BOSTON BYZANTINE MUSIC FESTIVAL COMES TO BROOKLINE, CAMBRIDGE World experts gather to discuss and perform music based on sacred chant (Brookline) – Enthusiasts, experts, and practitioners of Byzantine chant will attend a symposium, workshops and a concert focusing on this ancient musical form. The Boston Byzantine Music Festival gets underway on November 11 at Hellenic College Holy Cross in Brookline and finishes on the evening of November 12 with a concert filled with the ethereal sounds of medieval and Renaissance music and its contemporary adaptations at the First Church in Cambridge.
Byzantine chant was first performed thousands of years ago in the churches of the Byzantine Empire (330–1453). Today, Byzantine chant is still performed as part of religious ceremonies in the Greek Orthodox Church and its reverberations are heard in Greek folk music, popular musical genres, and in the work of composers from Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky to Arvo Pärt and John Tavener.
The fourth Boston Byzantine Music Festival, presented by the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture at Hellenic College Holy Cross, will explore paraliturgical music—music and song written on sacred themes and performed outside of formal worship—in Byzantine chant and related musical traditions. The centerpiece of this year’s festival is the concert entitled Sacred Voices, Sacred Traditions. Performers— Cappella Clausura, Kol Arev, Holy Cross St Romanos the Melodist Byzantine Choir, and well-known soloists and instrumentalists—will present the medieval, post-medieval, and contemporary liturgical and paraliturgical music of Christianity and Judaism, including works by the ninth-century Byzantine nun Kassia, the Renaissance lutenist Sulpitia Cesis, the German composer of Jewish liturgical music Louis Lewandowski, and the contemporary composers Joseph Ness and Arvo Pärt.
“We enjoy bringing together such an esteemed group of music historians and musicians to celebrate the role of sacred music, especially Byzantine chant, in our songs and lives today,” said Dr. Grammenos Karanos, Artistic Director of the Boston Byzantine Music Festival and professor of Byzantine Music at Hellenic College Holy Cross. “We hope the festival will attract new people interested in learning about Byzantine music and its connections to the world’s great musical traditions.”
The symposium and workshops are free. Workshops require advance registration. The concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. at First Church Cambridge, 11 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA. Tickets to the concert are $25 ($10 with valid ID) and are available online and at the door (credit card and check only). For details visit www.BostonByzantineMusic.org.
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