About Cappella Romana

Its performances “like jeweled light flooding the space” (Los Angeles Times), Cappella Romana is a vocal chamber ensemble dedicated to combining passion with scholarship in its exploration of the musical traditions of the Christian East and West, with emphasis on early and contemporary music. Founded in 1991, Cappella Romana’s name refers to the medieval Greek concept of the Roman oikoumene (inhabited world), which embraced Rome and Western Europe, as well as the Byzantine Empire of Constantinople ("New Rome") and its Slavic commonwealth. Each program in some way reflects the musical, cultural and spiritual heritage of this ecumenical vision.

Flexible in size according to the demands of the repertory, Cappella Romana is one of the Pacific Northwest’s few professional chamber vocal ensembles. It has a special commitment to mastering the Slavic and Byzantine repertories in their original languages, thereby making accessible to the general public two great musical traditions that are little known in the West. Leading scholars have supplied the group with their latest discoveries, while its music director has prepared a number of the ensemble’s performing editions from original sources. In the field of contemporary music, Cappella Romana has taken a leading role in bringing to West Coast audiences the works of such European composers as Michael Adamis, Ivan Moody, Arvo Pärt, and John Tavener, as well as promoting the work of North Americans such as Fr. Sergei Glagolev, Christos Hatzis, Peter Michaelides, and Tikey Zes.

The ensemble presents annual concert series in Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. Critics have consistently praised these for their unusual and innovative programming, including numerous world and American premieres. The group has also frequently collaborated with such artists as conductor Paul Hillier, chant specialist Ioannis Arvanitis, and composer Ivan Moody.

Cappella Romana tours regularly and made its European début in March 2004 at the Byzantine Festival in London with concerts at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sophia. The Metropolitan Museum of Art presented the ensemble in its New York début for the exhibit “Byzantium: Faith and Power 1261–1557” in April 2004, which included the release of a CD of primarily live performances by Cappella Romana, Music of Byzantium, to accompany the exhibit. The ensemble has appeared in the Indiana Early Music Festival, the Early Music Society of the Islands (Victoria, BC, Canada), and the Bloomington Early Music Festival. The J. Paul Getty Museum recently presented Cappella Romana in the context of its exhibition, “Byzantium and the West,” and will again for its exhibit “Sinai” in 2006. The ensemble recently toured Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, hosted by the University of Limerick and the Byzantine Studies Center of the Queen’s University in Belfast, and presented concerts of Medieval Byzantine chant at the Grottaferrata Monastery near Rome and at the International Congress of Byzantine Choirs in Palermo, Sicily.

Cappella Romana has recorded eight compact discs: Tikey Zes Choral Works and When Augustus Reigned (Gagliano Records); The Akáthistos Hymn by Ivan Moody, Epiphany: Medieval Byzantine Chant, and Gothic Pipes: The Earliest Organ Music (Gothic); Music of Byzantium (in cooperation with the Metropolitan Museum of Art selling over 11,000 copies); Lay Aside All Earthly Cares: Music by Fr. Sergei Glagolev and The Fall of Constantinople (CR Records).

Forthcoming recordings include the Fall of Constantinople, the Byzantine Divine Liturgy in English, the Divine Liturgy set by Peter Michaelides, and 15th-century music of Cyprus.

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Alexander Lingas, Founding Artistic Director

Alexander Lingas, Cappella Romana's founder and artistic director, is currently a Lecturer in Music at City University in London and a Fellow of the University of Oxford's European Humanities Research Centre. He was formerly Assistant Professor of Music History at Arizona State University's School of Music.

Dr. Lingas has received a number of academic awards, including Fulbright and Onassis grants for musical studies in Greece with noted cantor Lycourgos Angelopoulos, a Junior Fellowship in Byzantine Studies at Harvard University's Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C., and a two-year Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for study in Oxford under Bishop Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia. From Michaelmas Term (Autumn) of 1998 until Trinity Term (Spring) of 2001 he was British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Oxford University's St. Peter's College. He has also served as a lecturer and advisor for the Institute of Orthodox Christian Studies at the University of Cambridge.

During the academic year 2003-2004 Dr. Lingas lived in Princeton, New Jersey as the recipient of two prestigious awards: a membership in the School of Historical Studies of the Institute for Advanced Study and an NEH Area Studies Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies. In January 2004 he presented the annual Alexander Schmemann Memorial Lecture at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in New York.

His upcoming projects include a study of Sunday Matins in the Rite of Hagia Sophia for Ashgate Publishing, as well as a general introduction to Byzantine Chant for the Yale University Press.

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Mark Powell, Executive Director

Executive Director Mark Powell has served Cappella Romana in multiple capacities, as one its principal singers since 1995, as president of its board of directors from 1999-2002, and since 2002 as its part-time executive director.  

After completing his undergraduate degree, he lived in Europe, where he was the general administrator of the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, and subsequently the managing editor of the International Choral Bulletin and projects manager for the International Federation for Choral Music in Namur, Belgium.  

Following his sojourn in Europe, for nine years he served as a music tour manager with ACFEA Tour Consultants, a concert tours company for performing arts groups from all over the world. He also served as director of marketing at Early Music America and Associate Editor of its publication, Early Music America Magazine. In 2006 he was tapped by Portland Baroque Orchestra as its new director of development and marketing, where he is responsible for the annual fund, corporate sponsorships, and major gifts.

He is a trained singer, having earned his singing degree from Seattle Pacific University and a masters degree in musicology at the University of Washington, and has held posts as both cantor and choir director in several Orthodox parishes. He also was a regular member of Seattle's Tudor Choir from 1993 to 2004. While in Europe he toured and performed with a number of professional choirs, including Choeur de Chambre de Namur, Belgium; Kammerchor Stuttgart, Germany; Wakefield Cathedral Choir, England; and the National Youth Choir of Great Britain.

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