Some Pictures from the Weekend

Leitourgeia ka Qurbana review of Angelic Light: Music from Eastern Cathedrals

Richard Barrett of the Leitourgeia ka Qurbana: Contra den Zeitgeist reviews Angelic Light: Music from Eastern Cathedrals:

“The compilation Angelic Light: Music from Eastern Cathedrals is … a demonstration that you actually can just write gorgeouspsounding Western music for Orthodox texts…

“There’s an awful lot to like about this recording; it’s a great sampling of Cappella Romana‘s polyphonic efforts, as well as of contemporary Orthodox composers in the Western world. … Standouts include track 1, a setting of the Greek text of the anti-Trisagion “As many as have been baptized” as well as Glagolev’s Cherubic Hymn, Moody’s “O Tébe Ráduyetsia” from the The Akathistos Hymn release, and Toensing’s carol “What shall we call you, Mary?” (very nice to see his vastly-underappreciated “Orthodox Christmas carols” included among such other works). Fr. Ivan Moody’s work I particularly appreciate because I think it does a nice job of showing how incorporating Byzantine melodic material can be an intentional compositional choice in the context of a broader work…”

Read the full review on www.leitourgeia.com

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

From Constantinople to California – Program Notes Part Two

The Eastern Roman Empire—commonly called “Byzantium” after the ancient name of its capital Constantinople — not only survived the downfall of Rome by a millennium, but also created a musical tradition that remains both alive and influential today. In From Constantinople to California Cappella Romana will follow this tradition from its medieval origins to contemporary Los Angeles.

II – Choral Music of the Contemporary Greek Orthodox Church

Greek Orthodox polyphonic choral singing, which was firmly established in mainland Greece with the founding of a male choir for the chapel of King George I and his Russian-born Queen Olga by Alexandros Kantakouzenos (1824–92), reached its apogee in the first decades of the twentieth century and then gradually began to decline after World War II with the revival of Byzantine chanting.

Michael Adamis (b. 1929) has bridged the worlds of Byzantine and Western music throughout a distinguished career that has encompassed directing the Royal Chapel choir of Greece, teaching Byzantine music at the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts, musicological research (including the first study of polyphony by Gazes), and the presidency of the Greek Section of the International Society for Contemporary Music (1975–85). In his mature works Adamis shuns Western functional harmony, cultivating instead a free approach to polyphony inspired by Byzantine chant and Greek folk music. Whereas his settings of the Easter hymn “Christ Has Risen” and the First Ode of the Great Supplicatory Canon to the Mother of God are straightforward harmonizations of Byzantine melodies, Radiant Cloud is conceived on a grander scale. Dedicated to the memory of Thessalonian choral conductor Yannis Mantakas and premiered by Cappella Romana in August 2003, Radiant Cloud is based on two hymns for the feast of Christ’s Transfiguration (6 August). In his transformation of their traditional chants, the composer evokes through his superimposition of highly ornamented melodic lines both the divine radiance on Tabor and the world of Greek cantorial practice.

Polyphony for the Greek Royal Chapel was overshadowed in Greek American churches by the music of John Sakellarides (1853?–1938), an Athenian cantor who sought to purge Byzantine chant from alleged Oriental contamination by proffering a reformed repertory of his own devising. After the Second World War, composers in California began to transform the legacy of Sakellarides through a partial return to earlier chant repertories and more sophisticated approaches to arranging Byzantine melodies. The founder of this “West Coast School” was Frank Desby (b. 1922), who served as director of music at this cathedral from its opening in 1952 until his death in 1992. While gaining postgraduate degrees at the University of Southern California for theses on medieval and post-Byzantine chant, Desby employed his knowledge of Byzantine, Russian and Western music to reshape Greek American liturgical singing. He began by creating harmonizations inspired by Renaissance prototypes and borrowing from the style of performance developed for Gregorian chant by the monks of the French abbey of Solesmes. How these approaches differed from traditional Byzantine chanting may be heard in our performance of three versions of the Apolytikion of the Holy Cross: as published in a Constantinopolitan anthology of 1882 and as transcribed into staff notation and harmonized by Desby in 1948. The Forty-fold “Kyrie eleison” for the Litany of the Holy Cross from 1979 is harmonized in a more modern style and includes a brief episode of polytonality.

