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Cappella Romana Presents ‘Heaven and Earth’ on February 16

February 10, 2023

NEW YORK – The renowned vocal ensemble Cappella Romana will perform The Byzantine Choral Inheritance at First Church in Cambridge, Thursday, February 16, 7:30 PM. Tickets start at just $35, at cappellaromana.org/boston.

Emigrants from Greece and Asia Minor brought with them the sacred vocal music of the Byzantine inheritance to the New World. They passed it on to new generations of the faithful, singers, and composers here in America. In this program Cappella Romana will guide Greater Boston audiences through the historic traditions of Byzantine music to new works that draw inspiration from them.

Music Director Dr. Alexander Lingas will lead the first half of the program. The concert will begin 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, led by Associate Music Director John Michael Boyer, will feature the East Coast premiere of ‘Heaven and Earth: A Song of Creation’, a setting of Psalm 103. Commissioned by the Saint John of Damascus Society to celebrate the discovery of the Higgs boson by physicists, 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.

Critic Linda Holt of ConcertoNet calls the recording of Heaven and Earth by Cappella Romana (at cappellarecords.com) “music that is totally modern but bearing an indisputable imprint of Eastern Christian traditions. This balance and revelation is Cappella Romana’s unique gift to world music, a door opening to greater understanding and the expansion of our appreciation of beauty.”

Founded in 1991, Cappella Romana specializes in the sacred vocal repertoire of the Mediterranean East. Cappella Romana received national attention in The New York Times and NPR with their 2019 release ‘Lost Voices of Hagia Sophia’, presenting medieval Byzantine chant in the virtual reality of the cathedral’s unique acoustic signature – over 11 seconds of reverberation. At the Utrecht Early Music Festival in the Netherlands, they presented this program in a sold-out finale concert. “We’re thrilled to come back to Boston,” said Executive Director Mark Powell. “Music from the living traditions of Byzantium – ancient and modern – give audiences a glimpse of the transcendent. It has touched souls and changed lives for more than a millennium, no matter one’s background.”

The concert is made possible by generous support from the Cambridge Arts Council and The Saint John of Damascus Society.

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