22
OCT

Al-Bustan Concert: Music & Tales of Home

Posted On:
25 September, 2017
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Music & Tales

As part of (DIS)PLACED: Philadelphia project, Al-Bustan is pleased to present a concert with music of Syrian composers and musicians in the diaspora, woven with stories of (dis)placement in Philadelphia, featuring:

Issam Rafea – oud

Kinan Azmeh – clarinet

Kinan Abou-afach – cello

Hafez Kotain – percussion

with Denise Valentine – narrator

Music and narrative interweave in an afternoon devoted to the sounds of home, both far and near. The work of contemporary Syrian composers will punctuate the tale of the great human migration, recollections from 12 individual stories featured in (DIS)PLACED, and a plea for humanity to find our deeper, common roots.

Date:  SUNDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2017

Time: 4:00 – 5:30 PM

Location: TRINITY CENTER FOR URBAN LIFE – 22nd and Spruce St, Philadelphia

Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at door | $15 with student ID

Purchase Tickets Here

 

 


Issam Rafea
Issam Rafea

Issam Rafea

Winner of the 2010 “Best Composer Award” in Dubai International Film Festival (Muhr Arab) in the film “Matar Ayloul,” “September Rain,” Rafea was the Chair of the Arabic Music Department at High Institute of Music in Damascus and the principal conductor of Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music from 2003 to 2013. While in Syria, Rafea was an active composer and arranger for TV and Theater since the 90s. Rafea collaborates internationally with groups like “Gorillaz” arranging five works that were performed by the Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music. It was recorded in Damascus Opera house. One piece was selected to be in “Gorillaz” album “Plastic Beach” in 2009. The project was concluded with an international tour in UK, Europe, Lebanon, Syria, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia. Rafea is co-founder and oudist for the contemporary Arabic music group Hewar, which has performed in UAE, Egypt, Germany, UK, France, Japan, and USA. In 2011 and 2012 the group participated in the Morgenland Festival in Osnabrueck, Germany. Rafea also founded “Twais Quartet,” a group that performs both original compositions by Rafea and traditional Arabic music works. He is currently Visiting Teacher/Artist in the Department of Music for 2017 Spring Term at Carleton College, MN.


KinanAzmeh
Kinan Azmeh

Kinan Azmeh

Hailed as a “virtuoso” and “intensely soulful” by the New York Times and “spellbinding” by the New Yorker, and “incredibly rich sound” by the CBC, Kinan Azmeh has gained international recognition as a clarinetist and composer. He was named composer-in-residence with Classical Movements for the 2017-2018 season. He has appeared as soloist with the New York Philharmonic, the Seattle Symphony, the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, the Qatar Philharmonic and the Syrian Symphony Orchestra among others; and has shared the stage with Yo-Yo Ma, Marcel Khalife, Aynur, Daniel Barenboim and Jivan Gasparian. His compositions include several works for solo, orchestra, and chamber music; film, live illustration, and electronics. His discography include three albums with his ensemble Hewar, several soundtracks for film and dance, a duo album with pianist Dinuk Wijeratne and an album with his New York Arabic/Jazz quartet the Kinan Azmeh CityBand. He serves as artistic director of the Damascus Festival Chamber Players, a pan-Arab ensemble dedicated to contemporary music form the Arab world. He is a frequent guest faculty at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music and is on the advisory board of the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra. He is also a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble with whom he was awarded a Grammy in 2017. Azmeh earned his doctorate degree in music from the City University of New York in 2013. He is a graduate of New York’s Juilliard school as a student of Charles Neidich, and of both the Damascus High institute of Music where he studied with Shukry Sahwki, Nicolay Viovanof and Anatoly Moratof, and Damascus University’s School of Electrical Engineering in his native Syria.


Kinan Abou-afach
Kinan Abou-afach

Kinan Abou-afach

Kinan Abou-afach is a Syrian-born cellist, oud player, and composer. In 2013 he received a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, a prestigious award given to Philadelphia artists of exemplary talent. He began his musical studies at the age of seven and received his first degree in cello and oud performance in the music preparatory program of the Arabic Institute of Music in Damascus. He completed a Bachelors degree in cello performance with a minor in oud performance from the Higher Institute of Music in Damascus. He has performed as a soloist with various orchestras in the Arab region and participated in master classes with Francoise Baduell, Federico Romano, Yo-Yo Ma, and members of Alban Berg Quartet. Abou-afach moved to Chicago in 2000 to obtain his master’s degree at the DePaul University School of Music. He studied under Stephen Balderston, assistant principal of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s cello section, and was a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago for several years. Abou-afach has been a member of Al-Bustan Ensemble since 2011. As a composer, Abou-afach crafts music that is saturated with unique scales, rhythmic grooves, and improvisation-esque progressions. He works on creating a new sound based loosely on the Arabic modal traditions known as maqam, while using elements from the western traditions (Classical, Jazz, Electronic, Musique concrète). Several of his compositions were commissioned by Al-Bustan, notably: Roads to Damascus with visual artist Kevork Mourad premiered in February 2013; {De}perception with digital artist Ayman Alalao premiered in May 2015, Of Night of Solace: Fantasia on Andalusian Muwashshah Poetry premiered in December 2015, and NUR: A Musical Journey Through Sufi Poetry premiered in April 2016.


Hafez Kotain
Hafez Kotain

Hafez Kotain

Hafez Kotain is a master percussionist fluent in both Arab and Latin rhythms–a fluency he honed in his native countries of Syria and Venezuela. In 2013 he received a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, a prestigious award given to Philadelphia artists of exemplary talent. Born in Venezuela of Syrian heritage, he grew up in Syria until the age of 16 years. He began playing the doumbek at the age of seven years, made his first stage performance at nine years, and went on to study with master Syrian percussionist Hady Jazan, winning the national percussion competitions in Syria for five consecutive years. In Venezuela he studied percussion at the TMV Institute for Music in Valencia, where he also taught middle and high school students for several years a variety of percussion styles blending Arab and Latino music. Kotian has toured with Syrian singer George Wassouf in Canada and the US; and has performed in Philadelphia with acclaimed artist Sting and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Kotain teaches percussion classes at the University of Pennsylvania, and throughout the year he is a master teaching artist with Al-Bustan at Moffet Elementary School, Northeast High School, Albert M. Greenfield School, Al-Bustan Camp, and various community-based programs.


DeniseValentine
Denise Valentine

Denise Valentine

Denise Valentine is a storyteller of forgotten and neglected African and African American Histories. She uses the power of story to transcend differences between people, transform negativity and inspire hope. Denise is also a historical performer and has portrayed Sojourner Truth, Phillis Wheatley and Black Alice of Dunks Ferry. Denise’s career highlights include performing at the Sibikwa Theatre in South Africa, the Ananse SoundSplash Storytelling Conference and Festival, in Jamaica, West Indies, and Pete Seeger’s Clearwater Festival on the Hudson River. She is featured in The Magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities (2013), a voiceover for the documentary “Emancipating Cliveden” about Historic Germantown and an appearance on the Travel Channel’s Mysteries at the Monument telling the story of Oney Judge (2015). Denise is a member of the National Association of Black Storytellers. For more than a decade she was on the roster of The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Arts in Education Directory and the Pennsylvania Humanities Council’s Commonwealth Speakers Bureau. She currently serves as Editor and Core Collaborator for Philadelphia Assembled, a project of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


Major support for (DIS)PLACED project is provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Additional support by Arab Fund for Arts and Culture and William Penn Foundation.