Dr. Nick Giannoukakis is one of the most renowned and respected cantors of the Greek Diaspora. His immersion in Byzantine Music began at the age of 7 under the personal tutelage of the late Archon Protopsaltis of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Canada Constantin Lagouros. He was additionally trained by the legendary cantors Emmanuel Hatzimarkos and Georgios Syrkas. He was awarded a certificate and diploma in Byzantine Music by the Musical Conservatory of Attica with a grade of “excellent” granted by the examination committee which included Emmanuel Hatzimarkos, Georgios Syrkas, and Dimitrios Trantalis. He briefly stayed at Philotheou Monastery on Mt. Athos and maintained communication with the monastery’s Prime Cantor, Fr. Panaretos who also added valuable experience and information to his knowledge base. During his stays in Greece, he met and interacted with George Bekatoros, the legendary Typikologist who guided him in the minutiae of the Typikon, its history and the details of the services and their rubrics. He served as Constantin Lagouros’ Lambadarios at the Annunciation of the Theotokos in Montreal (1984-1991). Between 1988-1996, he also participated in the lead group of the Byzantine Choir of Montreal, under the direction of the late Archon Protopsaltis of the former Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America, Matthaios Andreou. In 1991, His Eminence Metropolitan Sotirios of Toronto (Canada), gave him the blessing to assume the duties of Protopsaltis of the newly built church of Holy Cross in Laval, a suburb of Montreal. He faithfully served the parish until the time he left for Pittsburgh (1997). In January 1998, almost all the cantors of Western PA and Eastern OH came together under his leadership to form the Byzantine Choir of Pittsburgh, which soon received the blessing of Metropolitan Maximos to become the Byzantine Choir of the Metropolis, a blessing and distinction that it holds to this day. The choir’s history is findable at pahellenicfoundation.org/Byzantine_Choir. Dr. Giannoukakis is featured as a distinct entry (lemma) in the volume on Ecclesiastic Music of the “Μεγάλη Ορθόδοξη Χριστιανική Εγκυκλοπαίδεια” (Great Orthodox Christian Encyclopedia), a monumental and historic multi-volume works under the aegis of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I. The Choir is a distinct lemma in the chapter on “Greek Choirs of the Diaspora” by Prof. Ursula Vryzakis, in the Commemorative Proceedings (2018) in memoriam of Olympia Psychopaidis-Fragos (“Αφιερωματικός τόμος εις μνήμην Ολυμπίας Ψυχοπαίδη-Φράγκου 1944-2017”, επιμέλεια Μ. Τσέτσος, Γ. Φιτσιώρης, Ι. Φούλιας). Has has held many Byzantine Music formative programs/workshops for individuals of all ages across the USA and has also constructed an on-line video training program (theory and practice) for the Anastasimatarion. On December 6th, 1998, Dr. Giannoukakis was tonsured and elevated, by the act of “the laying on of hands” by His Eminence Metropolitan Maximos of blessed memory, to the position of Protopsaltis of the then- Diocese of Pittsburgh. He served as the Protopsaltis of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St. Nicholas from 2009 to March of 2020. He retains the offikion of Metropolis Protopsaltis to this day. These, and many other notable activities, and the opinion of renowned cantors in Greece, led to the inclusion of his Byzantine Music biography in the “who’s who” 3-volume compilation of Byzantine Music (Βυζαντινή Εκκλησιαστική Μουσική και Ψαλμωδία, Ιστορικομουσικολογική Μελέτη, Τόμος Γ ,́ σελ. 107-108, Φίλιππος Οικονόμου, Αίγιο 1997) as well as in other biographical works on Byzantine cantors and musicians (e.g. Λεξικό της Ελληνικής μουσικής, Τάκης Καλογερόπουλος, εκδόσεις Γιαλλελή, 2001). More recently, he is included among the notable modern day cantors (Musipedia), notable cantors of the Greek Diaspora (Πρωτοψάλτες Διασποράς) and notable Byzantine Choirs.

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