Saint Ephraim Male Choir was founded in 2002 and has gradually grown to be the most popular vocal ensemble in Hungary. The founder and artistic director is Tamás Bubnó, Liszt-award winning choral conductor. The members of the choir have exceptional vocal abilities and high-level musical qualifications.

The choir was named after Saint Ephraim, the Syrian (306-373) whose contemporaries used ‘the harp of the Holy Spirit’ as his epithet. His chants and hymns guided a great number of people towards the just road.  The principal goal of Saint Ephraim Male Choir is to research, present and spread the vocal heritage of Byzantine-rite Christianity, both in Hungary and abroad. The other missionary ambition of the Choir is to endorse European contemporary music and to nurture the rich Hungarian literature for male choruses (Liszt, Bartók, Kodály, Ligeti)..

After a smashing success winning the 1st prize in 2006 in the category of Professional Chamber Choir at the 25th Anniversary Competition in the Hajnówka International Festival of Orthodox Music (Poland), Saint Ephraim’s international recognition grew. They were the first ensemble coming from a non-Slavic country to win first prize in the history of the competition.

The festival success in Poland opened the door for the Choir’s stepping up to the international concert podium:  in the previous ten years they gave concerts in Abu-Dhabi, Berlin, Vienna, Bruxelles, Buenos Aires, Fez, Fujairah, Ljubljana, Montevideo, Moscow, Paris, Bratislava, Rome, St Petersburg and Warsaw.

Participation in the following festivals;

  • Budapest Spring Festival every consecutive year since 2006
  • Valley of Arts Festival – Kapolcs, Hungary every consecutive year since 2006
  • International Art Festival – Fujairah UAE 2016
  • Bartók Festival – Miskolc, Hungary 2015
  • Fez Festival of World Sacred Music – Fez, Morocco 2014
  • The Cathedral Organ Festival Bratislava – Slovakia 2013
  • Mikolowskie Dni Muzyki – Poland 2013
  • Concentus Moraviae Festival – Czech Republic 2012
  • Mozart Marathon Budapest – Hungary 2012
  • Gdansk Spring Festival – Poland 2011
  • Liszt Festival Bratislava – Slovakia 2011
  • Zemplén Festival – Hungary 2011
  • Musik Festspiele Saar – Germany 2011
  • Dvorák Festival – Olmouc, Czech Republic 2010
  • Liszt Festival, Raiding/Doborján – Austria 2010
  • Miskolc Opera Festival – Hungary 2007, 2010
  • Donaufest-Ulm – Germany 2010
  • Janacek May Festival – Czech Republic 2010
  • Sakralnej Festival – Poland 2010
  • Festival d’Auvers sur Oise – France 2009
  • Tchaikovsky Marathon – Budapest, Hungary 2008
  • Festival de Royaumont – France 2008
  • Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival – Germany 2007

Saint Ephraim Choir cherishes an excellent relationship with the Hungarian Greek Catholic Church: they often sing at services and church music events. They are constantly invited to perform at the programmes of the Hungarian Ruthenian minority as well as other minorities in connection with Byzantine religion such as Bulgarian, Greek or Ukrainian. Saint Ephraim Choir was awarded with Pro Cultura Minoritatum Hungariae Prize in 2012 for endorsing Ruthenian culture in Hungary and abroad.Though Saint Ephraim Male Choir regularly gives concerts at prominent musical centres and festivals in Europe, their highly successful performances in their homeland serve as a basis for their most regular activity. They have been showcasing the Orientale Lumen (Light of the East) series since 2011 in St Stephen’s Basilica, Budapest, they regularly perform at the Budapest Spring Festival, at the Marathon series of the Budapest Festival Orchestra, at the Arcus Temporum contemporary music festival in Pannonhalma and the Zemplén Music Festival.

Saint Ephraim Male Choir released eight recordings. Their album Byzantine Mosaics latter received the Supersonic Award by Pizzicato Magazine (Luxembourg) in June 2010. The most recent acclaim, both nationally and internationally has been given for the Bartók and Folk Album released in spring 2015.

Numerous Hungarian composers wrote pieces for the Choir: Barnabás Dukay, György Philipp, László Sáry and Péter Zombola.

 

The Choir often has joint performances with internationally renowned ensembles, orchestras and soloists such as;

Tito Ceccherini
King’s Singers
Riccardo M. Sahiti
Optina Pustyn
Eduard Kutrowatz
Moscow Patriachate Choir
Lászlo Fassang
Orthodox Singers Male Choir
Joseph Kelemen
Budapest Festival Orchestra
Paolo Crivellaro
Amadinda Percussion Group
Stanislav Surin
Budapest String Orchestra
Robert Mandel
Weiner-Szász Chamber Orchestra
Evgeny Nesterenko
Moravian Symphony Orchestra - Zlin
Anatoly Fokanov
Nektaria Karantzi
Dragoslav Pavle Aksentijevic
Sister Marie Keyrouz
Márta Sebestyén
Tünde Szabóki
Bea Palya
Andrea Rost
Balázs Szokolay Dongó
Abeer Nehme
Nishat Khan

Discography

Bartók & Folk

Complete works for male choir, interspersed with folk music.

