Director Update – Associate Music Director John Michael Boyer to conduct Rautavaara All-Night Vigil in Portland and Seattle

John Michael Boyer will conduct Cappella Romana in this week’s performances of the All-Night Vigil by Einojuhani Rautavaara, replacing Timo Nuoranne. Nuoranne’s visa has been held up at the US Consulate in Frankfurt, Germany, in part due to a State Department delay in the days leading to the inauguration.

Film: John Michael Boyer in rehearsal with Cappella Romana

John Michael Boyer

Boyer has been well known to Cappella Romana audiences since 1999, as a regular member of the ensemble, soloist, and guest director. Boyer makes his Cappella Romana début as the ensemble’s new Associate Music Director with this program, having been appointed to that position on January 1, 2017 by Music Director and Founder Alexander Lingas.

Known for his expertise in Byzantine Chant and Orthodox music and liturgy, he lectures at conferences, workshops, and seminars on Eastern Orthodox liturgical music across the United States and abroad. He has served as specialty coach for both Chanticleer and the Minnesota Symphony for world première performances and recordings of works by John Tavener, including Chanticleer’s Grammy-winning recording Lamentations and Praises.

He has conducted operas, chamber music, and orchestral works as associate director of Bay Area Classical Harmonies (BACH), and was artistic director of the vocal chamber ensembles the Josquin Singers and the Metropolis Ensemble of Liturgical Orthodox Singers (MELOS).

John Michael Boyer is Protopsaltis (First Cantor) of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis (Diocese) of San Francisco, and studied Byzantine Chant with Alexander Lingas, Ioannis Arvanitis, and the late Lycourgos Angelopoulos (+2014).  He holds a Master in Divinity from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and is a graduate in music from University of California, Berkeley, where he studied choral, orchestral, and operatic conducting with Marika Kuzma and David Milnes.

His latest projects include the CD recording All Creation Trembled from Holy Cross School of Theology, in which he is featured both as composer and as soloist. He is one of six composers who collaborated on the forthcoming release by the St. John of Damascus Society, Psalm 103, a setting of the full text of the Psalm as translated by the late Archimandrite Ephrem (Lash) (+2016), featuring multiple Orthodox musical idioms. In the forthcoming recording, Sun of Justice, John Michael Boyer collaborates with Arab cantor Rassem El Massih, Protopsaltis of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America; the recording features Byzantine chant for Christmastide in English, Greek, and Arabic. Boyer’s book Byzantine Chant: the Received Tradition – A Lesson Book is slated to be published in 2017.


All-Night Vigil by Einojuhani Rautavaara:

Friday 27 January, 7:30pm
St. Mark’s Cathedral


Saturday 28 January, 8:00pm
St. Mary’s Cathedral


Sunday 29 January, 3:00pm
St. Stephen’s Catholic Church



All-Night Vigil by Rautavaara

Cappella Romana presents Einojuhani Rautavaara’s spectacular and rarely heard All-Night Vigil, featuring legendary Grammy-award winning basso profundo Glenn Miller.

“Be ready for goosebumps around your earlobes.” —The Oregonian

These performances are supported by the Finlandia Foundation & Nordic Northwest.

The All-Night Vigil by Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928-2016) is unlike any Orthodox music you’ve ever heard, combining ancient and modern modes to create a vast, beautiful mosaic in sound. Glittering with Byzantine-inspired chanting, thick colorful harmonies, and spectacular vocal effects, this Vigil features solo passages for very low bass performed here by Grammy winner basso profundo Glenn Miller.

Like Rachmaninoff’s Vigil (“Vespers”) in Church Slavonic, Rautavaara’s setting in Finnish (inspired by childhood visits to Valaam monastery) cuts a spiritual path that transcends its original context with universal, irresistible power.

Sung in memory of the composer.