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Concert: New Sounds from Arab Lands (A World Premiere Concert Series)
Alwan for the Arts
New York, NY
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Concert: New Sounds from Arab Lands (A World Premiere Concert Series)
This adventurous program brings together eminent performer-composer-improvisers from Syria and Tunisia who create new music inspired by the rich cultural heritage of the Arab lands. Often performing on instruments that are not native to the Middle East, these accomplished artists exemplify the talent, achievement and breadth of a rising generation of cosmopolitan Arab musicians who combine jazz and classical music with the microtonal subtleties and myriad melodic modes of Arab music.

Each musician is at once a consummate performer, skilled improviser, and highly original composer. The ensemble's music represents a sublime mix of spontaneity and control rooted in a thousand-year-old tradition of improvisation. Part composed and part improvised, the new works created by members of the ensemble come alive in the moment of performance but are also charged with history. At once seamless and surprising, they could only have emerged from artists whose own musical journeys have zigzagged back and forth between the Middle East and the West in unique and remarkable ways.

Kinan Azmeh, clarinet
Basel Rajoub, saxophone
Jasser Haj Youssef, violin, viola d'amore
Feras Charestan, qanun
Khaled Yassine, percussion


New Sounds from the Arab Lands is led by the versatile clarinetist Kinan Azmeh. Born in Damascus, Kinan graduated from that city's High Institute of Music and subsequently from New York's Juilliard Conservatory. He has appeared worldwide as a classical clarinetist as well as a new music improviser and jazz player. His compositions include works for orchestra, chamber groups, and solo clarinet as well as film scores, dance soundtracks, and electro-acoustic music.

Basel Rajoub, born in Aleppo, Syria, graduated from the Damascus High Institute of Music, where he studied European and Middle Eastern classical music as well as jazz. Known for merging jazz with Middle Eastern rhythms, piano, and brass and developing oriental music for the saxophone, Basel performs widely as a solo artist and a leader of the Basel Rajoub Ensemble.

Jasser Haj Youssef, originally from Tunisia, currently lives in Paris and performs both on violin and on the Baroque viola d'amore, whose resonant sympathetic strings are ideally suited to the modal melodic forms of Arab music. Jasser is a consummate fusionist, as much at home in jazz as in classical music and Arab maqam.

Khaled Yassine is from Beirut and plays both Middle Eastern and Western percussion. Khaled tours widely with Anouar Brahem and is artistic director and producer of the Beirut-based CD label Edict Records.

Feras Chahrestan comes from the city of Al-Hasakeh, in northeast Syria, and studied qanun at the High Institute of Music in Damascus. He performs regularly as a qanun soloist with the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra and the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra as well as in the bands Roubai Toueis and Woujouh.


Alwan for the Arts (View)
16 Beaver St. 4th Fl
New York, NY 10004
United States


Music > All Ages
Music > Classical
Music > Experimental
Music > Global
Music > Jazz
Music > World

Kid Friendly: Yes!
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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