Summer Music Institute

SVS/ISOCM Summer Music Institute: Music in the Service of Liturgy

Music in the Service of Liturgy

Registration for the event is now closed. Please join us next year!
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Saint Vladimir's Seminary and the International Society for Orthodox Church Music (ISOCM) are pleased to present, by God's grace, the Summer Music Institute! Join us in person June 14–18, 2022 on the campus of St. Vladimir's Seminary in Yonkers, NY (*online audit option also available). 

The Summer Music Institute is bringing together church musicians of all skill levels—from beginners to professionals—for hands-on workshops, lectures, and liturgical services. Singers, conductors, and composers will engage in sessions with internationally-recognized faculty. This Institute accommodates both Slavic and Byzantine liturgical musical traditions and will provide skills and resources for adapting four-part music to a small choir, as well as adapting chant for a large choir. You'll focus on:

  • Choosing repertoire that’s right for your services and your choir
  • Maximizing your choir’s talents, whatever its size and skill

The week will culminate with two Divine Liturgies which will integrate Slavic and Byzantine musical traditions and feature large and small choirs.

We will be in person, singing together and in fellowship. We also offer a virtual audit option, with dedicated instruction for off-site participants.

In-person participants may choose between three tiers of study: Conducting, Composing, or Vocal Technique. Online participants (Virtual Auditors) will rotate through each specialization. 

Conductors will...

  • Attend daily conducting class on the techniques needed to manage leading services in a variety of musical styles
  • Rehearse small ensembles of 3-6 singers daily with feedback from faculty
  • Conduct portions of daily vespers and the final small-scale liturgy
  • Have the opportunity conduct the full ensemble in daily rehearsals and the final large-scale liturgy

Singers will...

  • Attend daily voice class on the vocal techniques specific to different scale and ethos hymnography
  • Sing in small groups in preparation for daily vespers and the final small-scale liturgy
  • Learn how to modify written voice parts to adapt repertoire to different size ensembles
  • Sing in a large choir for daily rehearsals and for the final large-scale liturgy

Composers will…

  • Attend daily composing class on three compositional approaches to adapting hymnography: melodic reduction & elaboration, harmonization, & arranging for both large and small forces
  • Sing in small groups in preparation for daily vespers and the final small-scale liturgy
  • Sing in a large choir for daily rehearsals and for the final large-scale liturgy 

Virtual Auditors will…

  • Attend all evening keynote lectures and daytime plenary sessions
  • Audit one day of each specialization track: composing, conducting, and vocal technique (the auditors will rotate through each specialization)
  • View a coaching session with a small ensemble each day
  • Audit the full ensemble rehearsals
  • Have access to a dedicated virtual teaching assistant

First Keynote Lecture

Archpriest Ivan Moody

  • Time: TBA
Fr Ivan Moody
Father Ivan Moody is a composer, musicologist and Orthodox priest. His music has been performed and broadcast all over the world, and he has written extensively on music in the Balkans and in the Mediterranean, and on questions of music and spirituality. As a conductor he works regularly with professional choirs and ensembles in both Europe and America. He is a research fellow at CESEM – Universidade Nova, Lisbon, and founding chairman of the International Society for Orthodox Church Music.

Second Keynote Lecture

Hieromonk Damaskinos Olkinuora

  • Time: TBA
Hieromonk Damaskinos
Hieromonk Damaskinos of Xenophontos (born Jaakko Olkinuora) is a member of the monastic brotherhood of the Athonite monastery of Xenophontos and a father-confessor, but also works as a University lecturer in systematic theology and patristics at the University of Eastern Finland. He is also known for his activities in promoting Byzantine chant in the Finnish language, including translations, recordings, teaching activities, and organizing Byzantine divine offices around Finland. Father Damaskinos is chairman of the Finnish Society for Byzantine Music, vice-chairman of the International Society for Orthodox Church Music, and a member of the Society for Oriental Liturgy.

Summer Music Institute Instructors


John Michael Boyer

John Michael Boyer

John Michael Boyer is Protopsáltis (First Cantor) of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco, director of the Saint John Koukouzelis Institute of Liturgical Arts (, founder and artistic director of Próto, and associate music director of Cappella Romana (  He began studies of Byzantine Chant at age 14 under musicologist Alexander Lingas and went on to study under the late Archon Protopsáltis Lycourgos Angelopoulos and with renowned cantor, composer, and musicologist Ioannis Arvanitis. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master of Divinity from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA. As a teacher, John helps students of all levels achieve facility and proficiency in the Byzantine musical tradition through a pædagogical approach synthesizing advanced ear training and vocal technique with Byzantine notation, modal theory, and ornamental expression.  This approach is laid out in detail in his forthcoming book, Byzantine Chant: The Received Tradition – A Lesson Book, slated for publication in 2022.

