National Opera in Iasi.
The researcher Evangelia Spirakou (Thessaloniki) will give a particularly interesting presentation on The Offikia and performance practices of the Byzantine chorus. Also, in the year dedicated to the commemoration of psalters and hymnographers, we thought to explore the theme of the female presence in psalmody throughout the ages and to invite the distinguished researcher to speak about Women and professional chanting in Byzantium.
The event will include the Vigil service in honour of the miracle-working Icon of the Theotokos “Prodromitsa” (Tuesday, July 11, 4.00 pm in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Iasi), a presentation by Assoc. Prof. Irina Zamfira Bucescu-Dănilă, about Onufrie Bratu, a leading representative of the art of calligraphy in the Holy Mountain, with musical examples given by the Floralia ensemble coordinated by her, which will also perform a concert with pieces composed by Dimitrie Cantemir. The Masterclass will end with the Psaltic Music Concert “He who wants to learn music…”, which will take place on Friday, July 14, at 7.30 pm in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Iasi.
Whoever is interested and seek to register, they may click here: https://byzantion.ro/en/registration-form/