NKS celebrated their opening season with two world premieres of works by young New York contemporary composers, in 2015. Kachanov commissioned Path to Kailas by Yuri Boguinia for voices, string quartet and percussion. The world premiere was given in 2016, at Zankel Hall in Carnegie Hall, as part of the “Music for a Sustainable Planet” program, organized by the UN. The group performed yet another world premiere that year, Stabat Mater for harp and chorus by George Oakley, also at Carnegie. Oakley wrote this piece for the NKS ensemble and dedicated it to conductor Kachanov. The group also presented early and contemporary music in the program “Soaring Monuments, Modern Treasures”. In 2018, NKS performed Patarag (Divine Liturgy) by the Armenian composer Komitas, and Amao Omi (Senseless War) by the Georgian composer Giya Kancheli, written for chorus and saxophone quartet. In 2019, NKS, together with the Russian Chamber Chorus of New York, performed a program “Color and Sound” featuring Morton Feldman’s legendary “Rothko Chapel”, as part of the exhibition “The Value of Sanctuary: Building a House Without Walls,” at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Nikolai Kachanov Singers perform regularly and are artists-in-residence at the Nicholas Roerich Museum on the Upper West Side.
Nikolai Kachanov is the founder and artistic director of the Nikolai Kachanov Singers and the Russian Chamber Chorus of New York. Born in Russia in the Siberian city of Barnaul, capital of the Altai Region, he holds a Ph.D. in choral conducting from the Novosibirsk Conservatory and completed his post-doctoral studies at Moscow Conservatory. In the 1970s, Kachanov taught at Novosibirsk State Conservatory. In 1981, Kachanov moved to the United States with his wife, Tamara, a professional musician, who also manages Nikolai Kachanov Singers. Kachanov introduced American audiences to the ancient chants previously banned in his homeland and completely unknown in America. In the early 1990s, he created the Ussachevsky Festival of Russian-American contemporary music, held at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Conductor Kachanov has prepared large concert choruses for Vladimir Ashkenazy, Leon Botstein, Valery Gergiev, Yuri Temirkanov and Peter Tiboris. Additionally, Kachanov released a recording of his composition, The Call, in the spring of 2003. Two of his choral works, Benevolence, a five-part choral cycle set to the poetry of Nicholas Roerich, and Reflections on Stanzas from the Book of Dzyan (part of H.P. Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine) for chorus, synthesizers and trumpets, are part of the CD recording Benevolence, released in 2014. Kachanov has been interviewed by Fred Child for NPR’s From the Village to the Concert, and on the WNYC programs Around New York with Fred Child, and New Sounds and Soundcheck, with John Schaefer.