„Saint Ephraim” Choir

Hungary

Saint Ephraim Male Choir was founded in 2002 by Tamás Bubnó, it is a Liszt Award winner as well as the receiver of the Hungarian Artist of Merit in 2017.

The choir was named after Saint Ephraim, the Syrian (306-373) who was considered by his contemporaries as ‘the harp of the Holy Spirit’, having been accredited to guiding a great number of people towards the right way through his chants and hymns. The main goal of Saint Ephraim Male Choir has three directions: one is to research, present and spread the vocal heritage of Byzantine-rite Christian music, both in Hungary and abroad. Secondly, to nurture the rich Hungarian musical literature for male choruses (Liszt, Bartók, Kodály, Ligeti) and thirdly, to promote valuable contemporary choral works.

The choir’s international success started in 2006, in Poland, at the Hajnowka International Orthodox Church Music Festival, where Saint Ephraim Male Choir had won the first prize in the professional chamber choir category, having become the first and last choir of non-Slavic origin to win. This prestigious award has marked the way to international appearances, having been invited to much-acclaimed festivals such as the Aldeburgh Festival in the UK, Fez Festival in Morocco, World Sacred Music Festival- Ketevan, India, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival – Germany, Donaufest-Ulm – Germany, Musik Festspiele Saar -Germany, Festival de Royaumont – France, Festival d’Auvers sur Oise – France, Ravenna Festival – Italy, Janacek May Festival – Czech Republic, Dvorák Festival – Czech Republic, Sakralnej Festival Gdynia – Poland, Gdansk Spring Festival – Poland, Concentus Moraviae Festival – Czech Republic, St.Petersburg Spring Festival – Russia.

Over the years, Saint Ephraim Male Choir has also performed in concert halls and churches in cities as Abu-Dhabi, Berlin, Vienna, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Delhi, Fujairah, Ljubljana, Montevideo, Moscow, Paris, Bratislava, Rome, Saint Petersburg, Tirana, Helsinki and Warsaw.

Obviously, the choir also regularly performs at Hungary’s most prestigious festivals, being a permanent participant of the Budapest Spring Festival, Arcus Temporum Festival, Ars Sacra Festival, Valley of the Arts, Zemplen Festival. The choir nurtures a strong relationship with the church, often appearing at masses and religious musical events.

So far, 10 albums have been released, one of which, called Byzantine Mosaics, receiving the Supersonic Award in 2010, in Luxemburg.

Over the years, Saint Ephraim choir has hosted many international stars in their concert series in Hungary, including names such as Abeer Nehme, Sister Marie Keyrouz, Nektaria Karantzi, the Moscow Patriarchal Choir, the Russian Orthodox Soloists, Optina Pustyn Male Choir, Konstantia Gourzi and the Opus21 Music Plus, as well as Dragoslav Pavle Aksentijevic.

 

Tamás Bubnó - Founder and Artistic Director

Tamás created Saint Ephraim Choir in 2002 for the purpose of recording a unique liturgical manuscript with a male choir, not yet foreseeing just how successful this group will become. As testament to his choral achievements, he has won the Liszt Conducting Award in 2013 and Hungary’s Recognised Artist Award in 2017. Stepping back to Tamás’ earlier career, he has a diploma in conducting and percussion as well as a Doctorate of Liberal Arts, specialised in church music, all gained from the Liszt Ferenc Music Academy.

However, directing and conducting have been an important part of Tamás’ professional career. One of his mentor’s, László Dobszay, invited Tamás in 1988 to become the artistic director of Budapest Singing School, where he had incorporated the ancient schola cantorum teaching system into the Hungary’s 21st century teaching methodology. Under his artistic direction, many well-known Hungarian soloists, as well as choral singers have emerged. Since 2006, he is the head of the Liszt Ferenc Music Academy’s byzantine church music faculty.

In 1999, Tamás established the Holy Mother as the Patron of Hungary church music festival, of which he was the artistic director for 12 years. As a soloist, choir member, conductor or researcher, Tamás has travelled all over the world, collecting experiences that  have influenced his artistic direction and have helped make "Saint Ephraim" the most exciting and versatile male choir in Hungary.

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