Its performances “like jewelled light flooding the space” (Los Angeles Times), Cappella Romana is a vocal chamber ensemble dedicated to combining passion with scholarship in its exploration of the musical traditions of the Christian East and West, with emphasis on early and contemporary music.
Founded in 1991, Cappella Romana’s name refers to the medieval Greek concept of the Roman oikoumene (inhabited world), which embraced Rome and Western Europe, as well as the Byzantine Empire of Constantinople (“New Rome”) and its Slavic commonwealth.
Flexible in size and configuration according to the demands of the repertory, Cappella Romana is based in the Pacific Northwest of the United States of America, where it presents annual concert series in Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington. It regularly tours in Europe and North America, having appeared at venues including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Trinity Wall Street and Music Before 1800 in New York, the J. Paul Getty Center in Los Angeles, St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, the Pontificio Istituto Orientale in Rome, the Sacred Music Festival of Patmos, the University of Oxford, Princeton University, and Yale University.
Cappella Romana has released over twenty compact discs. Its latest recordings are Cyprus: Between Greek East and Latin West (released November 2015), the large-scale Slavonic choral work Passion Week by Maximilian Steinberg (1883–1946), a student and son-in-law of Rimsky-Korsakov and teacher of Shostakovich, and Good Friday in Jerusalem: Medieval Byzantine Chant, all of which have received multiple rave critical reviews and the latter two debuted in the top 10 Classical Recordings on Billboard.
Other releases include Tikey Zes: Divine Liturgy, Arctic Light: Finnish Orthodox Music, Mt. Sinai: Frontier of Byzantium, Epiphany: Medieval Byzantine Chant and Byzantium 330–1453 (the official companion CD to the Royal Academy of Arts Exhibition), Byzantium in Rome: Medieval Byzantine Chant from Grottaferrata, The Fall of Constantinople, Richard Toensing: Kontakion on the Nativity of Christ, Peter Michaelides: The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and The Divine Liturgy in English: The Complete Service in Byzantine Chant.
In 2010 it became a participant in the research project “Icons of Sound: Aesthetics and Acoustics of Hagia Sophia, Istanbul,” a collaboration between the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics and the Department of Art & Art History at Stanford University, where the ensemble also performed in 2013 and returned this past November 2016 with the program Icons of Sound, with the acoustics of Hagia Sophia imprinted upon the performance by Cappella Romana.
Alexander Lingas (music director & founder)
Alexander Lingas, music director and founder of Cappella Romana, is a Reader in Music at City University London and a Fellow of the University of Oxford’s European Humanities Research Centre. He received his Ph.D. in Historical Musicology from the University of British Columbia.
His present work embraces not only historical study but also ethnography and performance. Formerly Assistant Professor of Music History at Arizona State University’s School of Music, Dr. Lingas has also served as a lecturer and advisor for the Institute of Orthodox Christian Studies at the University of Cambridge. His awards include Fulbright and Onassis grants for musical studies with the late cantor Lycourgos Angelopoulos, the British Academy’s Thank-Offering to Britain Fellowship, research leave supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, and the St. Romanos the Melodist medallion of the National Forum for Greek Orthodox Church Musicians (USA). Having contributed articles to The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, and The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies, Dr. Lingas is now completing two monographs: a study of Sunday Matins in the Rite of Hagia Sophia, and a historical introduction to Byzantine Chant for Yale University Press.