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Gregorian chant, synagogue music, choral mantras & Persian chants – the workshops

Musica Sacra International is a festival where the five great religions of this world meet.

Have you ever sung a Persian chant? Have you ever worked with Jewish synagogue music? Do you know the first Indian scoring of old mantras for choirs? You already heard Gregorian chants, but have you sung them yourself?

Four workshops under the direction of top-class lecturers will be offering you this chance:

  • Gregorian chant – David Eben, Prag (CZ)
  • Jewish synagogal music – Prof. Andor Izsák, Hannover (D)
  • Persian chant– Maryam Akhondy, Köln (D) / Teheran (IR)
  • Choral Mantras – Ganesh Kumar (IN), Nicol Matt (D)

The workshops take place in the morning (10-12:30 am) from Saturday, May 14th, to Tuesday, May 17th. The workshops will be held in the Bavarian Music Academy. All those interested are very welcome to come and take part . The participation fee for each workshop is 5 Euros.

Here is a summary of all the important information on the workshops:


Gregorian Chants - David Eben, Prague (CZ)

David Eben was born in 1965 in Prague. During his university studies, he specialized in medieval music, mainly in Gregorian chant. Since 1993 he has worked at the Institute of Musicology of Charles University in Prague where he lectures on topics related to Gregorian chant and liturgy (neumatic and choral notation, introduction to Gregorian chant studies, seminar on medieval monody etc.). In September 2008 he became Professor for Gregorian Chant at the University of Lucerne (Switzerland). He regularly tutors in summer courses on the theory and practice of Gregorian chant in France and in Switzerland. For many years he has co-operated with the Czech Radio in creating programs on Gregorian chant. In addition to medieval sacred music he also deals with other music genres. In 1987 he founded the ensemble Schola Gregoriana Pragensis, which has recorded a large number of CDs and performed concerts in many European countries, Israel and Japan.

The participants will get first impressions of the elements of the Gregorian chant. By singing together with the Schola under the direction of David Eben, you will get a first feeling for the music.


Jewish Choral Music - Prof. Andor Izsák, Hanover (D)

Andor Izsák was born in Budapest in 1944. While studying at the Franz-Liszt University for Music, he worked as an organist at the Dohány Synagogue in Budapest, the largest synagogue in Europe. In 1962 he founded the Lewandowski Choir together with the cantor Marcel Lorand, the first ensemble to perform synagogal music after the period of the Holocaust. After a long period as a lecturer at the Béla-Bartók Conservatoire and at the legendary Fodor Music School he moved to Germany. In 1988 the European Centre for Jewish Music, an Institute of the University for Music, Theatre and the Media in Hanover, was founded as a result of his intensive work with Jewish music. In 2003 Andor Izsák was appointed as Professor for Synagogal Music.

How does Jewish synagogal music sound and how does it feel? Andor Izsák take the participants into the musical traditions of the synagogues.


Persian chant - Maryam Akhondy, Köln (D), Teheran (IR)

Maryam Akhondy was born in Teheran in 1957 and studied in her home country classic Persian chant and dramaturgy. As a result of the revolution, she moved to Germany where she continued her musical career. She founded the two ensembles Barbad und Banu, with which she tours regularly in Germany and abroad. Her creative work is characterized by a combination of western and oriental music projects and realizing multicultural projects.

Germans singing Persian music - is it possible? With the help of some onomatopoeic exercises it is really quite simple. With a selection of songs, Maryam Akhondy takes the participants into the world of Persian music.


Choral Mantras - Conductory: Ganesh Kumar (IN), Nicol Matt (D)

Nicol Matt is one of Germany’s new generation conductors enjoying an international reputation.
Almost one hundred CDs with recordings of highly demanding vocal, orchestral and instrumental works document his sophistication as an artist. He was the founder and conductor of the Chamber Choir of Europe and the European Chamber Soloists. Nicol Matt also likes doing cross-over projects such as performing choral mantras.

The scoring of the old Tamil texts is made by Ganesh Kumar, a very talented Indian composer. He was already fascinated by music as a child and studied at the Trinity College of Music in London. Ever since he started composing music, his primary aim was to create music that would inspire and spiritually elevate mankind. Choral mantras are the first scorings of old Hindu prayer texts in Sanskrit and Tamil which have been written specially for choirs.

In the workshop Nicol Matt and Ganesh Kumar present their project and help the participants with practical exercises to try out the foreign languages and musical traditions.