Peter Michaelides and The Divine Liturgy of John Chrysostom

Cappella Romana will be premiering a new work from Peter Michaelides during the Be Radiant, O Peoples! tour this coming weekend. So in preparation, we wanted to share this review from our 2006 release of Peter Michaelides: The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom from AllMusic.com:

“Cappella Romana’s Peter Michaelides: The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is a recording of an amazing, latter-day manuscript discovery: a complete Greek liturgy in the English language from 1960 by Greek-born American composer Peter Michaelides. Michaelides had studied with Ingolf Dahl and Halsey Stevens at USC and had composed his Liturgy using simple, quartal-, or quintal-based harmonies and long stretches of Byzantine chant translated into English. This manuscript had lain unpublished, and apparently unperformed, in the attic of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Portland, OR, when it was discovered in the early ’90s by the leader of Cappella Romana, Alexander Lingas…

“…the sound of it is pure West Coast; cool, transparent harmonies and an unhurried approach to both rhythm and the overall form of the work. Later in the 1960s, Michaelides shifted his stylistic focus to a more international style in line with what Penderecki and Xenakis were doing. However, in 1960 he was closely allied with the Greek Orthodox church in California and would remain so until his departure to teach at the University of Northern Iowa. Nevertheless, Michaelides composed this monumental 66-minute work and it wasn’t used in services at first light given that it was in English and the musical style was a little too unorthodox for churches of that day, despite its concision and obvious devotional content…

“This is a fascinating disc; usually when a new, revelatory music manuscript is turned up, the composer is long dead. In this case, Michaelides is able to witness the fruits of his handiwork some 40 years after he laid it to rest; it is likely easier now to appreciate what an original and visionary conception this was from the standpoint of the 21st century than it would have been at anytime in the 20th. The choral singing — relaxed and faithful to the extremely restrained resources of the musical text — from Cappella Romana is just right, along with the hard work handling all of the spoken and semi-sung texts by Rev. Archpriest George A. Gray III, domestikos Mark Powell, and Lingas himself, serving as the reader.” — Uncle Dave Lewis, AllMusic.com

Read the full review on AllMusic.com

Purchase this recording on Amazon.com!

Hear Peter Michaelides’ new work during the Be Radiant, O Peoples! Tour:

The Easter Canon of St. John of Damascus (8th cent.)

World premieres by: Tikey Zes, John Vergin, Richard Toensing, Ivan Moody, Peter Michaelides, and Robert Kyr.

Lincoln City
Fri., May 18, 2012, 7 pm
Lincoln City Cultural Center, 540 NW Hwy 101
Presented by José Solano; made possible in part by
The Oregon Cultural Trust. Tickets 541-994-9994.

Portland
Sat., May 19, 2012, 8 pm
St. Mary’s Cathedral, 1739 NW Couch St (at 18th)

Seattle
Sun., May 20, 2012, 4 pm (matinée)
St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church
2100 Boyer Ave E, Seattle

Prices start at $25. Purchase Tickets Directly or call 800-494-8497 (phone service fee applies)

Discounts students, seniors, & Arts for All and student rush at door. Pre-concert talks one hour prior to concerts in Portland and Seattle.

Ivan Moody Guestblog: The Paschal Canon of St. John of Damascus

Ivan Moody
Composer, Ivan Moody

The Paschal Canon of St John of Damascus encapsulates the theology, and the joy, of the Resurrection of Christ, the most important day of the Orthodox liturgical year. As the text has it in Fr Ephrem Lash’s translation, “This chosen and holy day is the first of Sabbaths, the Queen and Lady, the Feast of Feasts and the Festival of Festivals.”

I was deeply moved and honoured to be asked by Cappella Romana, with whom I have had a long and fruitful working relationship, to contribute to this multi-composer setting of this wonderful text. I chose to set the 8th Ode, which both connects the Resurrection to the people of Sion, coming “from West and North” and directly to the experience of the Triune Godhead, “Almighty Father, Word and Spirit”, manifestations of Paschal joy.

