Named for the Patriarch Tikhon Russian-American Musical Institute, PaTRAM is a church choir supergroup.
Consisting of several ensembles with members on at least three continents (Eurasia, North America and Australia), the group is dedicated to the performance of sacred music in its highest possible form, striving to unite heartfelt spirituality, a deep love for the traditions of Orthodox Christian singing and an uncompromising musical standard.
Led by the Grammy-Nominated conductor Vladimir Gorbik, the fifty-six member PaTRAM Institute Male Choir released their latest disc “More Honourable than the Cherubim” in August, much to the awe and delight of choral fans and church music aficionados alike.
Exploring pieces written to honour Mary the Mother of God, the disc’s title comes from an often heard Marian magnification and hymn.
“We took a little bit of everything from across the liturgical year,” explains PaTRAM member Elias Dubelsten. “Some from the… regular Sunday liturgy, some hymns from the vespers or matins services dedicated to feasts to the Mother of God.”
The result is a magnificent survey of Eastern Orthodox church music, featuring music by Rachmaninoff, Gretchaninoff, Chesnokov, Dinev, Degtiariov and more.
“The fun thing especially about music like this is the diversity of repertoire,” says Dubelsten. “Being able to perform in a group of this size, with this calibre of singers, and the fact that these singers are from all over the world. It’s really a unique experience.”
In the full interview below, hear more about the unprecedented number of octavists—exceptionally deep-ranged basses—who came together to add the glorious subterranean rumble to the album; how the Ottawa-based Dubelsten came to join PaTRAM; the special circumstances surrounding the recording of the album in Saratov, Russia; and, more!