Thesis title: The Life and Works of Manuel Chrysaphes the Lampadarios, and the Figure of Composer in Late Byzantium
Supervisor: Dr Alexander Lingas
Thesis examiners: Christian Troelsgard (University of Copenhagen), Emma Hornby (Bristol University) and Steve Stanton (City University London)
Higher educational background
- New England Conservatory (MM in Vocal Performance)
- Brown University (BA, Classics and Music)
Overview and research interests
Spiro's thesis is the first full length study devoted to Manuel Chrysaphes, a fifteenth century composer, theorist and singer, who worked in the imperial court of Constantinople as a director of the palatine choirs under the final two emperors of Byzantium. He is the author of at least three codices, a theoretical treatise and approximately 300 chants, which range from simple psalmody to virtuosic chants composed in the florid, kalophonic style. A detailed analysis of Chrysaphes' settings of verses and troped refrains from Psalm 103 not only serves to update our knowledge of evening worship in Late Byzantium but also leads to an understanding of the identifiable elements of Chrysaphes' style as composer. Chrysaphes took the kalophonic tradition he inherited - a tradition of elaborate psalmody in which individual composers figured prominently - to its logical extreme, filling out repertories with his own compositions, innovating in certain areas, and defending the traditions of his predecessors elsewhere. Chrysaphes operated first and foremost as a self-consciously authorial composer. His prolific activity as author of hundreds of veritable 'art works' nevertheless leaves us with the impression that these were not detractors from, but rather, instruments of worship and spiritual perfection.
- Byzantine chant (medieval and received repertories)
- Medieval and renaissance music
- Performance practice
- Eastern Orthodox liturgy
- Music and ritual and imperial Byzantium.
- 'Text and Melody in the Kalophonic Stavrotheotokia of Manuel Chrysaphes', by invitation at the Columbia University / Axion Estin 'Mostly Orthros' biennial symposium, at Union Theological Seminary, New York (December 2014).
- 'The Organika Kratemata of Manuel Chrysaphes', at the 2014 Venice meeting of Cantus Planus (July 2014).
- 'Kalophonia and the Phenomenon of Embellishment and Re-Composition in Byzantine Psalmody', invited speaker at Dumbarton Oaks' Spring Symposium: Knowing Bodies, Passionate Souls: Sense Perceptions in Byzantium, Washington DC (April 2014).
- 'The ineffable Kratema', at the 2013 BSANA annual Byzantine Studies Conference at Yale University (November 2013).
- 'Embellishment in Byzantine Chant: A Case Study from the Sticherarion.' Lecture presented at The American College of Greece, Athens (May 2013).
- 'The Kalophonic Sticherarion of Manuel Chrysaphes', by invitation at the Axion Estin 'Mostly Orthros' annual symposium, at Union Theological Seminary, New York (December 2012).
- 'Compositional Voice in Byzantine Ecclesiastical Music' at the 2012 BSANA annual Byzantine Studies Conference at Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA (November 2, 2012).
- 'The Anoixantaria of Manuel Chrysaphes', Medieval and Renaissance Music Conference (MedRen) Society held at the University of Nottingham (July 2012).
- 'Pany oraion: The Kratema and the Composition as Artistic Work in Late Byzantine Ecclesiastical Music', at the American Musicological Society (AMS), New England chapter annual winter meeting at MIT, Boston, MA (February 2012).
- 'The Kratema and the Composition as Artistic Work in Late Byzantine Ecclesiastical Music', at the Second Biennial Euro-Mediterranean Music Conference, University of Cyprus, Nicosia (September 2011).
- 'The reception of Manuel Chrysaphes and his Treatise: narratives of continuity and theories of performance practice in Byzantine psalmody', at the International Musicological Conference Crossroads. 'Greece as an intercultural pole of musical thought and creativity', Thessaloniki (June 2011).
- 'The Emperor's Musician learns Latin 'Polyphony'', at the Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East (SSCLE) at the 2010 International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, MI (May 2011).
- 'It is useful to singers, but not to philosophers: The Treatise of Manuel Chrysaphes', at the Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies (SPBS) annual conference in Newcastle, UK (May 2011).
- 'The reception of Manuel Chrysaphes and his Treatise: narratives of continuity and theories of performance practice in Byzantine psalmody', Conference Proceedings from the International Musicological Conference Crossroads. 'Greece as an intercultural pole of musical thought and creativity', Thessaloniki, 6-10 June, available at http://crossroads.mus.auth.gr/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/CROSSROADS_PROCEEDINGS.pdf).
- 'Princeton musicologist visits City: Internationally renowned musicologist, Kofi Agaqu, delivers keynote lecture at City University London'. Summary written for City University London Marketing & Publicity department, available at: http://www.city.ac.uk/news/2013/apr/princeton-musicologist-vists-city.
- Entries for Gregorios Bunes Alyates, Gabriel Hieromonachos and Ioannes Laskaris in Lexikon der byzantinischen Autoren, which will be published by Oxford University Press, managed under the auspices of the Institut für Byzantinistik und Neogräzistik in Vienna. Forthcoming.
- Entry for Μανουá¼ λ ΧρυσÎ¬φης in ΜεγÎ¬λη ΧριστιανικÎ® ΕγκυκλοπαÎ¯δεια (http://www.amen.gr /index.php?mod=news&op=article&aid=5652). Forthcoming.
- Higher Education Innovation Fund Grant Recipient (2013)
- AHRC Cultural Engagement Fund Grant Recipient (2013)
- University Studentship Recipient (2009-2012).
Spyridon was a Visiting Lecturer at City University London for 'Materials of tonal music' in the autumn terms of the 2010/11 and 2011/12 years. He was also a Guest Lecturer for 'Introduction to Ethnomusicology' in 2010/11, speaking about Music in Worship.
Music and performance
- Founder and Artistic Director, The Greek Institute's Byzantine Christmas, Cambridge, MA (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUfrCSLgqzU)
- Regular member of Capella Romana
- Performer in Stanford University/CCRMA Institute's Icons of Sound project
- Producer of Holy Cross Seminary Choir's inaugural recording, 'All Creation Trembled' (http://www.hchc.edu/assets/files/CD/All_Creation_Trembled_ebook.pdf)
- Regular member of Byzantine Melodists
- Singer with Plastikes Karekles (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdtHfxs6hA)
- Classically trained tenor (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZNlcpKbRSA)