Cappella Romana to sing Divine Liturgy in San Jose

Dr. Tikey Zes

Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, San Jose, CA

Sunday, September 28, 10:00am

The Divine Liturgy, with music composed by Dr. Tikey Zes (as recorded by Cappella Romana)

Under the direction of the composer, Dr. Tikey Zes

Following the fundraising event for the PAOI in San Francisco on Saturday night, Cappella Romana will sing the Divine Liturgy the following morning at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in San Jose, California.

Cappella Romana has long been an advocate of Dr. Zes’s compositions (the ensemble’s first CD is a monograph of his music, and is still in print).

The music for the service will be drawn from Dr. Zes’s settings of chants for the Divine Liturgy published in 1996. This setting was written for and dedicated to Cappella Romana in 1991, and was recorded on CD last year.

On this occasion the composer will direct Cappella Romana for the first time. Dr. Zes celebrates his 87th birthday in October. Chronia polla!

MusicWeb International Reviews A Time For Life

Robert-Kyr_A-Time-For-LifeBrian Reinhart of MusicWeb International reviews the new Cappella Romana release, A Time For Life:

“There can be no questioning Kyr’s skill as a composer. Just listen to the first five minutes, as singers enter one-by-one — there are only eight — to the accompaniment of a single solitary cello. Many writers would need half an orchestra to create the effect Kyr manages with one instrument. Kyr’s vocal style throughout is an ear-pleasing blend of traditional church music and contemporary, tonal, harmony with some really special climaxes: best of all the penultimate track and the “Dance of Life”. I think the best way to describe it is that there’s no doubting this music’s modern origins, but Haydn could listen to it with pleasure. … Speaking of the choir, the Cappella Romana here demonstrates why it has a devoted fan-base in the Pacific Northwest and, via records, across the globe. There is not a weak link or uninteresting voice among these eight singers. The three string players from Third Angle New Music deal superbly with their parts…The booklet includes notes by Kyr and conductor Alexander Lingas, full sung text, and a letter of commendation and congratulation from His All-Holiness Bartholomew, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.” —Brian Reinhart, MusicWeb International

Full review on

Buy The Recording Today!

Acoustics of Hagia Sophia at the Ritz Carlton San Francisco

Hagia Sophia Cappella Romana & CCRMA

Hagia Sophia: Cappella Romana & CCRMA

Cappella Romana is one of the featured artists to perform at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in San Francisco, in a gala on September 27 to raise funds for the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute at Berkeley.

The team from Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) will be providing virtual acoustics for the event, transforming a hotel ballroom into the acoustical environment of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople/Istanbul. Cappella Romana will perform Byzantine chants that were sung in Hagia Sophia just prior to the Fall of Constantinople.

CCRMA will also synthesize the acoustics of Holy Cross Orthodox Church in Belmont, California for a presentation of Greek-American choral music by Tikey Zes, one of the honorees at the event.

CCRMA, Stanford’s Department of Art & Art History, and Cappella Romana, led by Drs. Jonathan Abel, Bissera Pentcheva, and Alexander Lingas, are each partners in a collaborative project called “Icons of Sound,” which recently featured a performance of medieval chant from Hagia Sophia presented in Stanford’s Bing Hall.

More Photos from Utrecht

Many thanks to concert attendee Marnix van B. for sharing these wonderful photos from our Utrecht Early Music Festival performance last Sunday!

Alexander Lingas: Music, Acoustics, and Ritual in Byzantium

Enjoy the following video from an Alexander Lingas presentation in the Stanford Seminar Series “Aural Architecture” given in 2013:

Leitourgeia kai Qurbana reviews Arctic Light

Arctic Light Finnish Orthodox Music_Cappella Romana_Classical CDsRichard Barrett reviews the Cappella Romana Arctic Light recording on his Leitourgeia kai Qurbana blog:

“Where there is an intriguing religious culture, one hopes there will also be an intriguing culture of religious music, and Fr. Ivan Moody, conducting Cappella Romana, makes the case for the music of the Orthodox Church of Finland on the disc Arctic Light: Finnish Orthodox Music. … it’s an aural treat in every way, with the vowel-rich language sparkling in the voices of Cappella’s singers. One can hear the Finnish language “in dialogue” with the ecclesiastical past of its country… Fr. Ivan as the conductor gets Cappella Romana singing this kind of polyphonic repertoire as well as they have in years; the choir sounds bright, clear, and musical. … The result is that Fr. Ivan and Cappella Romana are able make some beautiful, engaging music within that context, and provide a fascinating snapshot of an Orthodox musical culture that is developing its own very strong voice. Recommended.” —Richard Barrett

Read the full review at

Buy Arctic Light Today!

Utrecht Festival Photos

Sound check, concert and post-concert photos from Cappella Romanana’s nearly sold-out Oudemuziek Early Music Festival concert in Utrecht, Netherlands:

CityArts Reviews Seattle Fall of Constantinople

Seattle Pre-Concert Lecture | The Fall of Constantinople | Alexander Lingas

The Alexander Lingas Pre-Concert Lecture before The Fall of Constantinople in Seattle

CityArts Magazine reviews Cappella Romana’s Seattle performance of The Fall of Constantinople:

“In Cappella Romana’s latest program Friday night at St. Joseph Parish, “The Fall of Constantinople,” we heard some thoughts of the defenders in music of the era—from the Byzantine side in Greek, and the Catholic side in Latin. … the sound is hypnotic, drawing the listener in to a relaxed and absorbing place. … This concert was a preview of Cappella Romana’s upcoming performance of “The Fall of Constantinople” at the Utrecht Early Music Festival in early September. … Utrecht is in for a fascinating concert.” —Philippa Kiraly, CityArts Magazine

Read the full review at!

