Letter from Mark Powell, Executive Director

Hymns of Kassianí

Introduction to Cappella Romana’s 30th Anniversary Season

Dear Friends and Supporters,

In late winter we usually are ready to share our next season with you, but given how this year has proceeded, we decided to wait until now to make any announcement.

Over the last year, we have not lain dormant. Cappella Romana’s recording label Cappella Records has had a great year, especially with Lost Voices of Hagia Sophia, which ran on the Billboard Chart for 44 weeks. I hope you were able to engage with our online explorations, including a Christmas program that was seen around the world by over 60,000 people, and our recent webinars on topics around race, gender, style, and language in sacred music.

And our latest release Hymns of Kassianí continues to receive rave reviews, including a recent review in the UK that called it “the current reference for this rather special repertoire” (MusicWeb International).

We have taken time to listen and reflect, create and plan for a future ahead.

Now that more vaccinations are being administered and cities return to low-risk categories, I am pleased to announce our plans for next season, Cappella Romana’s 30th Anniversary Season: RESURRECTION.

This is a year to bring music back to life!

We will begin our 30th year with recording projects in the summer (all singers will be vaccinated!), followed by our third appearance at the Utrecht Early Music Festival in the Netherlands, where we will perform Lost Voices of Hagia Sophia as the festival’s finale concert in the TivoliVredenburg Concert Hall.

Our Northwest series will begin in late September with A COVID Requiem, featuring music for funerals from the Orthodox tradition, music that gives hope after a traumatic year and half behind us. We’ll be reaching out to you to ask you for names of family and friends who passed away due to COVID, so that we sing this program in their memory.

In October, the ensemble has been invited to perform before His All Holiness Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch on a tour at the University of Notre Dame, where His All Holiness will be recognized for his work on the Environment with an honorary doctorate. We will perform Robert Kyr’s A Time for Life, inspired by His All Holiness; just before we will give a tour send-off concert in Portland of the same.

Postponed from this current season, we will present the stunningly beautiful Liturgy in English by Benedict Sheehan in December, the recording of which by the Saint Tikhon Choir (on our label Cappella Records) continues to receive accolades.

For January 2022, Alexander Lingas has been working steadily on a newly researched project of Greek and Latin music for an auspicious occasion from Christmas 1400: The visit of Manuel II, the Byzantine (East Roman) Emperor to the court of Henry IV in London. No other ensemble in the world has explored this meeting from musical perspective, making this a world premiere program. We know that Manuel brought with him cantors and priests to sing daily services: imagine medieval Byzantine chant sung in London over 600 years ago! We will record this program, A Byzantine Emperor in King Henry’s Court, for future release. (Yes, with a friendly nod to Mark Twain’s 1889 novel!).

In February, Cappella Romana will perform Arvo Pärt‘s largest a cappella work, the rapturous Kanon Pokajanen (Kanon of Repentance). As it turns out, this was the subject of my own master’s thesis many years ago, so I’m particularly thrilled with this program, and I expect you will be too!

After some more recording projects and a tour to the Midwest, we will conclude the Northwest series with From Constantinople to California, an intoxicating mix of Byzantine chants and choral music from a new school of Greek composers working in California who infused it with Renaissance style and Hollywood flair.

So many of you continued to support us during this year when traditional programming wasn’t possible. We are so grateful for your support during this difficult time.

Cappella Romana is poised to resurrect our voices this coming season, to serve you again with extraordinary experiences of music of beauty and power from East and West.

Music director Alexander Lingas and I look forward to seeing you in person very soon. Stay tuned by checking back at our website for updates.

Yours always,

Mark Powell
Executive Director
Cappella Romana

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