Cappella Romana Postpones January 2022 Concerts and Recording

A Byzantine Emperor at King Henry's Court

CAPPELLA ROMANA POSTPONES JANUARY 2022 CONCERTS AND RECORDING

PORTLAND, SEATTLE — Due to mounting public health concerns regarding COVID-19 and the increased prevalence of the omicron variant, Cappella Romana’s January performances of A Byzantine Emperor at King Henry’s Court have been postponed.

“Our music director Alexander Lingas would be coming from the UK,” explains Mark Powell, executive director.

“And our principal soloist Stelios Kontakiotis would be flying from Greece.  With so many flights being cancelled because of the omicron surge, and the high risk of even one singer becoming infected, the Board of Directors and I made the difficult decision to reschedule this project.” 

The concerts were to take place in mid-January, followed by a recording session. That session is now slated to take place in summer 2022, with a recording release to coincide with the rescheduled concerts in January 2023. 

Cappella Romana is offering current ticket buyers and subscribers the option of transferring their tickets to the January 2023 date or to other concerts this season, donating their tickets, or receiving a refund.

All ticket donations will be allocated to pay our professional singers, compensating them in part for what they would have earned during the project. “Given the circumstances, this is simply the right thing to do,” says Executive Director Mark Powell.

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Support Cappella Romana by December 31

“Kassianí’s time-defying flow of melodies imparts serene glimpses into eternity.” —Gramophone Magazine

“The most beautiful concert experience in recent memory.” —Cappella Romana Patron


Dear friend,

I believe you’ve felt it: That moment when the music washes over you and an amazing calmness takes over. Your heartbeat slows. Your breathing gets deeper. You connect with something bigger and deeper.

I’m writing to you today because I think you, as someone who has experienced Cappella Romana in concert, know that feeling and how our music has done that for you. And because you understand, I’m hoping you’ll make a gift …

To keep the music going strong.

Will you make a gift of $100, $250, or even a really generous $500? It’s tax deductible for this year when you give by December 31.

Yes! I want to support Cappella Romana.

Also, a gift of $1,000 or more will be matched 100% by the Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund this year, DOUBLING your impact.

It’s especially important this year. After nearly two years of pandemic, professional musicians are really hurting — and that includes our singers. Opportunities to perform and travel came to complete stop with the pandemic, and they still haven’t completely recovered.

Many of Cappella Romana’s roster of singers are still hurting from the last two years.

If our singers have enriched your life, nourished your soul, or just given you the joy of listening to music you love — please think about making a donation to support our established practice of paying industry-standard fees to these professionals.
 
I know you’re the kind of person who cares about the music and the musicians who make it. So I hope you’ll consider a new year-end donation today.

People like you have made so much possible:

* The re-launch of our concert series with A COVID Requiem, and Benedict Sheehan’s GRAMMY-nominated Liturgy, in-person and video-on-demand.

* The release of Hymns of Kassianí in April. Recording sessions: Heaven and Earth (Psalm 103) in July and two new future albums featuring memorial music by Sir John Tavener and John Michael Boyer recorded in August – in Ireland!

* A live performance of our internationally acclaimed Hagia Sophia program at Utrecht Early Music Festival, the largest of its kind, for 1,500 vaccinated (!) audience members.

* Our Lost Voices of Hagia Sophia recording was on the Billboard Classical Chart for 44 weeks!

In our noisy, rushed, frantic world, this music is more important than ever.
Your giving reaches classical music lovers, world music aficionados, and people like you who want to experience something you can’t get anywhere else.
 
Your giving makes it possible to grapple with today’s big questions through music:

* Hymns of Kassianí features the earliest known music by a woman composer, the 9th-c. nun and poet Kassía, sung by choirs of women and men together.

* Robert Kyr’s oratorio A Time for Life explores the urgent issue of our ecological crisis. Heaven and Earth offers a musical view of the dialogue between science and faith.

* A COVID Requiem allowed us to mourn our losses from the pandemic with hope for the future.

