- Professor Alexander Lingas (Principal Investigator)
As part of Cappella Romana, a professional vocal ensemble, Professor Alexander Lingas’ research into Eastern Christian sacred music from its origins in Late Antiquity to the present, has uncovered important historical findings, created commercially successful music and generated significant cultural impact.
Professor Lingas formed the vocal ensemble in 1991. They have been celebrated for their presentations and recordings of medieval Byzantine chant (the Eastern sibling of Gregorian chant), Greek and Russian Orthodox choral works, and other sacred and historic Christian music.
As musical director of Cappella Romana, Professor Lingas’ work has created new cultural artefacts, enhanced historical preservation and revived music that might otherwise be lost or remain unheard.
What did we explore and how?
Professor Lingas has created and performed commercially successful adaptions of contemporary sacred classical music from the Christian traditions of East and West.
As part of the Icons of Sound research project with Stanford University, Professor Lingas performed two programmes with the Cappella Romana to recover and interpret the basilica’s sumptuous Christian worship.
The project created Lost Voices of Hagia Sophia, the first vocal album in the world to be recorded entirely in live virtual acoustics. It brought together art history, music history, performance, and technology to re-create how the music would have sounded centuries ago during Hagia Sophia’s time as a cathedral.
His work has also included performances demonstrating cross-cultural influences in Mediterranean Christendom that cast new light on the modern reception of Orthodox musical traditions.
Benefits and influence of this research
Professor Lingas and the Cappella Romana have contributed to the preservation, renewal and interpretation of Eastern Orthodox Christian musician heritage. His revival of sounds from the Byzantine Empire has reintroduced the lost music to modern audiences around the world.
Cappella Romana has released numerous recordings of early and modern music, distributed by Naxos Records, with five entering Billboard’s chart of top Traditional Classical albums. Lost Voices of Hagia Sophia topped the chart for a week and was remained on the billboard chart throughout the rest of 2020.
The choir has received praise from musical experts and publications, and amassed 810,400 Spotify streams by 92,200 listeners from 90 different countries.
Audio tracks and video recordings of Cappella Romana performances have featured throughout American and European media and the choir has performed sold out tours across the world.
The group has also contributed to knowledge transfers of the sounds through workshops, lectures, publications and singing services.