This concert concludes with music by Greek Americans who were colleagues or students of Desby, often working together with him in the Federation of Greek Orthodox Choirs of the Western States (now the Church Music Federation of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco). By academic training a specialist in medieval literature, Theodore Bogdanos (b. 1932) has served the Orthodox Church as a cantor and choirmaster. In his setting of the Kontakion of the Dead, Bogdanos reworks Byzantine chant in a manner reminiscent of the ways in which late 19th-century European composers appropriated Renaissance style. Peter Michaelides (b. 1930) received his doctorate in composition from the University of Southern California and composed a small body of elegant settings of Byzantine chants in Greek and English during the 1960s, among which is his arrangement of Sakellarides’ melody for the ancient vesperal hymn Phos hilaron (“O Joyful Light”).

We represent the next generation of the “West Coast School” of Greek Orthodox choral music with a pair of sacred works not written for Byzantine liturgical use. Lord, I Cry unto Thee is a setting of verses from Psalms 140(141) and 56(57) by Steven G. Cardiasmenos (b. 1958), who has served since 1985 as choir director at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Cross in Belmont, California. Neal Desby grew up in this cathedral as the son of Frank and is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Composition at USC. His Song on a Religious Text sets the Kyrie of the Roman Mass for solo soprano and seven-part mixed chorus.

The prolific Tikey Zes (b. 1927) also received his doctorate in composition from the USC and like Bogdanos, was a professor at San Jose State University. His Communion Verse for Sundays was written and dedicated in 1984 to Frank Desby, who in 1956 had composed a popular choral setting of the same chant by Sakellarides.

From Constantinople to California

Cappella Romana presents their upcoming LIVE IN GREECE recording program in a Memorial Day Weekend Series:

Friday, May 25 – 7pm
Encino Presbyterian Church
Los Angeles, CA
http://firstpresencino.org

Saturday, May 26 – 4pm
St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral
Los Angeles, CA
http://dacamera.org

Concert Program Notes for “From Constantinople to California” Concert Series – Part One

The Eastern Roman Empire—commonly called “Byzantium” after the ancient name of its capital Constantinople — not only survived the downfall of Rome by a millennium, but also created a musical tradition that remains both alive and influential today. In From Constantinople to California Cappella Romana will follow this tradition from its medieval origins to contemporary Los Angeles.

I – Greeks and Latins in the Eastern Mediterranean

The Crusades transformed the Eastern Mediterranean into a multicultural patchwork of shrinking remnants of the once mighty Byzantine Empire, Western colonies, and Islamic (both Arab and Turkish) states. We begin our concert with chants from the twilight of Byzantium: the Hiercharical Entrance Rite for a Sunday Divine Liturgy (Eucharist) as it might have been celebrated in Justinian’s Great Church of Hagia Sophia during the reign of the last emperor, Constantine XI Paleologos (1449–53). Embedded in this rite are chants recalling bygone days of imperial triumph: Roman acclamations wishing the emperor “many years,” and a hymn of thanksgiving addressed to the Virgin Mary by a personified Constantinople, which proclaims her as the city’s “Champion and Commander.”

Following their capture of Constantinople in 1453, the Ottomans greatly reduced the number of Western outposts in the Eastern Mediterranean. Of those that remained, the most prosperous was Crete, which developed a flourishing Greek Renaissance culture under Venetian rule. Active on the island during the fifteenth century were the composers Manuel Chrysaphes and Manuel Gazes, both of whom had held the title of “Lampadarios” in the Byzantine imperial chapel. In addition to being skilled in the florid kalophonic (“beautiful sounding”) style of chant pioneered by St. John Koukouzeles, Chrysaphes and Gazes were evidently intrigued by simple, usually improvised, forms of polyphony practiced by their Western colleagues.

Gazes composed several two-part works notated in parallel lines of Byzantine musical signs (neumes), among which is a prologue to the Passion hymn “Already the Pen.” In Duke University (Kenneth Willis Clark) 45, a manuscript copied by Gazes’ Cretan pupil Angelos Gregoriou, Gazes’ prologue appears alongside two other works performed this evening: the standard medieval melody of “Already the Pen” and the vernacular lament “Standing by the Cross.” Written in fifteen-syllable verse, this song in demotic Greek presents the Virgin Mary lamenting the crucifixion of her Son in words often echoing those of Byzantine liturgical texts.