In support of this important work, I’m writing to ask you to make a gift of $100, $250, or even a generous $500 or $1000 by December 31.

To stay financially on track, we need to raise $75,000 by the end of the year.  The good news is that we have already raised nearly half of that goal.

You can put us over the top with your donation today. Just use the enclosed form, or rush your gift through cappellaromana.org/give by December 31.

If our music has been important to you, “pay it forward” by giving today.

Give if you want there to be more quality music like this available for everyone.

Give if you support musicians in these hard times.


Your generous support makes a tremendous difference, and I am beyond grateful that you’re part of the Cappella Romana family.

With sincere gratitude,

Tom         
                            
Thomas W. LaBarge
President of the Board of Directors
Cappella Romana

P.S. Keep this music available for everyone! Lend your support now with a year-end gift of $100, $250, or even a generous $500, (or $1000 matched 100%) by December 31.

Sheehan’s Vespers is “Stunning”

Music critic Steven A. Kennedy reviews Benedict Sheehan and The Saint Tikhon Choir’s recording of Benedict Sheehan’s Vespers on his Cinemusical blog:

“Over the last couple of years, Capella Records has released some quite stunning recordings of choral music.  They most recently received a Grammy nomination for their recording of the Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom. … Texts are in English here which greatly expands the music’s communicability which is equally coupled with Sheehan’s gorgeous choral style.  The piece combines chanted moments that connect to the arching liturgical components with the choral responses often set in rich harmony. … The music flows effortlessly from one moment to the next providing opportunity for color changes with various vocal solos.  Perhaps the most intriguing is the Song of Simeon which is essentially a mini concerto for basso profundo (!) requiring a quite extraordinary low range (performed here by the superb Glenn Miller).  A blend of Rautavaara and Lauridsen in moments of the work can help provide that larger link to approaches by popular current choral composers of which this work should sit rather firmly in the midst. Having had the opportunity to hear many of Sheehan’s previous works and Capella Records’ dynamic recordings, it may seem a bit redundant to say here that once again they have captured the chorus in a superb acoustic that provides a fine ambience.  It allows for the clarity of individual lines as well as a stunning full choral sound that is enhanced by the multi-channel recording.  Tossing this into your surround sound system will yield an experience that is quite transcendent.  Sheehan’s Vespers is a beautiful work well performed here by committed choristers bringing a sense of religious adoration that transports the listener.”

See the full review on the Cinemusical Blog

Cappella Records earns its first GRAMMY® Nomination!

Sheehan Liturgy - GRAMMY® Nomination

Cappella Records, the record label of Cappella Romana, is thrilled to announce its first release to earn a GRAMMY® nomination! 

The Recording Academy just nominated Cappella Records’ 2020 release of Sheehan: Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, conducted by the composer, Benedict Sheehan and featuring Michael Hawes, Timothy Parsons, Jason Thoms, and The Saint Tikhon Choir for the Best Choral Performance.

Hear this GRAMMY®-nominated work LIVE in Seattle, Portland, and Lake Oswego December 3-5, conducted by the GRAMMY®-nominated composer/conductor Benedict Sheehan! In-person in the Northwest, and beginning December 10, video-on-demand worldwide.  More information here.

“The vision of Cappella Records is to extend our work to peer ensembles that serve our mission,” says Mark Powell, Executive Director of Cappella Records and Cappella Romana. “It is only rarely that a piece of this standard comes into the repertoire, and I hope that many more ensembles will program it as a result of this nomination.”

All of us at Cappella Records send hearty congratulations to conductor and composer Benedict Sheehan, the production team at Soundmirror (Blanton Alspaugh, producer), and all the singers who made this album!

The roster of The Saint Tikhon Choir for this release also includes several familiar members of Cappella Romana: Richard Barrett, Kristen Buhler, Photini Downie-Robinson, David Hendrix, Glenn Miller, and Mark Powell.

The Recording Academy also nominated Blanton Alspaugh for Producer of the Year, Classical for a portfolio of recordings including Cappella Records releases, Hymns of Kassianí (Alexander Lingas and Cappella Romana) and Sheehan: Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom (Benedict Sheehan & The Saint Tikhon Choir).

About Cappella Records

Cappella Records is the label operated by the vocal ensemble Cappella Romana, which combines passion with scholarship in its exploration of early and contemporary music of the Christian East and West, both on its own and in collaboration with peer artists and ensembles all over the world. 

Cappella Records has released over 25 titles, including the recent Billboard chart-topping Lost Voices of Hagia Sophia. 

More recordings and information at cappellarecords.com 

Richard Barrett joins Cappella Romana in new senior-level role

Richard Barrett
Richard Barrett

I am so happy to announce our newest addition to the Cappella Romana team, Richard Barrett. Richard joins us in a newly created senior position of Director of Publications, Grants, and Operations.

FULL PRESS RELEASE BELOW

You may already know him as a part of Cappella Romana’s community, as he has collaborated with us on a broad range of projects. A member of our roster of singers since 2014, he most recently appeared in September 2021’s A COVID Requiem program.

He also co-produced the 2018 premiere performances and forthcoming recording of Heaven and Earth: A Song of Creation (Psalm 103), and he has already contributed to a new pending publication of medieval Byzantine chant from Grottaferrata.

Richard’s unique professional background also includes experience in nonprofit advancement and administration, scholarship, and church music. He will be working on publications of all kinds, including our recording releases on Cappella Records, new grant research and writing, and operations.

Please join me in welcoming Richard to the Cappella Romana team.

Mark Powell
Executive Director

CAPPELLA ROMANA NAMES RICHARD BARRETT DIRECTOR OF PUBLICATIONS, GRANTS, AND OPERATIONS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Portland, OR – November 9, 2021 – Cappella Romana is pleased to announce the appointment of Richard Barrett as Director of Publications, Grants, and Operations, effective November 9, 2021.         

The appointment concludes a very competitive international search, which attracted candidates from across North America and Europe.

“I am so pleased to welcome Richard to Cappella Romana’s leadership team,” said executive director Mark Powell. “His broad engagement with Orthodox sacred music, the arts and technology, and the academy as well as non-profit administration and fundraising made him the ideal candidate. Out of a very competitive slate, music director Alexander Lingas and I agreed that Richard was ideal as we forge ahead in new strategic directions.”

“I believe strongly in Cappella Romana’s vision and mission,” said Richard. “Cappella Romana has influenced me and my professional path since I sang in 1997’s Taverner/Tavener program as part of The Tudor Choir. This experience inspired me to pursue Orthodox music, liturgy, and spirituality in scholarship, advocacy, and engagement.”

Richard continued, “I am honored to have the opportunity to serve an organization that has made such a difference in my own life.”

Richard Barrett was most recently Executive Director of AGES Initiatives. He is the Artistic Director and co-founder of the The Saint John of Damascus Society, and Director of Music at Holy Dormition Greek Orthodox Church in Somerville, Mass. He studied Byzantine chant with Dr. Ioannis Arvanitis, Fr. Romanos Karanos, and John Michael Boyer.

He sings regularly with ensembles such as Cappella Romana, The Saint Tikhon Choir, Psaltikon, the Archdiocesan Byzantine Choir of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. Orthodox churches and sacred music conferences regularly invite him as a clinician, speaker, and singer. The National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians recently appointed him co-chair of the Liturgical Music Education Committee, and since 2016 he has served as Chant Liaison to the Boston Federation of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians.

He holds an M.A. in Ancient History and a B. Mus. in Vocal Performance, both from Indiana University, and a Performer’s Certificate in Byzantine Music from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology.  Publications include peer-reviewed articles in The Journal of Early Christian Studies and Studia Patristica, as well as essays on Orthodox musical topics in print and online venues. He lives in Boston with his wife Megan and their children Theodore and Katherine.

