Teachers of Byzantine Music in English

Dimitri

Δημήτρης Κουμπαρούλης, Administrator
Staff member
#1
Here let's start a list of teachers around the world who teach Byzantine Music in English.
 

Dimitri

Δημήτρης Κουμπαρούλης, Administrator
Staff member
#4
I would add Mr. Photios Ketsetzis, who teaches Byzantine Chant at Hellenic College/Holy Cross in Brookline, MA.
Not anymore, as mentioned in the Greek part of the forum. He lives and chants in Athens (Piraeus) now.
 

Dimitri

Δημήτρης Κουμπαρούλης, Administrator
Staff member
#5
Because my original post may be confusing, I meant teachers that teach Byzantine music (either using Greek or English music scores) but do (or can do) their lessons in the English language. Here in Sydney, Australia, the school of the Archdiocese operated for many years as bilingual (but closed down this year due to lack of teacher availability unfortunately). Teachers that use (or can use) English language in their courses are Asterios Zouriakas (the protopsaltis of the Archdiocese), Fr. Gerasimos Koutsouras (priest of St. George Rosebay church), Basil Stavropoulos (protopsaltis of Transfiguration, Earlwood parish), Vasili Psilacos (protopsaltis of St. Andrew, Gladesville parish), myself (St. George monastery, Springwood) and possibly others that escape me now.
 

Nikolaos Giannoukakis

Παλαιό Μέλος
#6
Apostolos Combitsis in Toms River, NJ USA

Fr. Ephraim at the Monastery of St-Anthony in Arizona, USA

Fr. Odysseas Drossos in Markham, Ontario, Canada

Fr. Elias Drossos in London, Ontario Canada

...and myself in Pittsburgh, USA

NB: There are many "self-taught" individuals who claim they understand BM in the US, but the reality is that, competent they may be to serve a parish, they do not possess the depth, nor have they been systematically taught by traditional chanters (the old timers in Greece and elsewhere who have an international acclaim and respect). Such people, useful as they are to offer an overview and a basic tutelage, eventually cannot help someone who really wants to progress beyond Ni-Pa-Vou.

The National Forum of Church Musicians of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in the USA and their appointed experts fall into the above designation. Sadly, the National Forum avoids engaging the few knowledgeable and traditionally-trained chanters in the USA (Nikos Georgafentis, Iraklis Panagiotidis, Dimitrios Papas, Apostolos Combitsis above and the small remainder......).

Soon, there will be a School of Byzantine Music that will be unique in character and accessible at a distance in real time, with links to respected and acclaimed "elder" chanters in Greece. It will involve a number of the traditionally-trained chanters in the US in live broadcasts and Q&A periods, as well as a library of in-depth systematic lessons, and it is a project of the American Society of Byzantine Music and Hymnology (www.asbmh.pitt.edu). Most importantly, it will be free to all with an annual three-four week intensive course and on site tutelage in Pittsburgh (projected to begin this summer).

Look at this link for now:
http://www.asbmh.pitt.edu/page21/page21.html

NG.
 

GabrielCremeens

Music Director at St. George, Albuquerque, NM
#7
Not anymore, as mentioned in the Greek part of the forum. He lives and chants in Athens (Piraeus) now.
Really? Then who will teach Byzantine Chant at Hellenic College/Holy Cross? Is Fr. Nicholas Kastanas still there?

Also, I have a 2010-2011 course catalog for HCHC (God willing, I will be attending there this fall), and Mr. Ketsetzis is listed as teaching Byzantine Music I-VI. So I guess if he is in Athens now, someone will be replacing him...
 

Nikolaos Giannoukakis

Παλαιό Μέλος
#8
I am not sure about Fr. Kastanas, but I have heard that Grammenos Karanos who is the chanter of the Cathedral over there will be temporarily teaching form time to time. I haven't confirmed this with him, just rumors for the moment......

