Cappella Romana and CCRMA Time Travel to Hagia Sophia

Stanford Live Magazine has a fantastic article chronicling the process of re-creating the Hagia Sophia in our upcoming “From Constantinople to California” performance. Read the introduction by author Jason Victor Serinus here, and then find the full article at!

Total Sacred Immersion: Cappella Romana and CCRMA Time Travel to Hagia Sophia

The universe may have begun with a big bang, but Cappella Romana’s February 1 concert, presented by Stanford Live in Bing Concert hall, truly began with a big pop. Four balloon pops, to be precise, recorded during trips to the remarkable acoustic and aesthetic environment of Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia (hAh-yuh soh-FEE-uh), the largest and grandest church of sixth-century Byzantium.

Each balloon’s initial explosion and subsequent 10- to 11-second sonic decay was recorded by two omnidirectional microphones positioned above the ears of Bissera Pentcheva, an associate professor in Stanford’s Department of Art and Art History who
focuses on the aesthetics and phenomenology of Byzantium and the medieval Mediterranean. Then, the recordings were analyzed by Jonathan Abel, a consulting
professor at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA,
as in karma) in Stanford’s Music Department. Working in conjunction with CCRMA, graduate student Miriam Kolar—who was in the midst of re-creating the aural
experience of rituals held in Peru’s ancient ceremonial center at Chavín de Huántar—constructed a mathematical model of the remarkably resonant acoustic of Hagia Sophia…

Read the Stanford Live Magazine article at

Cappella Romana
From Constantinople to California
Friday, February 1, 2013 – 8:00pm
Bing Concert Hall
Click for ticket information

Bing Concert Hall Fly-Through from Stanford Live on Vimeo.