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Honored Collective of the Republic of Belarus “State Academic Choir of the Republic of Belarus n.a. G.Shirma”

The oldest choral collective of the Republic of Belarus, the State Academic Choir named after its creator, Grigory Romanovich SHIRMA, is a genuine keeper and propagandist of the value of folk music, creations of modern composers, masterpieces of the world classical music.

The collective was organized in 1940 in Belostok, its first program was prepared in 1941. Now the staff of the Choir consists of gifted musicians who serve selflessly to the Great Art.

The artistic side of the Choir is distinguished by the high musical culture, vivid emotionality, richness of the dynamical scale of sounding, high feeling of ensemble, purity of intonation, expression and naturality of singing and its organicity with the word.

The collective has merited a high praise from the side of both critics and audience. "The gentleness and beauty of the sounding voices, purity of intonation and spirituality in the interpretation of the musical material appear very subtly", V.S.Fomin, the principal conductor of the Saint-Petersburg Philharmonic Society, wrote. "The Choir has made us glad by impeccable pitch and harmony, variety and flexibility of dynamics; as well as by clear and expressive diction", it was the reference given by V.Chernushenko, Rector of the Saint-Petersburg Conservatory, Principal Conductor of the Saint-Petersburg Choir named after M.Glinka. The collective received a high appraisal from G.Sviridov after performances at the Festival of Choral Music in the Large Hall of the Moscow Conservatory.

The geography of the Choir"s tours for the last years is an evidence of increasing popularity of the collective. These tours included musical festivals in Germany, Spain, Italy, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Holland, Denmark, France, Austria, Belgium, Luxemburg; participation in the cultural program of the Olympic Games 1992 in Barcelona in the Theatre de Liceo. In 1993 the Choir became a laureate of the International Festival of Church Music in Hainowka (Poland).

The range of the Choir"s repertoire is wide and various. It includes requiems by G.Verdi, W.A.Mozart, R.Schuman, L.Cherubini, A.Bruckner, I.Brams, A.Dvorak, J.Haidn, G.Berlioz, X.Buenguerell, D.Kabalevsky; masses by I.S.Bach, A.Bruckner, W.A.Mozart, J.Haidn, L.Beethoven, G.Puchinni; oratorios by D.Shostakovich, P.Chaikovsky, S.Prokofyev, "Messiah" by G.Gendel, "Symphony N 9" by L.Beethoven, "Psalm Symphony" by I.Stravinsky, Mass-Symphony by F.Mendelsone, "Symphony N 13" by D.Shostakovich, cantatas by I.S.Bach, "Carmina Burana" by K.Orf, "Seasons of the Year" by J.Haidn, "Alexandre Nevsky" and "Ivan the Terrible" by S.Prokofyev, "Ioann Damassky" by S.Taneyev, "Moscow" by P.Chaikovsky, spiritual pieces by G.Verdi, A.Bruckner, A.Dvorak, P.Pergolese, S.Moniushko, A.Shenberg; choir pieces from operas by G.Verdi, R.Vagner, A.Borodin, G.Puchinni, K.Weber, P.Mascanyi, V.Bellini; fragments from musicals by G.Gershvin, R.Rodgers, G.Kern; choral masterpieces by S.Rakhmaninov, P.Chaikovsky, P.Chesnokov, S.Taneyev, D.Bortnyansky, P.Beresovsky, A.Arkhangelsky, choral music of Belarusian composers.

Exceptional capacity of the Choir for work allows to prepare annually 5 or 6 completed concert programs including the compositions a capella and of cantata oratorical genre. Recently several interesting projects have been fulfilled: in December, 1999, the "Messiah" by G.Gendel was performed in Spain, In September, 2000, the oratoria "Apokalipsis" by the modern Russian composer O.Yanchenko was sung in Italy, the spiritual works of the modern Belarusian composers were presented at the Festival "The Days of Music of Krakov"s Composers" in Poland in June, 2001.

Wide repertoire and high mastery allows the Choir to give concerts with various symphony orchestras, such as orchestras of Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Belgorod, Kharkov, Donetsk, Kiev, Volgograd, Vilnius, Irkutsk Philharmonic Societies, orchestras of Gerliz and Cotbus Musical Theatres (Germany), orchestra of Zelena Gura Philharmonic Society (Poland).

Many famous conductors stood at the conductor"s stand of the Choir. They are Yu.Efimov, M.Jansons, T.Mynbayev, L.Kremer, R.Seechafer, D.Ponelle (Germany), Cz,Grabowsky (Poland), V.Katayev, V.Dubrovsky, S.Sondeckis, Ju.Domarkas, Yu.Tsiryuk, O.Yanchenko, A.Dmitriev, A.Anissimov.

From 1987 to 2018, the Artistic Director and chief conductor of the State academic choir of the Republic of Belarus was the People's artist of Belarus Lyudmila Efimova, a prominent representative of the Leningrad (St. Petersburg) school of choral conducting. It was under her leadership that the choir became a universal choral ensemble, unique in its sound and unlimited repertoire. Lyudmila Efimova  tirelessly promoted the Belarusian composers, was the first performer of many of their works. Bright talent, wide erudition, high level of artistic culture, dedication to creativity get us to call the people's artist of the Republic of Belarus Lyudmila Efimova as one of the most significant personalities in the musical culture of Belarus and abroad.

In 2009, President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko congratulated the Honored collective of the Republic of Belarus "State academic choir named after G.Shirma" on the 70th anniversary of its formation and mentioned that activity of the choir makes a great contribution to preservation and promotion of the best assets of national and world vocal music, to maintaining high cultural traditions in the society and fostering respect for real artistic values. "The rich repertoire of the choir organically combines classical masterpieces, spiritual chants, arrangements of folk melodies and compositions of modern composers," as the congratulation said. Alexander Lukashenko expressed hope that the collective will continue working as fruitfully and selflessly, increasing the honor and glory of the Belarusian musical art.

Since 2018, the Chief conductor of the state academic choir of the Republic of Belarus named after G.Shirma is Olga Yanum. Graduated from the Belarusian State Academy of music with a degree in choral conducting (class of associate Professor L.A.Shimanovich) and academic singing (class of honored artist of the Republic of Belarus N.A.Gubskaya), as well as a master's degree in choral conducting.

From 1995 to 2017, she taught vocal and conducting classes at the Minsk theological school, and was also the chief of the choir.

During 2008–2010 she was the Artistic Director and chief conductor of the honored collective of the Republic of Belarus Academic choir of the National state television and radio company.

She is currently a Regent of the Festive choir of the Temple in honor of the icon of God's mother "Joy of All who sorrow" (1998), a teacher of the faculty of choral conducting in the Belarusian state Academy of music (since 2007), an artistic Director of the Chamber choir SALUTARIS of the Belarusian Union of music professionals  (since 2007), a chief conductor of the Honored collective of the Republic of Belarus "State academic choir n.a. G.Shirma (since 2018).

She was awarded the order of equal-to-the-Apostles Princess Olga III degree by Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and all Russia (2002), the medal of the Belarusian Orthodox Church of St. Euphrosyne of Polotsk (2007), the letters of Metropolitan Filaret of Minsk and Slutsk, Patriarchal Exarch of all Belarus (1999, 2000, 2009, 2012, 2014 years). In 2017, she was elected to the Church and public Council for the development of Russian Church singing under the Moscow Patriarchate.

Chief Conductor – Olga Yanum

Phone: +375 17 397 56 85

Director – Alexander Chumakov

Phones: +375 29 658 70 73; +375 17 343 22 65; e-mail: capella@philharmonic.by