I fear that the philosophy of the Seminary is to do away with Byzantine Music altogether given that multipart harmony choirs are the de facto reality in the overwhelming majority of US parishes. And there are forces within the Archdiocese that are, at the surface, paying lip service to chant but, much evidence suggest the contrary (i.e. they do not support it-National Forum of Church Musicians)

I am not at all convinced that they (the Seminary) intend to find someone with the depth in knowledge and credibility to teach (like Savas and Ketzetzis), Fr. Kastanas notwithstanding (who is otherwise a very capable teacher).

Any effort to preserve Byzantine Chant (at least in the tradition of Constantinople and mainstream Greek chant) will, for the time being, be coming from private efforts whose objectives are NOT profiteering and membership dues......

NG.
 

basil

Παλαιό Μέλος
#9
Really? Then who will teach Byzantine Chant at Hellenic College/Holy Cross? Is Fr. Nicholas Kastanas still there?

Also, I have a 2010-2011 course catalog for HCHC (God willing, I will be attending there this fall), and Mr. Ketsetzis is listed as teaching Byzantine Music I-VI. So I guess if he is in Athens now, someone will be replacing him...
I don't know what the long-term plans are, but for the time being, the courses are being taught by students. Rassem el-Massih is teaching two of them.
 
#13
I am not sure about Fr. Kastanas, but I have heard that Grammenos Karanos who is the chanter of the Cathedral over there will be temporarily teaching form time to time. I haven't confirmed this with him, just rumors for the moment......

I fear that the philosophy of the Seminary is to do away with Byzantine Music altogether given that multipart harmony choirs are the de facto reality in the overwhelming majority of US parishes. And there are forces within the Archdiocese that are, at the surface, paying lip service to chant but, much evidence suggest the contrary (i.e. they do not support it-National Forum of Church Musicians)

I am not at all convinced that they (the Seminary) intend to find someone with the depth in knowledge and credibility to teach (like Savas and Ketzetzis), Fr. Kastanas notwithstanding (who is otherwise a very capable teacher).

Any effort to preserve Byzantine Chant (at least in the tradition of Constantinople and mainstream Greek chant) will, for the time being, be coming from private efforts whose objectives are NOT profiteering and membership dues......

NG.
I have indeed been teaching Byzantine chant at Holy Cross (using English as the language of instruction). For the time being, I am teaching the advanced section (as well as a course in the History of Byzantine Music and another one in the History of Western Music). As Basil said, the remaining sections are being taught by two students (Rassem el-Massih and Thanasis Minetos) under my supervision.

I don't know what the school's long-term plans are, but I don't share Nick's pessimism:) His own efforts are proof that Byzantine chant has a bright future in the United States.

Menios
 

Nikolaos Giannoukakis

Παλαιό Μέλος
#14
From Grammenos Karanos: "I don't know what the school's long-term plans are, but I don't share Nick's pessimism:) "

A very badly-translated Greek idiom:

"From your lips/mouth to the ears of God"

I am convinced that you are enthusiastic and will do a great service. We'll see what hurdles are placed in your way with time......

NG
 

saltypsalti

Παλαιό Μέλος
#15
From Grammenos Karanos: "I don't know what the school's long-term plans are, but I don't share Nick's pessimism:) "

A very badly-translated Greek idiom:

"From your lips/mouth to the ears of God"

I am convinced that you are enthusiastic and will do a great service. We'll see what hurdles are placed in your way with time......

NG
Hi Nick -XA -I am wondering if you could share your concerns re: HCHC privately with me -I think you have my e-mail, but in case not it is protopsalti@orthodoxmetropolisportland.org. I think I have heard bits and pieces, but am trying to paint a clearer picture and deeply curious why Ketsesis left -I thought he was the "bees knees" over there.

Respectfully -JPP

JPP
 
#16
The reasons why Photis, a man whom I feel proud and blessed to have had as my teacher, left are simple and straightforward. His family already moved to Greece 3 years ago, he completed the years that were required for him to receive social security benefits, and he received a good offer from the Metropolis of Piraeus. I would have done the same.
 
Top