Nikolai Kachanov was born in the Siberian city of Barnaul, capital of the Altai Region of Russia. Trained as a pianist in his early years, Kachanov earned appreciation for his achievements as a jazz musician and for his devotion to Russian sacred music during times when these genres were officially disapproved in his homeland. He holds a Ph.D. in choral conducting from the Novosibirsk Conservatory and completed post-doctoral studies at the Moscow Conservatory. In the 1970s Kachanov enjoyed an active and highly successful career in Novosibirsk as a conductor of choral works from throughout the classical music canon, and as a teacher and mentor of aspiring young conductors. Kachanov is a composer of choral and electronic music and is currently the artistic director of the Russian Chamber Chorus of New York.