Composer Kurt Sander graduated from the liturgical music courses in Jordanville in 1994, and returned as an instructor to the Summer School of Liturgical Music in 2011, by this time himself an experienced church choir director, having led Russian Orthodox liturgical choirs in Cleveland and Cincinnati. Since 2019, he has taught the online Music Theory component of the Synodal School of Liturgical Music’s Core Program. He incorporates elements of liturgical music into his teaching, making theory and musicianship skills directly relevant to the students’ practical work in their home choirs.
His compositions have been performed in ten countries on four different continents. Hailed by one critic for writing “intensely beautiful spiritual music,” Sander seeks to capture the sublime dimensions of the Eastern Orthodox faith in both his choral and instrumental works. His sacred choral work has been sung by some of the country’s finest choirs of Orthodox choral music including Cappella Romana, the St. Romanos Cappella, Conquering Time Ensemble, Archangel Voices, and the The Patriarch Tikhon Choir. It has also been featured at the CREDO International Festival of Orthodox Choral Music in Estonia performed by the Orthodox Singers under the direction of Valery Petrov. Sander’s recent CD recording “As Far as the East is from the West: New Orthodox Choral Music of Gennady Lapaev and Kurt Sander” featuring the East/West Festival Choir under the direction of Peter Jermihov was released in 2013 and is available through a variety of retail and internet distributors.
While he has written extensively for the voice, he has also received praise for his chamber and symphonic music. His instrumental works have been performed by the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, the Brasov Philharmonic (Romania), the Plevan Philharmonic (Bulgaria) and the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Synchronia, the Corbett Trio, the Solaris Wind Quintet, the St. Petersburg Quartet, and Romanian cellist Anton Niculescu.
As a researcher, his work explores the relationships between Orthodox iconography and music and how theology and sacred traditions inform the creative process. He also has written extensively on the work of contemporary Orthodox composer Arvo Pärt. He has given numerous presentations on these and other topics at various symposia, conferences, and choral workshops.
Sander holds a doctorate in music composition from Northwestern University where he studied with Alan Stout and Andrew Imbrie and a master’s degree in composition from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where he studied with Alan Sapp. Other teachers include Rudolph Bubalo and Bain Murray.
To learn more about Kurt Sander, visit his website: http://orthodoxchoralmusic.com