The ”Nectarie Protopsaltul” Choir
The ”Nectarie Protopsaltul” Choir was founded in 2001 under the direction of Valentin Gheorghe, the founder of the ensemble. The permanent members of the Choir are students and graduates of the Faculty of Orthodox Theology brought together with the aim to promote the Byzantine musical tradition in our country and abroad.
The Choir’s name, ”Nectarie Protopsaltul”, was chosen in remembrance of the pious monk Nektarios, one of the most important Romanian chanters from the Mount Athos in the second half of the 19th century. Together with the ”Nectarie Protopsaltul” Choir, there is also the ”Nectarie Protopsaltul” Association founded by Gabriel Duca and Adrian Anca, also members of the Choir. Since 2008, Sabin Preda has been the conductor of the Choir.
The activity of the Choir includes taking part in the patron saints' feasts at the monasteries, participation in numerous festivals and concerts dedicated to the sacred music: „Romania in Advent” organized by the Romanian Cultural Institute (Rome); International Byzantine Music Festival of Pitești; the concert ”The Melos of Byzantium” organized within the project ”The Byzantine Ark” and other concerts performed on different occasions. The Choir has recorded so far more than 13 albums including the Service of Great Paraklesis to the Most Holy Theotokos, hymns to the Saint Nectarios; hymns to the Saint Pandeleimon and many important religious services. The Nectarie Protopsaltul Publishing House edited three anthologies of Psaltic chanting.
The activity of the Choir concerns issues related to the performance, the rhythm and the metrics, the elaboration and the development of cultural projects aiming to rediscover the ancient musical manuscripts and reorganize the chants according to the current musicological research.
Sabin Preda (conductor)
Sabin Preda has been the music director of the ”Nectarie Protopsaltul” Choir since 2008. He graduated the Faculty of Orthodox Theology of University from the Bucharest and received his PhD in New Testament, Hermeneutics and Homiletics from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He is lecturer at the Faculty of Orthodox Theology from the University of Bucharest where he teaches the New Testament. Apart from the his musical activity, Sabin Preda is hymnographer, translator from Modern Greek, Ancient Greek, French and English, his translating activity including works of Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Romanos the Melodist and Saint Justin Popovich.
He performed for a long period in the choir of Stavropoleos Church, as an apprentice of father Marian Fârtat and Deacon Gabriel Oprea. At the moment, he is psaltes at the St. Gregory Palamas Chapel from University Politehnica of Bucharest.
As a director of the ”Nectarie Protopsaltul” Choir, he performed in numerous concerts of sacred music and Christmas Carols, participating in festivals and projects among which: concerts within the project of the Administration of the Cultural National Found ”The Melos of the Byzantine Manuscripts.The Valuing of the Byzantine Musical Patrimony from the Manuscripts of the Romanian Academy Library. Research, Debate, Dissemination” organized by the ”Nectarie Protopsaltul Association” in 2012; concert of Christmas carols at the Romanian Cultural Institute in London, 2015 and many other concerts performed in different Romanian cities. Besides this, he recorded many sacred music albums.
Ion Minoiu (conductor)
Ion Minoiu graduated the National University of Music in Bucharest. He completed M.A. programs in applied research – baroque violin and orchestral conducting at the Royal College of Music, London. He also graduated the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies, Cambridge.
As a musician, he was a member of the ”European Union Baroque Orchestra”, ”Hannover Band”, ”Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment”, performed in concerts either as violinist or viola player with ”Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra”, ”Purcell Quartet” and ”English Baroque Soloist”. He performed recitals of baroque violin and directed chamber music ensembles. He directed the Radio Camera Orchestra and other philharmonic orchestras.
Between 2001 and 2004, he undertook numerous ethnomusicological expeditions in Romania, the result of these expeditions being a rich documentary material. Ion Minoiu produced programs at Radio Romania-Cultural and delivered speeches at the Romanian Cultural Centre in London, British Museum, Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies, Cambridge, National University of Music in Bucharest, ”Banatul” Philharmonic in Timișoara and within numerous other cultural events in Romania and abroad. Between 1995 and 2005, he was psaltes of the Romanian Orthodox Church in London and between 2005 and 2008 psaltes at the Greek Cathedrals ”St. Sophia” and ”St. Ap. Andrew” in the same city. Since 2009, he has been member of the ”Nectarie Protopsaltul” Choir and teaches Church chant in various monasteries and sketes on Mount Athos, in Romania and in Switzerland.