After seven years of preparation by artistic director Tamas Bubno and the 16 singers, the time seemed ripe to present an unfamiliar side of this great Hungarian genius, to both his compatriots and the world at large. For Bartok’s male choruses draw directly on the melodic world of Hungarians and the other peoples of the Carpathian Basin, but their message is universal, deep, and they speak to us all: a man has his place in the world; his prayers, struggles, feelings, thoughts, fears, love, mortality and strength swell, pulsate and surge within us.

Performers

Saint Ephraim Male Choir
Tamás Bubnó – artistic director

Tenor I: Sebestyén Szabó,István Viszló, Márton Komáromi, Lajos Fodré, 
Tenor II: Zoltán Gavodi, Lőrinc Bubnó, Bertalan Nagy, Attila Szilágyi

Baritone: Kornél Pechan, Márk Bubnó, Béla Laborfalvi Soós, Ágoston Cser

Bass: Péter Cser, László Domahidy, György Silló, Péter Tóth

Instrumental soloists:

Balázs Szokolay Dongó: Flute, bagpipe, tárogató

Márk Bubnó: gardon

Production notes:
Recorded at Bartók Béla Unitarian Church, Hőgyes Endre utca, Budapest, 2-5 December, 2014
Recorded and mixed by Zoltán Osváth
Artwork & design: Huszár László (Greenroom)

Produced by László Gőz
Label manager: Tamás Bognár

Orientale lumen

This recording was made on four very special evenings. The Saint Ephraim Male Choir marked its tenth anniversary through a series of concerts titled Orientale Lumen – Light of the East. Organized by the Philharmonia Budapest Concert Agency this series was held at the magnificent St. Stephen’ s Basilica in Budapest, and featured internationally renowned guests.

Performers

Saint Ephraim Male Choir
Tamás Bubnó – artistic director

Soloists:Evgeny Nesterenko (1, 16)
Márta Sebestyén (4, 6)
Tünde Szabóki (13, 15)
Fülöp Kocsis, Bishop of Hajdúdorog (9)
György Philipp (9)

Production notes:
Recorded live at St. Stephen’s Basilica, Budapest, 19 December 2011, 6 January,
15 April and 3 June 2012
Recording producers: Tibor Alpár, Péter Illényi
Sound engineers: Tamás Horváth, Béla Kuklis, Sándor Papp
Edited by Sándor Peccol
Recordings are property of MTVA (Media Support and Asset Management Fund)
Design: Áron Baráth

Producer: László Gőz
Label manager: Tamás Bognár

In association with MTVA (Media Support and Asset Management Fund)
Supported by the Hungarian Development Bank and the Saint Ephraim Foundation

Byzantine Mosaics II

Byzantine Mosaics is a consciously eclectic record in its style, form and musical formulation – just like the world of the Byzantine rite. The coherence that glitters through this diversity cannot be expressed, nor defined rationally. It has its origin in the Christian faith itself and in particular in one of its most amazing manifestations: the Byzantine rite, the Byzantine liturgy. The pieces on this recording are offered as a musical programme for a Byzantine act of worship. In places the vocal material is interrupted by instrumental interludes enhancing either thematic coherence or detachment.

Performers

Saint Ephraim Male Choir
Tamás Bubnó – artistic director
Guest soloists:
Tünde Szabóki – soprano
Fülöp Kocsis, bishop of Hajdúdorog – voice

Tenors:
István Viszló, Sebestyén Szabó, Donát Varga (*20), Zoltán GavodiAndrás Hajnal, Attila Szilágyi, Bertalan Nagy, Lőrinc Bubnó

Basszusok:
György Philipp (*6,7), Márk Bubnó, Kornél Pechan, Béla Laborfalvi Soós, Péter Cser (*20), György Silló (*4), László Domahidy (*4)

Production notes:
Recorded at the Greek Catholic Basilica of Máriapócs, 4-5 May, 2012
Recorded and mixed by Zoltán Osváth
Photos: Zsuzsa Tiborné Kapin
Artwork & design > www.bachman.hu

Produced by László Gőz
Label manager: Tamás Bognár

Supported by the National Cultural Fund of Hungary

Byzantine Mosaics I

This CD is the third by the Saint Ephraim Male Choir to be inspired by the Byzantine musical world. Byzantine Mosaics resembles in character and theme the Byzantine Spirit CD released in 2006 by Orpheia.

With this CD we have attempted to compile material that encourages contemplation and prayer, that provides a musical and spiritual experience, and that lifts us away from the present.