Musically, I have used the Byzantine chant of the received tradition as a basis (and have retained the Greek text), but have taken it in new directions, as has been my practice in recent years, endeavouring to find a meeting point between the liturgical sobriety of monophonic chant and the textural luxuriance of polyphonic writing – expanding the chant, as it were, by incorporating its characteristics into my melodic writing and constructing the harmony on that basis, endeavouring never to lose sight of its context and message. At the same I am perfectly aware of the mixed heritage that a composer who has worked in Russian, Greek, Bulgarian and Serbian traditions, and who has never lost sight of the great tradition of English choral music, has inevitably absorbed! Responding accordingly to such a wealth of traditions of part of the challenge, and the joy, of composing.

— Ivan Moody

Meet Richard Toensing

May 18-20 during the Be Radiant, O Peoples! tour, Cappella Romana will premiere a new work by composer Richard Toensing. Richard Toensing is not a new composer to Cappella Romana fans, however, as we released the recording Kontakion On The Nativity & Carols By Richard Toensing in 2008.

Kontakion On The Nativity & Carols By Richard Toensing:

American composer Richard Toensing creates a vibrant musical synthesis of East and West with new settings of ancient Orthodox Christmas texts.

Indebted to Slavic traditions, his virtuosic Choral Concerto for unaccompanied double choir and multiple soloists uses the dramatic words of St. Romanos the Melodist (6th c.) to recount the mystery of Jesus’ birth. Toensing’s more intimate New Orthodox Carols for the Nativity of Christ alternate between exuberant celebration and joyful contemplation as they bridge the gap between Byzantine and American hymnody.

Richard Toensing:

Richard Toensing was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on March 11, 1940.He received his B. Mus. degree with honors from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota in 1962, and the M.M. (1963) and D.M.A. (1967) degrees from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Ross Lee Finney and Leslie Bassett. Toensing returned to the University of Michigan for post-doctoral work in electronic music in the summer of 1968.

His first academic appointment was at Upsala College, East Orange, New Jersey, where he served as Instructor in Fine Arts (later Assistant Professor) and Director of the Upsala Choirs from 1966 till 1972. He then accepted a position at the University of Colorado in Boulder, where he served as Assistant Professor, later Associate and Full Profesor of Composition, and as the Director of the University’s Electronic Music Studio, New Music Festival, and New Music Ensemble. He has served as Chair of the Composition/Theory Faculty at Colorado from 1984 to 2001.

Toensing has won numerous awards for composition, including the Joseph H. Bearnes Prize from Columbia University, two BMI student composer awards, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a commission from the National Endowment for the Arts. He has been a MacDowell Colony Fellow three times.

His compositions span a variety of styles, from the gestural, free atonal work of the 60’s and 70’s to a renewed interest in various forms of diatonic music in more recent years. He has written numerous works for chorus, chamber music in various genres, and works for large ensembles. His music has been influenced by Russian Orthodox chant, Lutheran chorales, and also by the works of other composers: Schuetz, Gesualdo, Varese, Finney, and Pärt.

Be Radiant, O Peoples!
The Easter Canon of St. John of Damascus (8th cent.)

World premieres by: Tikey Zes, John Vergin, Richard Toensing, Ivan Moody, Peter Michaelides, and Robert Kyr.

Lincoln City
Fri., May 18, 2012, 7 pm
Lincoln City Cultural Center, 540 NW Hwy 101
Presented by José Solano; made possible in part by
The Oregon Cultural Trust. Tickets 541-994-9994.

Portland
Sat., May 19, 2012, 8 pm
St. Mary’s Cathedral, 1739 NW Couch St (at 18th)

Seattle
Sun., May 20, 2012, 4 pm (matinée)
St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church
2100 Boyer Ave E, Seattle

Prices start at $25. cappellaromana.org or 800-494-8497 (phone service fee applies)

Discounts students, seniors, & Arts for All and student rush at door. Pre-concert talks one hour prior to concerts in Portland and Seattle.

Meet John Vergin

May 18-20 during the Be Radiant, O Peoples! tour, Cappella Romana will premiere a new work by composer John Vergin. John Vergin has more than a history of composition with Cappella Romana — he’s also been a Cappella Romana singer! Cappella Romana’s Christmas recording When Augustus Reigned also featured Cappella Romana performing his music.

