Over 1,000 people streamed into Saint Paul the Apostle Church here on Monday evening, February 7, 2011, to hear the St. Matthew Passion, composed by His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion [Alfeyev] of Volokolamsk, an episcopal member of the Board of Trustees of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary and chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations.
The performance—the US English-language premiere of the opus—was hosted by the seminary in cooperation with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York.
Maestro Greg Hobbs, who next week will conduct a performance of the work in Dallas, took command of soloists, string orchestra, and chorus to deliver a stately and majestic performance. Under his baton, The Salome Chamber Orchestera; famed soloists Mary Mackenzie, Ana Mihanovic, Blake Friedman, and Aaron Theno; and the New York Virtuoso Singers prepared by Harold Rosenbaum, magnificently elucidated text and music, creating a highly expressive yet sober symphonic experience for the audience. Protodeacon Vadim Gan, who sang the principal baritone part of “The Evangelist,” anchored their rhapsodic voices and soul-stirring strings to scriptural passages, which he intoned with humble subtlety.
Metropolitan Hilarion studied composition at Moscow Gnessin School of Music and subsequently at the Moscow State Conservatory. His musical compositions include the Divine Liturgy ; the All-Night Vigil  for a cappella choir; the Christmas Oratorio for soloists, boys choir, mixed choir, and symphony orchestra ; and A Song of the Ascent, a choral symphony on the Psalms .
Additional information and photos appear on the seminary web site at http://www.svots.edu/headlines/over-one-thousand-attend-st-matthew-passion-premiere.