The Festive Choir of St Elisabeth Convent has long been popular with the lovers of church music. The parishioners of Ss Peter and Paul Cathedral in Minsk enjoyed its singing for a decade. However, Irina Denisova, the precentor of this choir, decided to pledge herself to the Lord in November 2007, so she became a novice, and then a nun, in St Elisabeth Convent. Soon the singers of this choir who did not want to bid farewell to their leader followed her in order to participate in worship in St Elisabeth Convent on Sundays and feasts.
All members of this choir are musicians: choir directors, musicologists, composers, performers. Among them, there are candidates of art studies, laureates and award winners of international competitions, directors and soloists of choirs in the capital city.
The repertoire of the choir has undergone significant changes during its monastery period. These changes included reduced use of author music and an emphasis on new harmonisations of znamenny and Byzantine chants. The major part of this new repertoire is represented by chants harmonised by Nun Juliania (Denisova), the precentor of the Festive Choir. The main aim of the choir has always been to make church worship beautiful and awe-inspiring.
St Elisabeth Convent released several discs with this choir, as well as The Nun – a documentary about Nun Juliania (Denisova), its precentor.
The lay brothers’ choir has made remarkable progress and has achieved a high standard of musical performance, on par with the other choirs and mature performers.
At Saint Elisabeth Convent, Nun Juliania is the Senior Precentor and conductor of its Festive Choir. We asked her about the meaning of her creative work and the impact of her spiritual life on her growth as a musician.
Sister Irina Kolesnikova, the conductor of the monastic choir "Anima", names five musical pieces that influenced her musical career and personal growth.
This choir grew out of an amateur choir of the sisters of charity. There are now as many as 20-25 members of this choir who sing during feasts.
Maria Bakhvalova is a new director of the Convent’s Monastic Choir and has worked with many choirs, participated in international competitions and won prestigious awards.
We decided to interview the precentor of the Brothers’ Choir of St Elisabeth Convent to learn more details about the way of church singing in the Convent today.
The Rejoice Choir of the Sisters of Mercy of our Convent recently performed concerts in Sweden at the invitation of Elizabeth and Basilius Wingård, our dear friends.