John Vergin:

John Vergin was raised in nearby Washington State and came to Portland in 1974 to attend Reed College. His focus at Reed was music and theatre, and the skills he honed and the contacts he made at that time have served to sustain a life in those disciplines ever since.

A bass-baritone, Vergin deeply enjoys classical song literature, Schubert and Faure in particular, and also has an affinity for early music, including the works of Purcell, Dowland, Campion, and the early Italians. As an oratorio soloist he has performed the Requiems of Brahms, Faure, Durufle, and Mozart; the St. John and St. Matthew Passions of Bach, and many a Handel’s Messiah. He has frequently been a soloist with the Choral Arts Ensemble, Bravo Vancouver, Cappella Romana, and the Portland Baroque Orchestra.

Vergin’s range of interests have been well realized in the theatrical realm, where he has found work as music director, composer, and actor. His original music for Classic Greek Theatre of Oregon has been award winning, as have been his performances of the principle baritone roles of Gilbert and Sullivan, mostly with Mock’s Crest Productions.

His composing has centered mainly on vocal music, both solo and choral. He has written songs on the poetry of Poe, Neruda, Clare, and Shakespeare. His choral works have been performed by Portland groups Choral Cross-Ties, Choral Arts Ensemble, Cappella Romana, Cantores in Ecclesia, and In Mulieribus.

Vergin is accompanist and continuo player for Portland’s Bach Cantata Choir, organist at St. Rose of Lima church, and singer/assistant organist at Holy Rosary church. He teaches singing privately at home, and has been a singing teacher and coach at Reed since 1995.

Be Radiant, O Peoples!
The Easter Canon of St. John of Damascus (8th cent.)

World premieres by: Tikey Zes, John Vergin, Richard Toensing, Ivan Moody, Peter Michaelides, and Robert Kyr.

Lincoln City
Fri., May 18, 2012, 7 pm
Lincoln City Cultural Center, 540 NW Hwy 101
Presented by José Solano; made possible in part by
The Oregon Cultural Trust. Tickets 541-994-9994.

Portland
Sat., May 19, 2012, 8 pm
St. Mary’s Cathedral, 1739 NW Couch St (at 18th)

Seattle
Sun., May 20, 2012, 4 pm (matinée)
St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church
2100 Boyer Ave E, Seattle

Prices start at $25. cappellaromana.org or 800-494-8497 (phone service fee applies)

Discounts students, seniors, & Arts for All and student rush at door. Pre-concert talks one hour prior to concerts in Portland and Seattle.

Meet Composer Tikey Zes

May 18-20 during the Be Radiant, O Peoples! tour, Cappella Romana will premiere a new work by composer Tikey Zes. Cappella Romana has a long history of working with Mr. Zes, including a whole CD of his Choral Works which was one of the ensemble’s earliest releases, and a new work on the Angelic Light compilation. So as we prepare this new world premiere, we wanted to introduce you to the man behind the music:

Tikey Zes (b. 1927) was raised in Southern California and completed his doctoral studies at USC, having studied composition under renowned neo-classicist Ingolf Dahl. Dr. Zes, however, soon relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he assumed musical directorship of both the Berkeley Chamber Singers, with whom he recorded the music of Ockeghem, and the Greek Orthodox Church (now Cathedral) of the Ascension in Oakland. He later moved to San Jose, where he became Professor of Composition at San Jose State University and choir director of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas. Throughout his career, Dr. Zes tirelessly worked for the improvement of Greek-American liturgical music. He has composed extensively in both Greek and English for the Orthodox liturgy, cultivating a graceful style of polyphony based on the modes and melodies of Byzantine chant. In addition, he has served frequently as a guest conductor and clinician throughout the United States. For his distinguished service to the Orthodox Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate awarded him the offikion of “Archon Lampadarios,” a title customarily bestowed on the director of the left choir in the patriarchal chapel. Upon retiring from his post at San Jose State, Dr. Zes assumed directorship of the Music Ministry programme of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of San Francisco.

Be Radiant, O Peoples!
The Easter Canon of St. John of Damascus (8th cent.)

World premieres by: Tikey Zes, John Vergin, Richard Toensing, Ivan Moody, Peter Michaelides, and Robert Kyr.

