The choir was established in 1998 with the objective to promote the ancient musical art-form of Byzantine chant, from its birthplace in the Byzantine Empire. Our core purpose is twofold; to perform spiritually uplifting Byzantine repertoire, and to ensure the future of this emotive musical art-form through training and educating chanters of this tradition.
The choir in its present form was established by the late George Combis (+2015), Protopsaltis of the Church of All Saints, Belmore, Sydney in 1998. Prior to this, the choir was known as the Sydney Byzantine Choir. Due to its member popularity from Sydney and other parts of Australia; the then imminent name change became a natural progression given its member base origins. The current choirmaster is Asterios Zouriakas, who originated from Melbourne, Australia.
The choir is based in Sydney Australia and it consists of approximately nineteen Greek-Australians, passionately devoted to the dissemination and study of this most expressive, yet solemn Byzantine musical tradition. With the blessing of His Eminence the Archbishop of Australia Stylianos, and the continuous efforts of its choirmaster late George Combis, the choir has chanted in a multitude of church services.
The choir has also appeared at prominent venues and festivals including Sydney Festival, Australia Day Celebrations, St Andrew’s Cathedral, St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney University, Enmore Theatre, Carnivale Christi, along with a host of performances across Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, and Regional areas. The choir has also published a number of studio and live CDs.
The work of the choir, other than its regular concert appearances is multi-faceted. Firstly it aspires to train young and old chanters to ultimately position themselves at the analogion (psalteri) of each church parish. Most of Sydney’s young chanters have been or are members of the Australian Byzantine Choir. In the past it has run seminars covering various aspects of Byzantine chant and hymnology. It also takes part at celebratory services such a vigils, parish feast celebrations, and sacraments including weddings. And finally, it performs charity work to aid the vulnerable both here in Australia, and abroad.