Psaltikon in Copenhagen
Dr Spyridon Antonopoulos, Honorary Research Fellow at City, recently led the vocal ensemble Psaltikon on a three-concert tour in Scandinavia. Psaltikon, founded by Antonopoulos in 2010, is a Boston-based vocal ensemble specializing in Byzantine chant and the music of the Eastern Mediterranean. For this tour, Psaltikon was joined by City University Reader in Music, Dr Alexander Lingas, along with Antonopoulos and six other singers. Prior to the tour, Dr Antonopoulos and Dr Lingas each gave papers at a Symposium on Religious Poetry and Performance at Uppsala University.
The tour program, entitled “Evenings Lights in Miklagård”, refers to the Scandinavian Viking name for Constantinople, the center of the world in the ninth century, when Halfdan the Viking carved his name into the parapet of the upper floor in Hagia Sophia’s southern gallery. The program explored chants which Halfdan might have heard while he inscribed his runes into Hagia Sophia’s marble. Central to the program were two kontakia, melismatic chants (whose text was originally composed in the sixth or seventh century), inscribed in the Psaltikon, the Constantinopolitan chant book for virtuoso soloists (the complementary Asmatikon contained the choral repertories). The kontakia were transcribed from a fourteenth century by the renowned musicologist Dr Ioannis Arvanitis, while the rest of the program editions were prepared by Dr Antonopoulos.
The tour’s first venue was the famous anatomical theater of the Museum Gustavianum. The ensemble then sang a concert for an audience of over 100 at Sofia Kyrka in Stockholm, before embarking on a five hour train through the Swedish woodlands to Copenhagen, where they were treated to a tour of the collections at the Monumenta Musicae Byzantinae, led by Dr Christian Troeslgård.
The MMB, founded in the 1930s at the University of Copenhagen, is one of the most important research institutes for Byzantine musicology. The tour closed with a concert in the beautiful acoustic of St. Thomas in the Frederiksburg neighborhood of Copenhagen.
Cappella Romana, the vocal ensemble founded and directed by City Reader in Music Alexander Lingas, offered the first North American festival dedicated to Estonian composer Arvo Pärt between 5 and 12 February, 2017 in Portland, Oregon, USA. Dr Lingas himself presented a lecture and directed four events, two of which featured instrumentalists of Portland’s Third Angle New Music ensemble: ‘Odes of Repentance’, a programme of a cappella sacred works; the Passio Domini nostril Jesu Christi secundum Ioannem by candlelight (with the participation of the choir of Lewis and Clark College); the Missa Syllabica sung within the context of a Roman Catholic mass; and a gala finale concert at Reed College featuring Pärt’s Te Deum alongside works by Sir James MacMillan, the late Sir John Tavener, and Thanos Mikroutsikos. The full programme book including essays by Dr Lingas is available here: http://www.cappellaromana.org/apfbook/
Many of the concerts were sold out and the festival generated considerable interest in the media. Here is a review from the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/arvo-pärt-festival-in-portland-oregon-exceeds-expectations_us_58a7712fe4b026a89a7a2ae2
Dr Alexander Lingas of City and the men of the American-based vocal ensemble Cappella Romana recently completed an innovative collaboration with the Seattle Symphony that highlighted the roots of Sergei Rachmaninov’s orchestral music in the sound world of Russian liturgical chant. For three successive days, Dr Lingas led the singers both in pre-concert lecture-demonstrations of Russian sacred music and in two short vocal works sung immediately before splendid performances of Rachmaninov’s First Piano Concerto and Second Symphony directed by SSO Principal Guest Conductor Thomas Dausgaard. The concerts were hailed by audiences and critics, with the Seattle Times describing the participation of Cappella Romana as ‘highly atmospheric’ and ‘an innovative and thought-provoking entry into Rachmaninov’s musical world’. Full reviews are available here:
During this busy weekend Cappella Romana also presented performances in Seattle (at St James Roman Catholic Cathedral) and Portland, Oregon (at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral) of a full-length concert tracing ‘The Russian Chant Revival’ of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Full programme notes are available here:
A video of Dr Lingas’s informal talk before the Portland concert is here:
#RussianChantRevival pre-concert lecture in #PDX
Posted by Cappella Romana on Sunday, April 2, 2017
A selection of music recorded by the BBC in the Music Department’s Performance Space will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s ‘Hear and Now’ programme on Saturday, 3rd September 2016, at 22.00 (GMT).
The recordings were made during The world according to Bob, a two-day sequence of concerts and talks, hosted by the Music Department, celebrating the life, work, and ideas of the influential musicologist Bob Gilmore.