About Cappella Romana

Cappella Romana is a professional vocal ensemble that performs early and contemporary sacred classical music in the Christian traditions of East and West. The ensemble is known especially for its presentations and recordings of medieval Byzantine chant (the Eastern sibling of Gregorian chant), Greek and Russian Orthodox choral works, and other sacred music that expresses the historic traditions of a unified Christian inheritance. Its recording label Cappella Records has released over 25 titles and its publication arm has two forthcoming volumes.

Contact: Mark Powell, Executive Director

[email protected]

(503) 236-8202

Choir and Organ Five Star Review for Hymns of Kassianí

The October 2021 issue of Choir & Organ magazine features a five-star review of Cappella Romana’s Hymns of Kassianí recording:

“There’s surely no group more qualified to release the music of the earliest known female composer – a ninth-century Byzantine religious phenomenon. … Her work, now risinga bove earlier censorship and misogynist misattribution, is here celebrated with hugely impressive, authoritative scholarship and performance practice, sonorously glorious vocal colour, and pride by the male and female voices of Cappella Romana… This SACD, recorded in solemnly monumental acoustics, captures both spirit and music with divine intensity.”

—Rebecca Tavener, Choir and Organ

See the full review in Choir & Organ magazine

Cappella Romana Returns to Europe

Cappella Romana returns to Ireland and the Netherlands this month, first to make two recordings in Ireland and then to give the festival finale concert at The Utrecht Early Music Festival, Netherlands.

The ensemble will first gather under the auspices of the Limerick Early Music Festival to film a concert for showing at the Iași Byzantine Music Festival (Romania) in October. The film will feature medieval Byzantine chants from the Monastery at Grottaferrata in honor of St. Benedict. These include newly edited chants supported by a major grant from the National Endowment for Humanities. 

Cappella Romana will then record sessions for a future new release: Sir John Tavener’s Panikhida (Orthodox Memorial Service for mixed choir) and Byzantine Chants for Funeral in English. Cappella Romana associate director John Michael Boyer composed these chants for Sir John’s funeral, which took place in November 2013 at Winchester Cathedral.

Later in September, the Panikhida and the funeral chants will open Cappella Romana’s Pacific Northwest concert series in a program entitled A COVID Requiem.

In the Netherlands, Cappella Romana will give the festival finale concert on September 5 at the Utrecht Early Music Festival, the largest of its kind in the world. The ensemble will sing Lost Voices of Hagia Sophia in the virtual acoustics developed by the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics at Stanford University.

This is Cappella Romana’s third appearance at this prestigious event. The Festival is only admitting fully vaccinated audiences before fully vaccinated artists.

For these projects, Cappella Romana is drawing singers and crew from four countries: UK, Ireland, Greece, and from all over the US. 

In October, Cappella Romana will perform Robert Kyr’s environmental oratorio, A Time for Life, in the Basilica of Notre Dame University in Indiana. The invitation-only performance will be given before His All Holiness Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch. 

-Recording evaluation-

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Hymns of Kassianí in Gramophone!

The August 2021 Issue of Gramophone Magazine features a wonderful new review for Cappella Romana’s Hymns of Kassianí recording!

“The booklet includes Lingas’s excellent, lengthy background essay on Kassianí, her reception and the historical context of medieval Byzantine chant, along with the original Greek texts and translations.

Recognised among the pre-eminent interpreters of Eastern Orthodox chant, Cappella Romana are ideally suited to the task, combining deep familiarity with the tradition and advances in scholarship relating to historic performance practice (involving, for example, the use of drones, ornamentation and rhythmic articulation and countervailing distortions resulting from the Western lens of Gregorian chant).

What makes this album so remarkable, in addition to its focus on the first extant music known to be by a female composer, is the genuinely transportive effect of the a cappella singing, which varies among male, female and mixed-choir settings for the 15-voice ensemble and is captured on surround-sound SACD. Sung with such focus, balance and clarity, Kassianí’s time-defying flow of melodies imparts serene glimpses into eternity.”

—Thomas May, Gramophone

See the full review in the August issue of Gramophone and on gramophone.co.uk