USC Visions and Voices

Enter a dark space and take a journey across time to medieval Byzantium in this dynamic and innovative event. Using cutting-edge immersive-audio technologies, we will recreate virtual ancient acoustic spaces. This fascinating event will feature performances by award-winning chanters Spyridon Antonopoulos (and Dimos Papatzalakis and a specially commissioned composition by Paz Lenchantin, the current bassist for the Pixies (

After the performance, recording engineer James Donahue, artist Olya Dubatova,  audio engineer and USC professor Chris Kyriakakis and Sharon Gerstel, a professor of Byzantine art history and archaeology at UCLA, will discuss the technologies and implications of recreating the sensation of presence in ancient spaces.

Participant Bios:

Spyridon Antonopoulos is the founder and director of the vocal ensemble Psaltikon and a regular member of Cappella Romana ( A student of the late Edward Zambara (NEC), he has appeared as a tenor soloist in operas and classical-music recitals, and has performed with world-music ensembles in the United States and the United Kingdom. His performance will feature some of his own original transcriptions of medieval chants. (YouTube ( James Donahue is a GRAMMY-nominated recording and broadcast engineer who has worked with ensembles ranging from Aerosmith to the Boston Symphony. From 1991 to 2014, he was a broadcast engineer at WGBH radio, and he has recorded the Boston Lyric Opera, the Handel and Haydn Society, Boston, Creed, Elton John, and Jewel. Donahue is currently a professor at the Berklee College of Music. (Faculty profile (

Artist Olya Dubatova was born in the Soviet Union and experienced its collapse when she was eight years old. The transformation of her country shaped her art, which focuses on cultural identity in a media-saturated world. She is the recipient of gold awards from AVA Digital and Hermes Creative.

Sharon Gerstel is a professor of Byzantine art history and archaeology at UCLA. She was awarded membership at the Institute for Advanced Study at

Princeton, as well as a Guggenheim fellowship. Gerstel has been involved in numerous excavations in Greece, both as a field director and as a ceramicsspecialist.

Chris Kyriakakis teaches and researches audio, acoustics, and psychoacoustics in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. He is the recipient of the World Technology Network Award in Media and Journalism, and his work has been featured in the New York Times and on NPR’s All Things Considered.

Paz Lenchantin is the current bassist for the Pixies. She has also played with A Perfect Circle and Entrance, and is an internationally acclaimed musician and composer of Argentinian, French, and Armenian ancestry.

Dimos Papatzalakis studied Byzantine music in Greece. He is a student of the renowned cantor Panagiotis Neochoritis, with whom he chanted as left cantor at St. George’s Cathedral of Neapolis in Thessaloniki for over ten years. He is the director of the Metropolis School of Byzantine Music in Neaopolis and the protopsaltis (first cantor) at the Cathedral of Kalamaria in Thessaloniki.

Additional Links:

Capella Romana Facebook (

Acoustical data in churches Vimeo (

Additional media coverage The Atlantic (, USC News


Presented by USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative. Organized by Chris Kyriakakis (Electrical Engineering) and Sharon Gerstel (Art

History, UCLA).