Russian Choral Music

Choral performance has always uniquely affected the listeners. This music has influenced spiritual growth, reflected the views of different historical periods.

Church Music

Russians performed folk songs chorally. Choral singing was developed after the 10th century, as church singing. For more than seven centuries church singing was prevailed by echoes chant – austere and sublime sound of voices in unison.

Old Russian Liturgy

In the 17thcentury a polyphonic choral singing was born, called part singing. Creating music for choir was difficult, because the instrument of performance was a human voice.


Bandmaster of the Imperial chapel choir, Dmitry Bortnyansky, composed over a hundred of choral works, harmonized the echoes chant, keeping the melody of folk songs. Bortnyansky concerts were solemn liturgies, state ceremonies, and high societyperformances.

D. Bortnyansky “The Cherubim Hymn”

Later composers began using choral music in operas to give them solemnity and folk character. The founder of that movement was Glinka. Then the technique was used by Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Taneev.

M. Glinka. “Glory!

Choral Groups

The Court chapel was the most famous choral group. Today it is the State Academic Chapel of St. Petersburg. Its tradition was kept by the choir of Moscow synodic school of church music, a chapel of Count Sheremetev, the Archangelskychoir. In Soviet times the Academic symphony chapel, the Russian folk choir of Pyatnitskiy, the Bolshoy children’s choir of radio and television were famous.

Choral Music of the XX-XXI Centuries

In Soviet times, amateur groups appeared and choral music became part of the education system. A genre of children’s choral singing was born.

Big Children’s Choir

Contemporary choral culture in Russia continues old traditions. Talented conductors use old Russian singing tradition as the basis for new discoveries and achievements.

Moscow Sretensky Monastery Choir


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