Cappella Romana presents a free open rehearsal for donors and subscribers, completes recording of Music for Christmas by Richard Toensing

For this remarkable project, Richard Toensing composed an ambitious new a cappella work for Cappella Romana, requiring two choirs (24 singers), three male soloists (the Magi), treble and baritone duet (Christ), and soprano soloist (the Mother of God).

Entitled “The Kontakion of the Nativity of Christ,” Toensing set an English translation of the majority of the famous poetic sermon by St. Romanos the Melodist.

The 35-minute work will form the cornerstone of a new Christmas CD for future release.

In the week prior to the recording sessions, on Thursday, August 30, Cappella Romana’s donors and subscribers were treated to a free private open rehearsal, which featured not only a true working rehearsal to show how Cappella Romana prepares its programs, but also a complete performance of the Kontakion.

Here Dr. Alexander Lingas is shown addressing the crowd of donors and subscribers:

Following the rehearsal and performance, the audience was treated to a wine and cheese reception, hosted by Cappella Romana’s board of directors.

The ensemble completed recording Dr. Toensing’s magnum opus on Thursday night, September 6, at 12:30am (technically Friday morning) after three full nights of sessions to record this challenging but very beautiful, exhilarating and satisfying work. Producer Steve Barnett captured a bit of the ensemble’s mood in the following photograph of the ensemble, taken at 12:35am.

Front row: Wendy Steele, Amy Russell Cathey, Catherine van der Salm, Dr. Alexander Lingas, Dr. Richard Toensing (composer), LeaAnne DenBeste, Stephanie Kramer, Heather Roszczyk, Maria Karlin, Tuesday Rupp. Back row: Gayle Neuman, Aaron Cain, Linda Tsatsanis, Cahen Taylor, Ben Kinkley, Adam Steele, Daniel Burnett, Kristen Buhler, Les Green, Mark Powell, Stephen Marc Beaudoin, Dr. Virginia Hancock, Paul Sadilek, Melanie Downie Zupan, Jim Rose, Brian Francis, and David Krueger. Not shown: Blake Applegate, Kari Ferguson, David Stutz, Steve Barnett (producer), Bill Levey (engineer).

On Friday and Saturday nights, September 7 and 8, a smaller ensemble of 14 recorded a number of carols, also by Dr. Toensing, for inclusion on the future CD. Printed scores of these works (generally in no more than four parts) may be found here.

The recording sessions took place in St. Agatha Catholic Church in the Sellwood neighborhood of Portland.

The project was made possible through the support of a small number of private donors and a major grant from the Argosy Foundation Contemporary Music Fund.

Cappella Romana’s Chant Ensemble Presents the New Photo


Photographer Bill Stickney has created a fantastic image of Cappella Romana as men’s chant ensemble. Hi-res versions are available for print.

Music from Mt. Sinai: Recorded!

Cappella Romana’s program “Mt. Sinai: Frontier of Byzantium” was recorded last week, from August 20 through August 25, in the extraordinary acoustics of Holy Rosary Church in West Seattle. Alexander Lingas (center) led a nine-member ensemble in chants from the monastery of St. Catherine at Mt. Sinai in Egypt, featuring music for St. Catherine followed by the medieval liturgical drama, “The Service of the Furnace.” The program was performed in late 2006 at the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Smithsonian Institution, then again in January 2007 in Cappella Romana’s own series.

Among the singers were Stelios Kontakiotis, protopsaltis of St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Washington, DC; John Michael Boyer, protopsaltis of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco; and Constantine Kokenes, lampadarios of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Atlanta, GA. Mark Powell, David Stutz, David Krueger, and Thomas Thompson rounded out the ensemble, directed by Dr. Alexander Lingas, who also sang as a melodist.

Multiple Grammy-award winner Steve Barnett was producer, along with Bill Levey, our regular and excellent sound engineer. The ensemble faced serious challenges during the week, with external noise outside the church increasing each night (the sessions were scheduled from 8pm to 12 midnight). The final night a group of bikers on Harley-Davidsons were trolling the neighborhood. Fortunately they left after about 9:30pm, but the first hour and a half was spent on one page of music! Friday’s final session ended at 12:15am!

