Vocal Ensemble “Oktoih” (Belgrade, 2000), WWW.OKTOIH.NET

Vocal ensemble “Oktoih” was founded at the initiative of the conductor Aleksandar Sasa Spasic and several of his close associates- singers, with a basic idea to form a chamber ensemble specialized in researching and performing chamber vocal and vocal-instrumental works.

“Oktoih” is functioning as male octet and double mixed octet with a semi-professional way of working and a mobile system of action. The total number of singers depends on the kind and difficulty of the programme, so it can consist of 24 to 32 singers maximum, which is a standard number for a chamber choir.

Special attention and affinity of the ensemble and the conductor is directed towards unknown and unperformed spiritual compositions, as well as the works of contemporary Serbian composers. Concerts have so far been divided into three groups: Liturgies, Psalms and Songs for the Mother of Christ (east- west).
Also, special attention is paid to the research, analysis and performance of religious compositions of different religious confessions, as a proof of artistic and musical width and an example of cooperation and exchange of spiritual and musical experiences.

“Oktoih” has had a number of quite successful concerts and performances. Some of those are:
The performance in the National Library of Serbia, Easter concert in “Madlenianum” Chamber Opera, concert in Krusevac City Hall, concerts at the festival “Choirs among Frescoes” (Belgrade, 2001, CD №1), concert at “Smederevo Poetic Autumns”, TV performance on Easter Eve (2002) at the “Saturday Night” show (RTS), concert in Zepter Gallery, performances in the City Public-Health Institute, as well as in Stari grad City Hall, “Saint Sava’s Academy” in Svilajnac (2004, CD № 2), concert in the Blessed Virgin Mary Cathedral, organized by the Cultural Centre of Belgrade, humanitarian concert in Kneginja Ljubica’s Castle in Belgrade (Saint Andrew First named), in the Ethnographic Museum (Circle of Serbian Sisters), concert in “Mercedes” showroom in Belgrade, humanitarian concerts with St. George Royal Strings at HRH Aleksandar II Karadjordjevic’s Court, in Novi Sad Synagogue and in Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra Hall (CD №3), concert at the 6th International Festival of Chamber Choirs in Kragujevac (Psalms, 2006), participation in the solemn mass in St. Anthony church on the Easter and Christmas of 2007, participation in the opera “Orpheus and Eurydice”, organized by the FMA and the Ethnographic Museum, performance at the concert in the City Hall on the occasion of the author night of Milos Raickovic, the composer, participation in the singing competition of choirs at “42nd Days of Mokranjac” in Negotin in 2007, the opening of the concert season of SASA Gallery and the performance on the Day of SASA (2007).

“Oktoih” has received a number of awards at the festivals and competitions in Serbia: in 2002- a special award for authentic performance of spiritual music, after a concert at “Choirs among Frescoes” festival; in 2004: a charter on the tenth anniversary of “Choirs among Frescoes” festival; in 2005: a special award for the performance of the “Liturgy of the 8th voice”, by Vojislav Ilic.

“Oktoih” has achieved the following results at international festivals and competitions: in 2003, they participated in the Festival of spiritual music “Polyphony” in Pesaro (Italy); in 2004, “E. Porrino” festival in Nuoro (Sardinia), “Lorenzo Perosi” festival in Olbia (Sardinia) in 2005; the Festival of chamber choirs in Miskolc (Hungary) in 2004 and 2006; at the International festival in Ankara (Turkey) in 2005, they won 2nd prize in the official category of the competition.

The repertoire of “Oktoih”

1. Till the beginning of 2008: a number of individual compositions and works of different religious confessions, as well as the authors with the compositions of national and international character, such as:
Kir Stefan Srbin, Kornelije Stankovic, Stevan Mokranjac, Josif Marinkovic, Isidor Bajic, Stevan Hristic, Marko Tajcevic, Aleksandar Gavanski, Josip Slavenski, Mirko Pavlovic, Zlatan Vauda, Georgije Maksimovic, Rajko Maksimovic, Lisa Milena Simikic, Aleksandar Vujic, Miodrag Govedarica, Ljubomir Manasijevic, Boris Markovic, Aleksandar Spasic, Aleksandar Simic, Ivana Stefanovic etc. (Serbia). Then: Nikolai Kedrov, Nikolai Dodonov, Aleksandar Arhangelski, Dimitri Bortnyanski, Alfred Schnittke, Anatoliy Kiseljov… (Russia); Romunald Tvardovski and L.M. Rogovski (Poland); Dobri Hristov and Emil Janev (Bulgaria); Louis Lewandowsky, Salomone Rossi Hebreo and Meir Finkelstain (Jewish); Erdal Tugcular and Turgay Erdener (Turkey, the set composition for the competition in 2005); also, Western-European authors: Orlando di Lasso, Claudio Monteverdi, Gioacchino Rossini, Cesar Franck, Johannes Brahms, Kodaly Zoltan…

2. Till the beginning of 2008: major Western-European works:
Elio Segattini “Missa in honorem S. J. Baptistae”, Pier Battista de Falconara “Psalm 141”, Lorenzo Perosi “Missa”, Domenico Bartolucci “Missa”, W. A. Mozart “Litanie Lauretanae” KV 109., Charles Gounod “Messe breve in C”, Franz Schubert “Messe” G-major, the adaptation of the opera “Orpheus and Eurydice” by C.W. Gluck…

3. Till the beginning of 2008: the cycle of Liturgies and other larger Orthodox musical forms:
- Stevan Mokranjac “The Liturgy” (Belgrade, 1893) and “The Funeral Service” (Belgrade, 1888);
- Milos Raickovic “Requiem” (Santa Monica, USA, 1984/ 85);
- Theodore Papakonstantinou “Greek Orthodox Liturgy” (Munich, till 1970);
- Francesco Sinico “The Liturgy” (Trieste, 1840);
- Benedict Randhartinger “The Liturgy” (Vienna, 1843/ 44);
- Vladimir Djordjevic “The Liturgy”, male choir (Belgrade, 1926);
- Ludomir Michal Rogowsky “Funeral Service” for the Knightly King Aleksandar (Dubrovnik, 1936);
- Kornelije Stankovic “The Liturgy” (Vienna, 1862);
- Vojislav Ilic “The Liturgy of the 8th Voice”;
- Davorin Jenko “The Liturgy” for male choir.

4. Till the beginning of 2008, the cycle of Psalms: the concert at the Festival in Kragujevac, 2006. New edition will come out soon.

5. Till the end of 2008, the cycle of Songs for the Mother of Christ and Songs
For Virgin Mary (east- west), in preparation.