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Deacon Nicholas Kotar

Lecturer in Music


I was born in San Francisco, CA, into a family of Orthodox clergymen. I attended St. John of San Francisco Orthodox Academy, the first K-12 Orthodox school in the United States, from which I graduated in 2001. I graduated from UC Berkeley in 2004 with a degree in Russian Literature and from Holy Trinity Seminary in 2014.


Singer and Conductor: I have performed with the UC Berkeley Chamber and University Choruses both as a choir member and a soloist in several concerts and was one of several soloists on Ensemble Cherubim’s recording of Bortnyansky’s concertos, I Cried out to the Lord. I have also previously been a soloist with Cantabile Chorale, Bay Area Classical Harmonies, and other Bay Area ensembles. I used to be the conductor of both the youth choir and the St. John of San Francisco Men’s Chorale in San Francisco, with whom I released two CDs. Currently I am the Monastery and Seminary choir conductor at Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, NY, with whom I recently recorded a CD as well. I am a member of the Eastern American Diocese Music Committee and on the advisory board for the Patriarch Tikhon Russian American Musical Institute (PaTRAM). I also actively perform with the St. Tikhon Monastery Chamber Chorus, which records new and classic works of Orthodox sacred music.


Author/Translator: I translate (primarily sacred works) from Russian to English for a variety of publishing houses, including Holy Trinity Publications in Jordanville. I am also a writer of fiction. I blog on seeking beauty and meaning in history and folk culture on the Ancient Faith blogging platform as “The Storyteller.”


Educational Background


B.A.   Slavic Languages and Literatures, UC Berkeley, 2004

B.Th. Theology, Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary, 2014


Teaching Interests


History of sacred music

Current and future practice of Orthodox church music

Russian history and folk culture

Russian literature

Culture formation


Current Projects


I am currently translating Zahar Prilepin’s award-winning novel The Hermitage for Glagoslav Press in Amsterdam. I am also translating volume 3 of the collected works of St. Ignatius Brianchaninov for Holy Trinity Publications. I have two more publishing projects forthcoming for both St. Tikhon’s Seminary Press and St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press. I am also in the middle of writing and publishing Raven Son, a 5-novel series of epic fantasy inspired by Russian fairy tales.


Recent Courses


MUSIC-111: Church Music I

MUSIC-112: Church Music II

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Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary
PO Box 36
Jordanville, N. Y. 13361
Telephone: (315) 858-0945