Nikolai Kedrov, Sr.
Nikolai Nikolayevich Kedrov (1871–1940) was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, in a priest’s family. After completing the church precentors’ course at the Imperial Court Chapel, he directed a debutantes’ choir in Mily Balakirev’s Free Music School. In 1897 he graduated from the St. Petersburg Conservatory as a vocalist and joined the Moscow Private Opera. Simultaneously, he established a vocal quartet, which later came to be known as the “Kedrov Quartet.” From 1908–1915, the ensemble regularly took tours of Europe organized by the famous impresario Serge Diaghilev. Some of the concerts also featured the famous basso Fyodor Chaliapin. In 1913–14 the Quartet and Chaliapin collaborated in London on a recording of Russian folk songs
In 1917 Kedrov became a professor at the St. Peterburg Conservatory, but shortly thereafter he emigrated, along with his family, first to Berlin and then to Paris; the quartet was dissolved. In the difficult conditions of the emigration, he reconstituted the quartet, also changing its repertoire from primarily secular and folk music to the sacred music of the Russian Orthodox church. In the early 1920s, the quartet performed for the King of England. Later in the 1920s, they toured the US.
A student of Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai Kedrov was also a talented composer. Much of his quartet’s repertoire consisted of his own compostitions and chant arrangements. In 1922 he composed his best-known piece, the “Our Father,” which has become a staple in the repertoire of many Orthodox church choirs.
Translated from various Russian websites; no attribution of authorship given