The over 70-minute disc is slated for release in 2008 or 2009. First to come out this autumn will be the disc “Byzantium in Rome: Medeival Byzantine Chant from Grottaferrata”, then later the double-disc “Byzantine Divine Liturgy in English.”

Needless to say, we were relieved to complete the music in time! Now we will record Christmas music by Richard Toensing just after Labor Day.

Christmas in the Summer: Preparing for Toensing’s Kontakion


In 2006 Cappella Romana was approached by the composer Richard Toensing to record a set of his Christmas carols and a new major work for double choir and soloists, The Kontakion of the Nativity of Christ, with a translation based on the English text by Fr. Ephrem Lash.

Last night (24 July 2007) was the first rehearsal led by chorusmaster Adam Steele, and I can tell already that it’s going to be a great program.

The full program will be recorded the week after Labor Day, directed by Alexander Lingas and produced by Grammy-award winner Steve Barnett.

Mark Powell
Executive Director

With Anonymous 4, Concord Ensemble at Pepperdine University in Malibu


Cappella Romana has been invited to perform as one of three headliner groups in the festival “The Ascending Voice” this June at Pepperdine University, an international symposium of sacred a cappella music. Representing the Orthodox a cappella tradition in Byzantine chant, Cappella Romana will be featured alongside Concord Ensemble (singing Latin polyphony) and Anonymous 4 (singing Southern Protestant and Shape-note hymnody).

Cappella Romana’s concert will be held on Tuesday evening, June 5, at 7:30pm. The ensemble will perform its program Mt. Sinai: Frontier of Byzantium.

Learn about the conference here.

Buy tickets here.

On tour in Santa Barbara prior to The Ascending Voice


Just prior to the conference at Pepperdine, Cappella Romana returns to Santa Barbara to perform its program Mt. Sinai: Frontier of Byzantium.

Its first performance in Santa Barbara since 2001, Alexander Lingas will direct the singers in a program of virtuoso medieval Byzantine chant from ancient manuscripts at St. Catherine’s Monastery, Mt. Sinai, Egypt.

Cappella Romana’s concert in Santa Barbara will be held on Sunday afternoon, June 3rd, at 3:30pm, among the mosaic icons of St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, Santa Barbara. Pre-concert talk at 3:00pm.

More information about the concert. Tickets at the door, 805/683-4492 or 685-8982.

Cappella Romana tours the East Coast this April

Princeton and Yale present Cappella Romana in
“Hellenes and Music of the Renaissance”

This April, just after Easter (Pascha) and before its series concerts in Portland and Seattle, Cappella Romana will appear at Princeton and Yale Universities in a program called “Hellenes and the Music of the Renaissance.”

Founding artistic director Alexander Lingas leads Cappella Romana in a program of works in Greek, Latin, and French born from meetings between East and West during the 15th and 16th centuries, including music by Manuel Gazes, John Plousiadenos, Guillaume Du Fay, and the Cretan Franghiskos Leontaritis (1518?-1572?), the son of a Greek mother and Italian father who eventually sang in Venice under Willaert in San Marco and in Munich under Lassus. (Photo: Piazza di San Marco, Venice)

Princeton Hellenic Studies: Friday, April 13, 2007

Yale Institute of Sacred Music: Saturday, April 14, 2007

Radiant Cloud in April


RADIANT CLOUD
Alexander Lingas, dir.

Luminous choral music by contemporary composers steeped in the Byzantine tradition. Featured works include: Radiant Cloud and the World Premiere of A Woman Clothed with the Sun, a setting from the Book of Revelation, by Michael Adamis and the “Benedictions” from the Requiem by Mikis Theodorakis, best known worldwide for his film score for Zorba the Greek.

Portland: Fri, Apr 20, 2007,
8:00pm @ St Mary’s Cathedral, 1716 NW Davis St

Seattle: Sat, Apr 21, 2007,
8:00pm @ Holy Rosary Church, 4139 42nd Ave SW

SPONSORED BY

DIGNITY MEMORIAL

Cappella Romana’s new weblog

Look here for news and items of interest for Cappella Romana patrons and supporters.

Mark Powell
Executive Director
Cappella Romana