Register for Spring 2017 Arab Music Ensembles

Posted On:
11 January, 2017
Past Events


Led by music director and violin virtuoso HANNA KHOURY with percussionist HAFEZ KOTAIN and cellist/maqam theory specialist KINAN ABOU-AFACH, the Philadelphia Arab Music Ensemble and Philadelphia Arab Percussion Ensembles are community ensembles open to middle/high school and college students and adults. Singers and percussionists of all skill levels and intermediate to advanced instrumentalists (must read music) of strings and wind are invited to join. See 2015 post by Penn student Ariel Koren.

This program is offered in partnership with University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Music and Greenfield Intercultural Center.

Course theme: the choir and instrumental classes will introduce the works of composer/singer Melhem Barakat, a Lebanese singer, songwriter, and melodist, known by his fans as “Abou Majd.” Born in 1945, Barakat launched his music career in the 1960’s. He participated as a singer and actor in many of the Rahbani Brothers’ musicals, and established himself as one of the strongest voices in the country. While Barakat performed mainly in colloquial Lebanese dialect, his songs received wide acclaim in the Arab world making him a pan-Arab icon. This is largely due to his extensive use of Pan-Arab musical aesthetics and sensibilities in terms of modalities, rhythms, and musical forms. He died due to illness at age 71 in Beirut on October 28, 2016.

To Register:

Classes are held on THURSDAY EVENINGS starting January 12, 2017:

• Choir I (beginner/non Arabic speaker): 6-7pm  and Choir II (advanced/native Arabic): 7-8pm with Hanna Khoury

• Percussion: 6-7pm (advanced level) and 7-8pm (beginner-intermediate level) with Hafez Kotain

• Instrumentalists (wind/string & select percussionists): 8-9pm led by Hanna Khoury with Kinan Abou-afach and Hafez Kotain

Location: University of Pennsylvania Department of Music, 201 South 34th St, Philadelphia

Fees:* $375 for Spring Semester (15 sessions):

Jan 12, Jan 19, Jan 26, Feb 2, Feb 9, Feb 16, Feb 23, Mar 2, Mar 16, Mar 23, Mar 30, Apr 6, Apr 13, Apr 20, Apr 27: Concert at UPenn

 * NOTE:
• No fee required for enrolled UPenn students who can take it for .5 credit: Arab Music Ensemble Course–MUSC 007
• DISCOUNTED FEE FOR NON-PENN COLLEGE STUDENTS: $200 (inquire about payment options)

Photos from Spring 2016:

Comments from past participants:

When my freshman year roommate suggested that I try singing in Arab Ensemble, I will admit that I was skeptical at first.  However, I can say with full sincerity that I consider my choice to join the choir one of the smartest decisions I have made as an adult. I have made friends in the class and feel that I have an understanding of Arabic culture that I lacked before joining the choir. – Dan

As always our instructor Hanna Khoury went above and beyond to make sure that everyone truly immersed themselves in the songs and the meanings behind them, going the extra mile to teach us about the origins of the songs, the people who popularized them as well as their place and the weight they carry in the respective countries where they are most revered but also in the broader Arabic community. – Thato

He educates us about the etiquette of being an audience member and a performer and constantly reminds us that about the utmost importance of adapting to your audience and ensuring they are enjoying themselves. – Ayya

I realized when I was sitting amongst such an incredibly diverse group of students at our concert, listening to a language I had never been exposed to before, that Arabic Ensemble and Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture has taught me much more than just phonetically reading Arabic words off of a sheet of paper and trying to keep a rhythm and tone going throughout the attempt at these traditional Arabic songs.  I realized that Al-Bustan has taught me to embrace the many differences between the culture I have grown up in and the vast thriving culture of the Arabic World. – Patrick