Musical Encounters Featured in The Temple News

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Through ‘Encounter,’ Ensembles Promote Arab Culture

The Temple News
24 June 2016 | Anh Nguyen

Inside the Church of the Advocate’s sanctuary, Hanna Khoury stood quietly as the musicians rehearsed their pieces one last time. He shook his head gently, his left foot tapping to the rhythm of the drums. On stage, the musicians followed the melody and not in anyone’s direction. When they wanted to stop, they looked at each other and mildly nodded.

“The sound of the music is wonderful,” said Diana Danot, who came from Ocean City, N.J. to attend the event. “I haven’t heard anything like it before.”

. . . The concert started with Prometheus playing a piece by Baroque composer, Antonio Vivaldi. The tacit arrangement was communicated through eye contact and nods, without a conductor.

The distinctive sound of “qanun”, a large string instrument popular in the Middle East, along with the playful, lively and fast-paced sound of percussion added an Arab fusion to popular pieces and genres like Spain by Chick Corea and El Cumbanchero by Rafael Hernandez, a famous Puerto Rican composer.

“It was phenomenal,” said Serge El Helou, the composer of “Lebanese Rhapsody” after his piece was played by Prometheus and Al-Bustan Takht. “My music was made alive.”

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