Juliana Woodill

Julianna Woodill

Juliana Woodill is a choral director and National Board Certified Teacher at Fairfax High School in northern Virginia. She is an active musician, conductor and clinician both for the Orthodox Church and professionally. She conducts at the St. John mission in Fairfax, and has recently founded the Archdiocesan Choir of Washington, D.C., a liturgical ensemble comprised of Orthodox singers from Virgina, Maryland, and D.C. She was a featured conductor at the International Symposium of Orthodox Church Musicians Conference in 2016 and 2018 and has taught as a guest lecturer and conductor at both St. Tikhon’s and St. Vladimir’s Seminaries. Woodill grew up singing in the Orthodox Church and has participated in choirs since the age of 8, going on to receive a Bachelor of Music in Music Education and Musical Theater from Westminster Choir College. She studied conducting with Dr. Joe Miller and sang with the Westminster Symphonic Choir under the baton of many conducting greats, including Christoph Eschenbach, Neeme Jarvi, Pierre Boulez, and Kurt Masur.  Woodill loves the opportunity to bring the musicianship and skills of the choral world into the church setting.

Workshop Leaders

Benedict Sheehan

Benedict Sheehan

Two-time GRAMMY® nominee Benedict Sheehan has been called “a choral conductor and composer to watch in the twenty-first century” (ConcertoNet) and “one of the most important voices in American Orthodox choral music” (Choral Journal). He is artistic director and co-founder of The Saint Tikhon Choir and Artefact Ensemble, and director of music at St. Tikhon’s Seminary and Monastery in Pennsylvania. His works have been variously described as “brilliant” (Choir & Organ), “otherworldly” (Boston Musical Intelligencer), “evocative” (Gramophone), “extraordinary” (Limelight), and “simply beyond praise for excellence” (Fanfare). His music is published by Oxford University Press and Artefact Publications and has been performed by Skylark Vocal Ensemble, Conspirare, the Houston Chamber Choir, Cappella Romana, the Kansas City Chorale, and many others.

Talia Maria Sheehan

Talia Maria Sheehan

Talia Maria Sheehan has been a professional vocalist and music instructor for over twenty years. Her musical background and performance experience is broad, including rock lead vocals, jazz and classical piano, operatic soprano, and folk and classical ensemble singing. She received her musical education at Westminster Choir College, where she sang in the Westminster Choir under the direction of Joseph Flummerfelt, and appeared with them on many of the great American stages. As a professional ensemble singer she has performed with Cappella Romana, the Grammy-nominated Saint Tikhon Choir, and the Grammy-nominated PaTRAM Institute Singers. She was recently a featured soloist with Bach in Baltimore concert series. Sheehan works at St. Tikhon’s Monastery and Seminary in South Canaan, PA, and teaches voice, music theory, and liturgical music, and directs a children’s choir and a women’s choir. Talia and her husband, composer and conductor Benedict Sheehan, live on the grounds of St. Tikhon's with their seven daughters.

*All Times EDT
**Draft Schedule (Subject to Change)
Time Tuesday
June 14
Jun 15, 2022
Jun 16, 2022
June 17, 2022
Jun 18, 2022
9:00 AM   Classes in Tracks Classes in Tracks Small-Scale Liturgy Large-Scale Liturgy
10:00 AM          
10:30 AM   Plenary Presentation: Juliana Woodill, Rearranging the Choir Plenary Presentation:
John Boyer, Choral Byzantine Chant in English
11:00 AM       Brunch/Free Time Brunch
11:30 AM          
12:00 PM   Lunch Lunch    
12:30 PM          
1:00 PM     Small Groups Rehearsal Classes in Tracks  
1:30 PM   Small Groups Rehearsal      
2:00 PM          
2:30 PM     Tutti Rehearsal Tutti Rehearsal   
3:00 PM          
3:30 PM   Plenary Keynote: Fr Damaskinos      
4:00 PM          
4:30 PM Vespers    Vespers Vespers   
5:00 PM   Vespers      
5:30 PM Welcome Reception   Dinner Dinner  
6:00 PM   Dinner      
6:30 PM          
7:00 PM Plenary Keynote: Fr Ivan Moody Tutti Rehearsal Plenary Keynote: Dr Harrison Russin; History of Liturgical Function and Form Plenary Panel Discussion: What Is Canonical Chant?  
7:30 PM          
8:00 PM          
8:30 PM          
9:00 PM     Wine & Refreshments    
9:30 PM          
10:00 PM          

Hotel and Lodging Information

We have a block of 30 rooms reserved at Hampton Inn & Suites, 559 Tuckahoe Road, Yonkers, NY 10710. Phone: 914-963-3200

If calling, mention the code SMI for a special Institute rate of $149 per night. If booking online, use this link:

Hampton Inn provides a shuttle service to and from the Seminary for those needing transportation.

Airport Information

The two most convenient airports to St Vladimir's are LaGuardia (LGA) and Westchester County (HPN). An app-based car service (like Uber or Lyft) from LaGuardia to the Seminary usually costs $40-70 one-way.

Meals and Food

For a modest charge of $140, meals will be provided on-campus:

  • Three dinners
  • Two lunches
  • Two brunches (after liturgy)
  • Coffee and snack service during the day
  • Two evening wine receptions

Breakfast is on your own. Hampton Inn provides breakfast for guests.

Saint Vladimir's Seminary and ISOCM are able to offer reduced fees for the Summer Institute for a limited number of individuals. Financial assistance is not available for lodging, meals, or travel. Please read carefully, and prayerfully consider your expenses and income as you apply for assistance. The information you provide relative to this request will be kept confidential.

*If you complete a scholarship and financial assistance application you do NOT need to complete the regular registration form.

For the Summer Music Institute, the wearing of face masks is optional, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status. Social distancing is not required.

*This policy is subject to change.

COVID-19 rapid test kits will be available upon request.