The programme includes a performance by Ian Pace of Horațiu Rădulescu’s Piano Sonata No. 2.
Full details of the programme can be found at the ‘Hear and Now’ website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07rkv2y.
Dr Diana Salazar, Lecturer in Music, has been awarded the International Computer Music Association Regional Award for Europe 2015. Dr Salazar was awarded the prize for her 5.1 fixed media work ‘Rewind [Modus Operandi]’. The work was selected for performance at this year’s International Computer Music Conference in Texas last month, and a stereo version of the work will be released later this year on a CD publication featuring selected works from this year’s conference. The work will also be performed in the Bernaola Festival in Spain in November.
The latest recording by City Reader in Music Alexander Lingas and his US-based ensemble Cappella Romana has been named an Editor’s Choice in the August issue of Gramophone, which features a rave review of the disc by Malcolm Riley:
This important and exciting release from the Portland, Oregon-based 26-strong chamber choir is a notable successor to their ‘Good Friday in Jerusalem’ disc (5/15). Under their inspiring director Alexander Lingas they turn their attention to a recently rediscovered choral gem, the 47-minute long Passion Week by the Lithuanian-born composer Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946).
… The a cappella textures spread variously and luxuriantly into 12 parts, requiring, as might be expected, the sopranos to soar with jewel-like brilliance and the basses to delve to their reedy subterranean depths. Cappella Romana cope with all of this with an eloquent brilliance, singing with tremendous relish, as though this obscure masterpiece had been in their repertory for years. Their unanimity of attack and fastidious approach to dynamic contrasts are just two hallmarks of an outstanding achievement. Hats off, too, to Preston Smith and Steve Barnett for their superb engineering and production. …the finest advocacy from these fine musicians. This is definitely a disc to savour.
Read the full review here.
On 10th June 2015, Laudan Nooshin presented an invited keynote paper at a conference in Norway organised by the Grieg Research School in Interdisciplinary Music Studies and held on the beautiful island of Stord. The conference was hosted jointly with the Norwegian Research School in Teacher Education and the theme was ‘The Art and Science of Improvisation’. Laudan’s keynote, which was entitled ‘Re-Imagining Musical Difference: Creative Process, Alterity and “Improvisation” in Iranian Music from Classical to Jazz’, explored the ways in which the concept of ‘improvisation’ has come to be understood, constructed and imagined by musicians in Iran over the past half century or so.
There were about 150 delegates at the conference, including a number of PhD music students from the UK. Other keynote speakers included Colin Lee, Professor of Music Therapy at Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada, who completed his PhD in Music Therapy at City University London in 1992.
The Grieg Research School is a collaboration between the University of Bergen, Bergen University College, Stord/Haugesund University College, Volda University College and the University of Stavanger. It hosts two conferences each year which bring together PhD students in a range of music disciplines, including music education, ethnomusicology, music therapy, musicology, performance and composition. Students have an opportunity to get feedback on their work and each conference includes a number of invited keynote speakers.
Laudan Nooshin presents Keynote
View from the boat …
Dr Miguel Mera’s audiovisual dance composition, Morriña, will be presented at the Venice Experimental Cinema and Performance Art Festival at the Palazzo Ca’ Zanardi from the 17th to the 27th of June 2015. It will be the first in a cycle of three events in June, July and August 2015.
The festival is focused on the relationship between body and space, and the hybridization of identities within different cultural, physical, social, and urban settings. Morriña explores relationships between music and bodily movement, examines how communities hold onto perceptions of particular identities, and considers how memory and nostalgia are distorted over time.
In April Dr Diana Salazar, Lecturer in Music, Admissions Tutor and INTO Link Tutor, travelled to China and Hong Kong to deliver a number of presentations about the Music Department at City University London. She travelled to Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenyang and Hong Kong where her schedule of activities included speaking at ‘Visit London Roadshow’ events, talking to Higher Education agencies, liaising with INTO regional representatives, visiting School counsellors and prospective students, and delivering interactive workshops. All of the presentations and meetings focused on City’s BMus undergraduate degree and City’s new International Foundation Programme in Music, which is run in partnership with INTO. Highlights of the visit included a performance workshop and presentation with Huafu School students and regional music teachers in Guangzhou (pictured), and the Visit London Roadshow events that brought together education agents and advisors from various regions (Guangzhou event, pictured)
Dr Diana Salazar at Huafu School, Guangzhou
Dr Diana Salazar (centre) with students, staff and invited regional music teachers at Huafu School, Guangzhou
Dr Diana Salazar with educational agent and advisor attendees at the Visit London Roadshow event, Guangzhou