Performers

Saint Ephraim Male Choir
Tamás Bubnó – artistic director

Tenor I: József Csapó, László Kálmán, Sebestyén Szabó
Tenor II: Zoltán GavodiAndrás HajnalIstván Viszló
Baritone: Márk Bubnó, Kornél Pechan, György Philipp
Bass: Péter CserLászló Domahidy, Béla Laborfalvi Soós, György Silló

Production notes:
Recorded at Lutheran Church in Kékgolyó utca, Budapest, 26-30 April, 2009
Recorded and mixed by Zoltán Osváth
Photo: István Huszti
Artwork & design: www.bachman.hu

Produced by László Gőz
Label manager: Tamás Bognár

Supported by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and the municipality of Homrogd

Liszt Male Choruses II

The first CD in this series, launched in 2009 by the Saint Ephraim Male Choir with the aim of recording all of Ferenc Liszt’s works for male choir, contained secular choruses. Now, with this recording of the ‘Szekszárd Mass’ and some motets, the first disc of sacred music in the complete edition is released.

Performers
László Fassang – organ
Saint Ephraim Male Choir
Artistic director: Tamás Bubnó

Soloists:
Donát Varga
István Viszló
Philipp György
Péter Cser


Tenors:
László Kálmán, Donát Varga, Sebestyén Szabó, István Viszló, Lajos Fodré, Bertalan Nagy, Zoltán GavodiAndrás Hajnal, Csaba Tóth, Georgi Sztojanov
Basses:
Márk Bubnó, György Philipp, Márton Tóth, Lőrinc Bubnó, Kornél Pechan, Béla Laborfalvi Soós, Péter Cser, György Silló, Zsolt Lettner, László Domahidy

Production notes:
Recorded at Reformed Church of Sárospatak, 1-3 July, 2010
Recorded and mixed by Zoltán Osváth
Photo: Gyula Riczu
Artwork & design: www.bachman.hu

Produced by László Gőz
Label manager: Tamás Bognár

The recording was made in a coproduction with the Klassz Music Office of the Hungarofest PBO

Supported by the National Cultural Fund of Hungary

Liszt Male Choruses I

A considerable portion of Liszt’s oeuvre is made up of compositions for male choir, which have to date not truly gained their rightful place in the choral repertoire. Of the more than 60 varied male choruses, composed a cappella or accompanied by piano, organ, a few instruments, or orchestra, often extant in various complete, printed versions, a great number have not been recorded even once. The Saint Ephraim Male Choir, led by conductor Tamás Bubnó, has set itself the task of programming in concerts, recording and releasing on CD all Liszt’s works for male choir and ensembles of male voices, both the sacred and the secular. In unearthing the sources, laying the scholarly groundwork and writing the commentaries, assistance is provided by the staff of the Budapest Liszt Memorial Museum and Research Centre.

Performers
Saint Ephraim Male Choir
Tamás Bubnó – artistic director

Tenor I: József Csapó, László Kálmán (solo: 3. Ständchen), Sebestyén Szabó,István Viszló
Tenor II: Zoltán GavodiAndrás Hajnal, Georgi Sztojanov
Bariton: Márk Bubnó, Kornél Pechan, György Philipp (solo: 11. Der Gang um Mitternacht)
Bass: Péter CserLászló Domahidy, Béla Laborfalvi Soós (solo: 12. Festlied), György Silló

Instrumental soloists:
Balázs Szakszon – trombone I (1)
Péter Bálint István – trombone II (1)
Sándor Balogh – trombone III (1)
József Bazsinka – tuba (1)
József Szász – trumpet (8)
Gábor Komlóssy – trumpet (8) 
Márk Bubnó – kettle-drum (8) 
László Fassang – organ (14)

Production notes:
The recording was made in coproduction with the Klassz Music Office of the Hungarofest PbO
Recorded at Lutheran Church in Kékgolyó utca, Budapest, 20 June – 1 July, 2009
Recorded and mixed by Zoltán Osváth
Artwork & design: www.bachman.hu

Produced by László Gőz
Label manager: Tamás Bognár

Orientale Lumen II

Acting as a further edition to the much anticipated Oreiental Lumen 1, this second double disk is testimony to the success of the concert series which grew to be one of the most popular church music events in Budapest. Recordings gathered were sourced from 7 concerts, covering Byzantine traditions from the Middle East, Greece, Russia and the Balkans.

Performers

Saint Ephraim Male Choir
Tamás Bubnó – artistic director

Guest Performers: Márta Sebestyén, Nektaria Karantzi, Szabóki Tünde, Fokanov Anatolij, Dragoslav Pavle Aksentijević, Kocsis Fülöp – Hajdúdorogi megyéspüspök
NIKA Chamber Choir
Barilli Women’s Choir (Katalin Tasić)

 Moscow Patriarchate Orthodox Choir (Anatolij Grindenko)

Production notes:

Saint Stephen’s Basilica, Budapest, December 9, 2012; January 7, May 5., June 23., December 21, 2013; January 7, April 23, June 8, 2014

Produced by László Gőz
Label manager: Tamás Bognár