The Axion Estin Foundation’s international ensemble of chanters return to the Metropolitan Museum’s Medieval Sculpture Hall for the critically acclaimed Byzantine Pop-Ups. Praised by the New Yorker as a “commendable effort to bring holiday music back to the magnificent space,” the chanters perform ancient sacred and secular chants in Greek, Arabic, Armenian and Russian, in front of the only full-scale, authorized painted copy of the Deesis Mosaic from Hagia Sophia. The original mosaic displaying the Deesis (Christ flanked by the Virgin and Saint John the Baptist) was one of the finest works produced in Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire. Concealed for centuries after the fall of the city to the Ottoman Turks in 1453, the mosaic was one of the many in Hagia Sophia restored by the Byzantine Institute of America in the late 1930s. The newly revealed mosaics were the focus of an exhibition at the Museum in 1944, when this work was featured.
Museum guests will be invited at the Medieval Sculpture Hall (Gallery 305) at the sound of “talanto,” the wooden plank used instead of a bell in monasteries of the Eastern Christian tradition to summon the fathers to prayer and supper. The program of music includes the signature hymn “Christ is born Glorify Him…” and proceeds with an eclectic selection of Christmas chants and carols from the Byzantine Empire. The music includes scores in multiple languages as they have been transmitted orally or preserved in centuries-old music manuscripts.
, director of the Axion Estin Chanters, is the foundation’s artist in residence since 2013. He returns this upcoming December 2017 to The Metropolitan Museum of Art following his performances in three previous Byzantine Pop-Ups (December 2014, 2015, and 2016), as well as in the concerts Looking East from Byzantium (March 2015) and Al-Quds: Jerusalem (December 2016,) both at The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium. Eleftherios is affiliated with the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Shrine Church and the William Spyropoulos School, both in Flushing, New York.
* The reception is free of charge. However, please note that due to building requirements only registered attendees will be admitted to this event. No walk-ins will be permitted.For a full schedule of the Mostly Orthos Festival please download our detailed PDF