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Meet the Artistic Director | Russian Musical Arts Society of America

Meet the Artistic Director

Nikolai Kachanov, Founder and Artistic Director of the Russian Chamber Chorus of New York, was born in Russia in the Siberian city of Barnaul, capital of the Altai Region. He holds a Ph.D. in choral conducting from the Novosibirsk Conservatory and completed his post-doctoral studies at Moscow Conservatory. In the 1970s, Kachanov taught at Novosibirsk Conservatory and performed as a choral conductor. In 1981, Maestro Kachanov moved to the United States with his wife, Tamara, a professional musician, who became the Chorus' Executive Director.


Kachanov is devoted to presenting new and underexposed works that illustrate Russia's rich heritage and its contemporary spirit. He introduced audiences to the ancient chants previously banned in his homeland and completely unknown in America. The Library of Congress used these chants, performed by the chorus, for its documentary Old Believers, part of the Great Heritage series. He also created the Ussachevsky Festival of Russian-American contemporary music, which was held at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. Kachanov has developed several RCCNY concert series: Parallels and Crossings, Spirit of Old Russia, and Music without Borders. The latter presented many American premieres of choral music from Russia's neighboring countries.


Kachanov has prepared large concert choruses for Vladimir Ashkenazy, Leon Botstein, Valery Gergiev, Yuri Temirkanov and Peter Tiboris; and participated in the U.S. premiere of John Tavener's all-night vigil, The Veil of the Temple, at the 2004 Lincoln Center Festival.

Nikolai Kachanov released a recording The Call in the spring of 2003. Additionally, two of his choral works, Benevolence, a five-part choral cycle set to the poetry of Nicholas Roerich, and Reflections on Stanzas from the Book of Dzyan (part of H.P. Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine) for chorus, synthesizers and trumpets, are part of the CD recording Benevolence, released in 2014.

Kachanov has been interviewed by Fred Child for NPR's From the Village to the Concert, and on the WNYC programs Around New York with Fred Child and New Sounds and Soundcheck with John Schaefer.

In 2016 he and his wife Tamara created a new choral ensemble, The Nikolai Kachanov Singers. The group's first performance was on September 21 at Carnegie's Zankel Hall as part of "Music for a Sustainable Planet" where they performed Yuri Boguinia's "Path to Kailas", commissioned and dedicated to the Nikolai Kachanov Singers. Also on October 1 at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie, the ensemble performed George Oakley's "Stabat Mater" dedicated to Nikolai Kachanov.

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