About Photini Downie Robinson
Photini (aka Mel) Downie Robinson earned her degree in Vocal Performance from the DePauw University School of Music in 1998 and has been singing professionally ever since. An affinity for early music led her on a journey from secular madrigals in college choir to sacred polyphony, through the lush landscape of Baroque oratorio, on to Gregorian chant, and eventually into the highly specialized niche of Byzantine chant.
Passionate about all things liturgical, she served as a staff singer in various traditions until she was received into the Eastern Orthodox church in 2015. She is a chant student of John Michael Boyer (Protopsaltis of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, San Francisco metropolis) and has worked with Alexander Lingas, Stelios Kontakiotis, and Achilleas Chaldaiakis. She is one of the leading advocates for integrating women into the classical tradition of the Psaltic Art and is deeply committed to the education, training, and support of all aspiring chanters.
Photini began her career in Cincinnati, Ohio, and was an artist with the prestigious Vocal Arts Ensemble before relocating to the Pacific Northwest in 2002. Since then, she has sung with nearly every professional ensemble in the region: Cappella Romana, Resonance Ensemble, Cantores in Ecclesia, Trinity Chamber Singers, the St. Tikhon Choir, Portland Vocal Consort, In Mulieribus, the Ensemble of Oregon, St. Paul Chamber Singers, Bach Cantata Choir, Willamette Concert Opera, the Julians (a “genre-defying” lady quartet), Portland Baroque Orchestra, and Third Angle New Music Ensemble. She is in high demand as a soloist, chamber musician, cantor, teacher, clinician, and liturgical consultant. She is an experienced and stylistically savvy performer of many genres: classical, contemporary, folk, pop, gospel, traditional chant, opera, and musical theatre, but her true passion is making music together with others in intimate groups. She has worked under the baton of many of today’s greatest leaders in the choral world: Helmuth Rilling, Ivan Moody, Benedict Sheehan, Mark Bailey, Timo Nuoranne, Katherine FitzGibbon, and Ethan Sperry. She loves working with young singers and has served as style and diction coach for the Portland State Chamber Choir and Pacific Youth Choir.
Photini is a principal chanter at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Portland, Oregon (USA) where she serves as liaison between the parish choir and chant crew and facilitates the training and development of parish musicians. She is a touring artist with world-renowned vocal ensemble Cappella Romana and also serves on their Board of Directors. She is always looking for opportunities to collaborate, learn, and educate. One day she hopes to return to school and earn a master’s degree in theology and Byzantine music.