It has been reported that Harilaos Taliadoros, one of the great performers and teachers of Byzantine music in our times, has reposed at the age of 95, due to infection with the coronavirus. Those who ever had the opportunity to hear him live know what a master of Byzantine music he really was. If I were to list my own personal ten best worship experiences in an Orthodox church in my life, one of them would certainly be when I had the unique opportunity to hear him chant in the mid-1990's an expanded (because no one wanted it to end) Great Vespers for the feast of Saint Methodios of Constantinople at Holy Cross Chapel in Brookline, Massachusetts, with him as the Protopsaltis and Photios Ketsetzis as the Lampadarios. It may have been the closest to heaven I've ever been in my life. May his memory be eternal!
Harilaos Taliadoros was born in Thessaloniki in 1926. He was distinguished for his excellent voice and musical talent from his childhood. His teacher in Byzantine chant was Protopsaltis Christophoros Koutsouradis from Chios.
In 1942, at the age of 16, he was appointed the Lambadarios of the Church of Saint Therapon by the ever-memorable Gennadios, the then Metropolitan of Thessaloniki, and at the end of the same year he became the Protopsaltis of the same church.
In 1944 he moved to the Church of Saint Phanourios and John the Baptist where he stayed until 1952 when he was called to the Church of the Hagia Sophia (a significant cathedral of Thessaloniki) by Metropolitan Panteleimon to succeed Protopsaltis Socrates Papadopoulos.
The greatest impact on Taliadoros' formation as chanter was his acquaintance with Archon Protopsaltis Konstantinos Pringos, whom he first met in 1945.
Harilaos Taliadoros was a prolific composer and his numerous books provide an excellent source of sometimes traditional and other times personal analysis of music found in classical editions of Byzantine chant. Despite his overall traditional style, he has been criticized for having introduced some polyphonic chants in his publications as well as his church repertoire.
Worth mentioning are his teaching activities in various music schools in Thessaloniki where he has trained hundreds of students, thus contributing to the preservation and dissemination of authentic Byzantine chant. He has been invited to chant to many feasts in Constantinople, various places in Greece and overseas. He was honored to have chanted with Protopsaltis Thrasyvoulos Stanitsas at various occasions.
Among his students one can single out Athanasios Bougiouklis, Angelos Kounas, Christos Chalkias, Theodoros Vasilikos and Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos.
In recognition of Harilaos Taliadoros' important contributions to Byzantine chant and his services to the Church, the Ecumenical Patriarch awarded him the ophikion of the Archon Protopsaltis of the Archdiocese of Constantinople.
Below is the last Cherubic Hymn he chanted at the Cathedral of Hagia Sophia in Thessaloniki on 12 January 2020, after chanting in that church for 68 years.