ArtsWatch Reviews Fall of Constantinople

Portland Fall of Constantinople Concert 2014Oregon ArtsWatch reviews the Portland performance of The Fall of Constantinople, saying “Portland vocal ensemble excels in hometown performance before major European festival appearance”:

“Just past what the Greeks called ‘dog days of summer,’ Cappella Romana shone like Sirius in our Portland sky. Saturday night the premier choral ensemble presented a thoughtful, dramatic performance of Greek and Latin compositions written before and after the fall of Constantinople, the title of the concert. … All ten voices in Cappella Romana were remarkable. Jon Boyer, Mark Powell (and conductor/artistic director Alexander Lingas) were first rate in lead roles as Priest or Deacon. Mel Downie Robinson and Catherine Van der Salm were pristine, mellow in their intermittent roles. … Kudos to Cappella Romana, which last month received a $90,000 grant from the Oregon Community Foundation. And bravo to the Foundation for recognizing that Cappella Romana is a worthy ensemble led by one of the world’s leading scholars in Byzantine music, a Portland treasure, Dr. Alexander Lingas. My pew-mate for the concert, a Portland visitor from a small town of 5,000, said hearing this music was like going back in time, being immersed in an era – a period- piece concert. The only thing missing, she said, was a stone cold church and a gentle snowfall. OK. I get that. Transported is good.” —Bruce Browne, Oregon ArtsWatch

Read the full review at!

Notes for the Utrecht OudeMuziek Festival!

Programme Notes for ‘The Fall of Constantinople’

Cappella Romana – Utrecht Early Music Festival 2014

Hapsburgs borrowing the double-headed eagle from the last Byzantine dynasty, the Palaiologan emperors

Hapsburgs borrowing the double-headed eagle from the last Byzantine dynasty, the Palaiologan emperors

The Palaiologan double-headed eagle

The Palaiologan double-headed eagle

The creation of a re-imagined ‘Holy Roman Empire’, an entity which centuries later would be ruled by the Hapsburgs, was initially the response of Frankish kings and a resurgent Papacy to the retreat of Roman imperial power to Eastern Mediterranean lands ruled from Constantinople. Originally called Byzantium, this ancient city was christened ‘New Rome’ by its re-founder Emperor Constantine I and is known today as Istanbul. The political tensions with the Eastern Roman (‘Byzantine’) Empire that followed Charlemagne’s imperial coronation in 800 AD were heightened by religious disputes that eventually led the bishops of Rome and Constantinople to excommunicate each other in 1054 AD. The Fourth Crusade attempted to force reunion in 1204 by sacking Constantinople, the occupation of which lasted until the Emperor Michael Palaeologos recaptured the city in 1261. Later Palaeologan emperors oversaw a shrinking state that was artistically and spiritually rich but financially and politically weak as Western powers retained strategically important colonies on former Byzantine lands.

This concert offers a musical reconsideration of relations between Greeks and Latins during the twilight of Byzantium. Its texts speak from various perspectives of faith, tradition, division, hopes of reunion, and a final sense of loss. An Entrance Rite for a Sunday Divine Liturgy (Eucharist) as it would have been heard by Constantine XI Palaeologos, the last Roman Emperor of Constantinople, demonstrates continuity with the past, combining ancient hymns and acclamations with a new composition by imperial cantor and theorist Manuel Chrysaphes. Two motets composed by Dufay for the Malatesta family testify to continuing Western involvement in the East after the Crusades: Vasilissa ergo gaudecelebrates the 1421 marriage of Cleofe Malatesta da Pesaro to Theodore Paleologos, Despot of the Morea (Peloponnesus) and son of the Emperor Manuel II (1391–1425); while Apostolo glorioso commemorates the patron saint of Patras, the Peloponnesian city for which Pope Martin V had appointed Cleofe’s younger brother Pandolfo as Latin Archbishop in 1424. The 15th-century manuscript Athens 2401 also witnesses to cultural interchange in Patras with curious additions to the standard repertories of Orthodox chant including Greek examples of cantus planus binatim—including the polyphonic Hymn for Great Compline by Manuel Gazes sung on this concert—and a Gregorian Kyrie transcribed in Byzantine neumes with unusually long note values and signs denoting vocal ornaments.

Desperately seeking Western aid against the rising power of the Ottoman Turks, Emperor John VII led a Byzantine delegation seeking to reunite the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches at the Council of Ferrara-Florence (1438–39) presided over by Pope Eugenius IV. This event was later praised by John Plousiadenos (ca. 1429–1500), a theorist and composer from Venetian-ruled Crete who converted to the Church of Rome.  The concert concludes with Greek and Latin laments marking the fall of Constantinople to Sultan Mehmed II on Tuesday, 29 May 1453: a setting of verses from Psalm 78 by Manuel Chrysaphes and the Lamentatio Sanctae Matris Ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae by Guillaume Dufay.