Himself the author of a handful of two-voice works, the prolific Cretan composer, theorist and scribe John Plousiadenos (1429?–1500) went much further than Gazes in his embrace of the Latin West, actively promoting union between the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches as a cleric (he eventually became uniate Bishop of Methone in the Peloponnese) and hymnographer. The Kontakion for St. Thomas Aquinas is part of complete festal office that Plousiadenos composed to honor the scholastic theologian.

Franghiskos Leontaritis (ca. 1518–ca. 1572), the son of a Greek mother and an Italian father, was one of a small number of Cretans known to have immersed themselves fully in the musical culture of the Latin Church. Ordained a Roman Catholic priest on the island, he worked as an organist for some years at the cathedral of St. Titus in Heraklion. In 1544 Leontaritis moved to Venice in order to sing at San Marco under Adrian Willaert, later on relocating to Munich to work under Orlande de Lassus. Leontaritis composed a significant body of polyphonic sacred and secular works, including the five-voice motet Ad dominum cum tribularer, a setting of Psalm 119 (120).

Musical manuscripts and literary sources provide incomplete data about polyphonic singing in Byzantine services on Renaissance Crete, but its echoes may perhaps be discerned in the manuscript Jerusalem Greek Patriarchate 578, an anthology by the enigmatic post-Byzantine composer Parthenios Sgoutas (17th c.?) that contains eleven folios of simple four-part sacred music in Byzantine notation. From this manuscript we perform selections from the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom: the conclusion to the Nicene Creed (not normally sung in Greek practice, but set by Gazes and several of his successors), choral responses for the Eucharistic Prayer, and the pre-communion acclamation “One is Holy.” These all feature unusual parallelisms that may be stylizations of Cretan techniques of spontaneous harmonization.

From Constantinople to California

Cappella Romana presents their upcoming LIVE IN GREECE recording program in a Memorial Day Weekend Series:

Friday, May 25 – 7pm
Encino Presbyterian Church
Los Angeles, CA
http://firstpresencino.org

Saturday, May 26 – 4pm
St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral
Los Angeles, CA
http://dacamera.org

From Constantinople to California

Cappella Romana presents their upcoming LIVE IN GREECE recording program in a Memorial Day Weekend Series:

Friday, May 25 – 7pm
Encino Presbyterian Church
Los Angeles, CA
http://firstpresencino.org

Saturday, May 26 – 4pm
St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral
Los Angeles, CA
http://dacamera.org

Program:

PART I

Hierarchical Entrance Rite for a Byzantine Divine Liturgy Anon. (c. 1450)
1. Introit for Sundays
2. Hymn of the Resurrection (Mode 1)
3. Imperial Acclamations for Constantine XI Paleologos (1449–53)
4. Kontakion of the Mother of God (Mode Plagal 4)

Sticheron «Already the pen» / Στιχηρὸν «Ἤδη βάπτεται κάλαμος»
a. 2-voice prologue / Δίφωνος πρόλογος
Manuel Gazes the Lampadarios / Μανουὴλ Γαζῆς ὁ Λαμπαδάριος (early 15th c. / άρχη του 15ου αι.)
b. Medieval Byzantine Chant / Μεσαιωνικὸν Βυζαντινὸν μέλος
«Standing by the Cross» / «Παρισταμένη τῷ σταυρῷ» Angelos Gregoriou / Ἄγγελος Γρηγορίου (15th c./15 αι.)
Kontakion for St. Thomas Aquinas / Κοντάκιον τοῦ Ἁγίου Θωμᾶ Ἀκινάτη
John Plousiadenos / Ἰωάννης Πλουσιαδηνός (ca.1429–1500)
Motet / Μοτέτο «Ad Dominum cum tribularer» Franghiskos Leontaritis / Φραγκίσκος Λεονταρίτης (ca.1518–ca.1572)
Polyphonic chants for the Divine Liturgy Πολυφωνικὰ μέλη τῆς Θείας Λειτουργίας
Parthenios Sgoutas? / Παρθένιος Σγούτας; (17th c./17 αι.)