Lincoln City
Fri., May 18, 2012, 7 pm
Lincoln City Cultural Center, 540 NW Hwy 101
Presented by José Solano; made possible in part by
The Oregon Cultural Trust. Tickets 541-994-9994.

Portland
Sat., May 19, 2012, 8 pm
St. Mary’s Cathedral, 1739 NW Couch St (at 18th)

Seattle
Sun., May 20, 2012, 4 pm (matinée)
St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church
2100 Boyer Ave E, Seattle

Prices start at $25. cappellaromana.org or 800-494-8497 (phone service fee applies)

Discounts students, seniors, & Arts for All and student rush at door. Pre-concert talks one hour prior to concerts in Portland and Seattle.

Preparing for “Be Radiant, O Peoples!”

Cappella Romana is a week from our “Be Radiant, O Peoples” rehearsals, but in the meantime you can enjoy this work from Ivan Moody (which appears on the new Angelic Light compilation). We’ll be premiering a new work by Ivan Moody during the “Be Radiant, O Peoples” concerts:

“Live In Greece” is getting closer!

Upcoming release Live in Greece has made it to the factory stage. So keep on the lookout as we inch ever-closer to release day!









Check out a video from the Greek tour:

And make sure to watch this video and more on the new Cappella Romana YouTube Channel!

Image Journal reviews Angelic Light

ImageJournal.org’s Image Update features a great new review of Cappella Romana’s new compilation Angelic Light: Music from Eastern Cathedrals. Read an expert of the review right here, and then find the link to the full review on ImageJournal.org:

“…The great news is that our local musical gem is recording music that can be heard anywhere in the world. Angelic Light: Music from Eastern Cathedrals is something of a sampler CD: the tracks are taken from a series of albums that Cappella Romana has been releasing in recent years (twelve in all since 2000)… Other pieces come directly from Orthodox liturgical services, such as communion verses and hymns to the Virgin Mary. It is fascinating to compare the four different versions on this album of the Cherubic hymn from the Byzantine Eucharist’s ordinary Great Entrance chant. “We who mystically represent the Cherubim, and who sing the thrice-holy hymn to the life-giving Trinity…let us lay aside every care of this life so that we may receive the King of all….” Break down your inhibitions and get Angelic Light: you’ll soon want to obtain other albums by Cappella Romana.” — Image Update

Read the full review on ImageJournal.org!

Purchase Angelic Light: Music from Eastern Cathedrals from Amazon.com

Be Radiant, O Peoples!

Working under Muslim rule in and around Jerusalem during the 8th century AD, St. John of Damascus—defender of icons, theologian, poet and musician—composed a radiant hymn for Easter Sunday morning, his Paschal Canon. Over the centuries his joyful verses praising the Resurrection of Christ have been adapted to countless languages and musical styles across a range of cultural traditions.

In tribute to Cappella Romana’s 20th Anniversary, scholars and composers who have contributed to the international success of the ensemble will offer settings of St. John’s masterpiece.

World premieres by: Tikey Zes, John Vergin, Richard Toensing, Ivan Moody, Peter Michaelides, and Robert Kyr.

Be Radiant, O Peoples!
The Easter Canon of St. John of Damascus (8th cent.)

Lincoln City
Fri., May 18, 2012, 7 pm
Lincoln City Cultural Center, 540 NW Hwy 101
Presented by José Solano; made possible in part by
The Oregon Cultural Trust. Tickets 541-994-9994.

Portland
Sat., May 19, 2012, 8 pm
St. Mary’s Cathedral, 1739 NW Couch St (at 18th)

Seattle
Sun., May 20, 2012, 4 pm (matinée)
St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church
2100 Boyer Ave E, Seattle

Prices start at $25. cappellaromana.org or 800-494-8497 (phone service fee applies)

Discounts students, seniors, & Arts for All and student rush at door. Pre-concert talks one hour prior to concerts in Portland and Seattle.

Cappella Romana to be featured on OPB’s Oregon Art Beat

Mark your calendars for Thursday, May 10th! Cappella Romana will be featured on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Oregon Art Beat at 8pm (PDT).

Take a look at a previous appearance by the ensemble on OPB:

For more information visit http://www.opb.org/programs/artbeat/!