"The Optyna Pustyn" Male Choir was founded in 1996 by Alexander Semyonov with the blessing of the Monastery department in Saint-Petersburg Prior Igumen Rostislav. This God-serving Choir has been called to revive the lost traditions of ancient monastic singing. Due to the close cooperation between the Choir and a group of scholars -mediaevalists, many music manuscripts, buried in oblivion and kept in book depositories of monasteries and academic libraries, have found a new life during services in the Priory church and subsequently became part of the choir`s repertoire.
In 2004 the choir produced two concert programs "1000 Years of Russian Church Singing" and "Saintly Love". These programs were performed at the Dormition Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin, and at the Stockholm Musical Academy Hall (Rikskonserter), as well as during tours in Russia, Germany, Holland, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Ukraine and China.
In January 2006 the Choir produced a new concert program "Ancient Church Singing", which features Roman Church chants of the 10th century, as well as old Byzantine, Armenian, Bulgarian, Serbian, and Georgian church hymns 5-16th century. This program was performed during tours in Sweden, Estonia, Germany and Holland.
"The Optyna Pustyn" Choir has recorded 9 CDs. Our choir has also participated in a series of joint concerts with the Chamber Orchestra "I Solisti Veneti" by Pietro Maskagni. Currently the choir is preparing two more concert programmes "17th Century Chants" and "Church Music by Russian Composers", as well as a program featuring works by Sergey Taneev, which was performed in September 2006 at the Taneev Festival in London.