PART II

* Christ is risen! Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! Michael Adamis (b.1929)
* From the Great Supplicatory Service to the Mother of God
Ἀπὸ τὸν Μεγάλον Παρακλητικὸν Κανόναν πρὸς τὴν Θεοτόκον
First Ode of the Canon / Α´ ᾨδὴ τοῦ Κανόνος Adamis
* «Radiant Cloud» / «Νεφέλη φωτεινή» Adamis

Music by Greek-American composers
Apolytikion of the Holy Cross / Ἀπολυτίκιον τοῦ Τιμίου Σταυροῦ Frank Desby / Φώτιος Δεσποτόπουλος (1922–92)
Kyrie eleison (fortyfold) / Κύριε ἐλέησον (μ΄) Desby

Kontakion of the Dead / Νεκρώσιμον Κοντάκιον Theodore Bogdanos / Θεόδωρος Μπογδάνος (b. 1932)

«O Joyful Light» / «Φῶς Ἱλαρόν» Peter Michaelides / Πέτρος Μιχαηλίδης (b. 1930)

«Lord, I Cry unto Thee» «Κύριε ἐκέκραξα» Steven Cardiasmenos / Σταύρος Καρδιασμένος (b. 1958)

Kyrie Neal Desby (b. 1960)

Communion for Sundays «Praise the Lord» Κοινωνικὸν τῆς Κυριακῆς «Αἰνεῖτε τὸν Κύριον» Tikey Zes / Παναγιώτης Ζῆς (b. 1927)

Meet Robert Kyr

Photo taken from “Peace Work” (Portland Monthly)
Photo by Stuart Mullenberg

Tomorrow (Friday, May 18th), Cappella Romana will kick off the weekend’s Be Radiant, O Peoples! series, and will be premiering works based around the Easter Canon of St. John of Damascus from contemporary composers. One of these works is by the prolific composer Robert Kyr, who we are introducing today:

Robert Kyr (b. 1952) has composed twelve symphonies, three chamber symphonies, three violin concerti, and numerous works for vocal ensemble of all types, both unaccompanied and accompanied, including many large-scale works for which he wrote or co-wrote the text, including: A Time for Life (an environmental oratorio, 2007); The Passion according to Four Evangelists (1995); and three choral symphonies—From Creation Unfolding (No. 8, 1998), The Spirit of Time (No. 9, 2000), and Ah Nagasaki: Ashes into Light (No. 10, 2005).

Kyr’s music has been performed widely around the world and he has been commissioned by numerous ensembles, including Chanticleer (San Francisco), Cappella Romana (Portland), Cantus (Minneapolis), San Francisco Symphony Chorus, New England Philharmonic, Oregon Symphony, Yale Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, New West Symphony (Los Angeles), Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum, Harvard Glee Club, Radcliffe Choral Society, Yale Camerata, Oregon Repertory Singers, Cappella Nova (Scotland), Revalia (Estonia), Putni (Latvia), Moscow State Chamber Choir (Russia), Ensemble Project Ars Nova, Back Bay Chorale (Boston), and San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra among others.

Several compact discs of Kyr’s music are currently available on New Albion Records: Unseen Rain (NA 075), a disc of vocal music commissioned and recorded by Ensemble PAN (Project Arts Nova); The Passion according to Four Evangelists (NA 098), commissioned and recorded by the Back Bay Chorale (Boston) under the direction of Beverly Taylor; and Violin Concerto Trilogy (NA 126) recorded by the Third Angle New Music Ensemble with Ron Blessinger and Denise Huizenga, and the composer conducting. In addition, his music has been featured on several compilation discs recorded by women’s vocal ensemble, Tapestry (Laurie Monahan, director): Celestial Light: Music by Hildegard von Bingen and Robert Kyr (Telarc CD 80456); Faces of a Woman (MDG 344-1468); and The Fourth River: The Millennium Revealed (Telarc CD 80534).

From 2000 through 2004, Kyr was the composer-in-residence of the Oregon Repertory Singers (Portland) under the direction of Gil Seeley. As part of the residency, he created an extensive repertoire of music on peace-related themes: Eight Steps for Peace; Into the Hour of New Life; The Bell Ringer; O Jerusalem; A Vision of Peace (three movements — United, Voices for Peace, and Only One World); Three Hopes for the Future (three movements—May All Living Things Know Peace, Hold onto Peace, and Peace Is a Song); Alleluia (Alleluia for Peace); and Sing Circle. In addition, he also composed a large-scale motet cycle, On the Nature of Creation. For most of these works, he wrote his own text or created a composite text from diverse sources.

Currently, Kyr is a professor of composition and theory at the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance, and chair of the composition department, where he has developed new models for teaching composition. The program at Oregon is presently one of the largest in the United States and in addition to teaching, Kyr directs the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium, the Music Today Festival, and the Vanguard Concert and Workshop Series, as well as the Pacific Rim Gamelan.

Hear Robert Kyr’s 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.

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.