Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev is one of the most widely performed of all living Russian composers. Each of his new compositions constitutes a milestone in contemporary musical history. His ability to imbue his music with profound religious content, to unite diverse cultures and styles, to invent new ways of musical expression while remaining faithful to the centuries-old classical tradition, and to utter most profound themes using a simple and comprehensible musical language, singles him out among present-day composers.
Hilarion Alfeyev was born on 24 July 1966. After graduating from Moscow’s Gnessins School of Music where he studied violin and composition, he enrolled at the Moscow State Conservatory. In 1987 he was ordained as a priest, and since 2002 he has been a bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church. He has chaired the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate since 2009, when he was elevated to the rank of Archbishop, and in 2010 he became a Metropolitan.
He is the author of more than a thousand publications on theology, history and musicology, including thirty books which have been translated into more than twenty languages. His musical compositions include pieces for a cappella chorus, chamber works and monumental oratorios for soloists, choir and symphony orchestra.
His most widely performed work, the St Matthew Passion (2006), has received worldwide recognition. Following its premiere in the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory in March 2007, it has been performed more than seventy times in different countries by the most distinguished soloists, choirs and orchestras. Invariably it receives standing ovations from audiences at each concert. Equally well–received have been Metropolitan Hilarion’s subsequent works: a Christmas Oratorio for two choirs and symphony orchestra (2007), the symphony Song of Ascent and the more recently completed Stabat Mater.