The Choir of the “Monastery of Holy Archangels”

The choir of the Monastery of Holy Archangels in Kovilj, Diocese of Bachka (Serbia) is a veritable revelation in the sphere of the contemporary spiritual music. Returning to the sources of the ancient mystical music, they sound authentic, sincere and genuine.
A whole range of canons, hymns and other compositions and forms which define the Serbian sacred music horizon they perform with profound concentration and intense focalizing.
Regarding the Choir members chant itself, it is the firm intonation basis and rhythmical orientation and above all the lack of excessive vibrato on the one hand, as well as the mannerism–either concert or opera-like–on the other, that highly distinguish it. Thus the supreme qualities of their performing are to be seen in their own, unique, and cultivated style.
The Serbian monks’ specific indifference and disinterest in musical artistry, in the past as well as nowadays, can be proved true by numerous examples from the practice. The brethren of Kovilj Monastery have taken upon themselves quite substantial task of restoring the orthodox chanting art based on the principles that have been valid in Church tradition since the ancient times.
In the monastery, the monks try to get acquainted with various interpretations of contemporary chanters throughout the orthodox spiritual universe. That is why there are among Kovilj brethren such music experts who are capable of both translating and tailoring the late Byzantine and recent Greek melodies according to the Church Slavonic texts, as well as of composing new chants after the traditional models.
The Kovilj Monastery Choir has studied and performed Byzantine church chanting successfully for more than twenty years now. The Choir has performed at numerous musical festivals and church celebrations: all-night vigils in the monasteries of Hilandar and Vatopedi at Mount Athos, Finland 2000, Moscow 2001, Belgrade Music Festival 2001, Festival de l’Imaginaire in Paris 2003; Days of Mokranjac 2004; Bulgaria 2006; the concert in the Synagogue in Novi Sad in 2013; the Phillokalia festival in Prague in 2013; Orthodox ecumenical gathering led by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to commemorate 1,700 years of the Edict of Milan in 2013 in Niš.
In 2015 the monastic choir performed together with The Kronos Quartet in Carnegie Hall in New York as part of the multimedia project Beyond Zero. The same year, in Athens they had a concert within the academic byzantine-musicological meeting titled: The Three Teachers: Chrysanthos, Gregorios, Chourmouzios and the new Byzantine Notation. The 200th anniversary.
Also, the Kovilj Monastery Choir participated in shooting of 14 episodes on Church chanting within the educational series Religious Mosaic which has been aired by national public service broadcasters.