The Institute of Sacred Arts at St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVOTS) and Great Music Under a Byzantine Dome hosted a concert performance by the world-renowned ensemble, Cappella Romana, on Friday, February 17, 2023. The event was held at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York.
The concert program, entitled The Byzantine Choral Inheritance, guided the listener through the historical traditions of Byzantine chant to contemporary choral works inspired by traditional motifs. The concert opened with works in Greek from medieval Constantinople, followed by liturgical works by twentieth-century Greek American composers such as Tikey Zes, Theodore Bogdanos, and Frank Desby. The second half featured Heaven and Earth: A Song of Creation, a setting of Psalm 103, in which six composers: Tikey Zes, +Richard Toensing, GRAMMY-nominee Kurt Sander, Alexander Khalil, John Michael Boyer, and Matthew Arndt, each set a portion of the Psalm, creating a seamless tapestry.
Dr Alexander Lingas, founder and Musical Director of Cappella Romana and Artist in Residence at The Institute of Sacred Arts for the Spring 2023 semester, directed a portion of the concert, with John Michael Boyer directing selected pieces. SVOTS seminarian Fr Nicholas Fine (M.Div. ‘23) joined the choir; he also performed as a soloist and consort singer.
Describing The Byzantine Choral Inheritance, Director of the Institute of Sacred Arts, Dr Peter Bouteneff applauded the work of Cappella Romana, saying, “This event brought a world-class choral ensemble to perform a creative repertoire spanning the old and the new. This was not only a concert of stunning beauty, but it also inspired us to think on themes of tradition and creativity that are central to our work at the Institute of Sacred Arts.”
Following the concert, a reception was held for sponsors of the event, Cappella Romana choir members, and SVOTS faculty, students, and staff.
On behalf of the Institute of Sacred Arts, Dr Peter Bouteneff expressed his gratitude for the generosity of The Henry Luce Foundation and the following sponsors of this concert:
Archpriest Chad and Matushka Thekla Hatfield
The Bishop Basil Endowment for Byzantine Music at SVOTS
Joan Strashinsky Shell
The Hoff Family
Dr Bouteneff also imparted his thanks to John Paterakis, Costa Tsourakis, and Great Music Under a Byzantine Dome for contributing their facilities and for their collaboration in hosting Cappella Romana and The Byzantine Inheritance.
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About Cappella Romana:
Cappella Romana is a professional vocal ensemble that performs early and contemporary sacred classical music in the Christian traditions of East and West. The ensemble is known especially for its presentations and recordings of medieval Byzantine chant (the Eastern sibling of Gregorian chant), Greek and Russian Orthodox choral works, and other sacred music that expresses the historic traditions of a unified Christian inheritance.
Cappella Romana brings to life music that meets a deep human need, not only to belong and to have a shared creative experience, but to feel the full range of ethical, emotional, and spiritual effect as expressed through music. We strive to give an experience that allows you, our audience, to feel a sheer joy that cannot be contained by mere words, but through the ineffable sounds of the human voice in song.