PSU alum leads Byzantine chant during King Charles’ coronation

Portland State alum Alexander Lingas can now say he is a part of history in a way that no one else since 1953 can. Lingas was tapped to form and direct the Byzantine Chant Ensemble as part of King Charles’ Coronation at Westminster Abbey on May 6. 

The seven-member choir performed selected verses of Psalm 71 during the Exchange of Swords, which is part of the Presentation of Regalia. 

“The ensemble was formed at the request of His Majesty to honor his father, His Late Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, who was born a Prince of Greece,” Lingas said.

How did Lingas ‘86 end up performing at such a prestigious and historic event? He was approached because of his background as a scholar of Byzantine music. In preparation for the coronation, musicians and clergy from Westminster Abbey sought his advice as to how King Charles’ request could be fulfilled “in ways that both authentically represented Greek Orthodox tradition and fit into the ancient framework of the Coronation rite.” Lingas is the music director and founder of Cappella Romana, a vocal ensemble dedicated to classical Christian East and West music, including the Byzantine chant, Greek and Russian Orthodox works. He studied music composition and Russian language at PSU.

“It is both a great honor and a humbling responsibility to be participating in this historic event,” Lingas said. “The inclusion of Byzantine chant is but one of the many ways in which His Majesty has thoughtfully renewed the thousand-year-old Coronation Service in ways that respect tradition but also convey the vibrancy of contemporary multicultural Britain.”

Watch the Byzantine Chant Ensemble’s performance below.




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