Al-Bustan Music Concert Series: 2012-13

Posted On:
07 August, 2012

Al-Bustan Music Concert Series: Fall 2012-Spring 2013

Al-Bustan presented its second season of an Arab Music Concert Series, which featured internationally acclaimed guest artists performing with Al-Bustan’s resident takht music ensemble led by Music Director Hanna Khoury. Each guest artist visited Philadelphia for several days of rehearsals, demonstrations, meet the artist reception, culminating with a concert at Trinity Center for Urban Life, 22nd and Spruce St in Philadelphia. Additionally, each concert program was presented in New York City, Boston, or Washington DC.

This program was made possible largely by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Music Project. Al-Bustan is pleased to be among the nine organizations who received the Pew’s PMP grant in 2012.


[caption id="attachment_830" align="alignright" width="126"]HUSNU ŞENLENDIRICI HUSNU ŞENLENDIRICI[/caption]

Saturday October 20, 2012 | 8pm
Classical and Contemporary Turkish Music


As one of Turkey’s leading clarinetists, Hüsnü Şenlendirici is deeply rooted in his Anatolian heritage, particularly his Aegean homeland’s musical traditions. His immersion in the classical music repertoire of Turkey directly relates to classical Arab music of Egypt and the Levant, which has its roots in Turkish classical music. His 2005 debut solo release ‘The Joy of Clarinet’ broke records in Turkey and afforded him the opportunity to perform internationally. In 2007 Senlendirci formed The Taksim Trio project with virtuosos Aytaç Doğan on qanun and İsmail Tuncbilek on baglama. Rooted in improvisation, The Trio captivated the international world music scene with live performances and the release of their Taksim Trio album, which was voted best album of the year in Turkey in 2007. Senlendirici collaborated with Trio Chios, a Greek band from Chios Island to release “Both Sides of the Aegean” in 2010, featuring common melodies of Greek and Turkish cultures from both sides of the Aegean Sea. Senlendirici’s most recent solo album Husn-u Hicaz was released in late 2011. Find out more about Senlendirici’s visit to Philadelphia.

[caption id="attachment_832" align="alignright" width="126"]KARIMA SKALLI KARIMA SKALLI[/caption]

Sunday Nov 18, 2012 | 4pm
Music of Morocco and Al-Andalus


Born in Casablanca, Morocco, Karima Skalli began singing at a young age. She studied classical Arabic singing at the Marrakesh Conservatory and after graduating won a national award of excellence in Arab singing. Her strength as a singer lies not only in her beautiful voice, but also in her mastery of a diverse range of music. She is an accomplished Arab vocalist, excelling in the repertoire of Arab vocal icons Umm Kulthoum and Asmahan, as well as the traditional music of Morocco and Andalusia. She is equally at ease performing music of the Sufi tradition. Her album Wasla successfully revived the wasla form of music (wasla meaning “that which links”). Skalli has collaborated with acclaimed Moroccan oud player and composer Said Chrabi and Iraqi oud virtuoso Naseer Chama on many occasions and worked with Lebanese composer/musician Marcel Khalife to present a concert honoring poet Mahmoud Darwish. She has performed internationally and at prestigious Arab music festivals from the Opera House in Cairo to the Jarash Festival in Jordan and Carthage Festival in Tunisia. Find out more about Skalli’s visit to Philadelphia/Boston/DC.

[caption id="attachment_840" align="alignright" width="147"]ANTHONY SHADID ANTHONY SHADID[/caption]

Sunday Dec 9, 2012 | 4pm — FREE
Reading by Nada Bakri with Philadelphia Arab Music Ensemble


On December 9, Al-Bustan will celebrate Anthony Shadid’s life and contributions with a musical and literary afternoon. His wife Nada Bakri will read excerpts from House of Stone, and members of the Philadelphia Arab Music Ensemble will perform a musical medley from Lebanon and the Arab region.

Anthony Shadid was a foreign correspondent for the New York Times and prior to worked for the Washington Post. He died on February 16, 2012 from an acute asthma attack while covering the conflict in Syria.

Over a 15-year career, he reported from most countries in the Middle East. He won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 2004 for his coverage of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the occupation that followed. He won a second Pulitzer Prize in 2010 for his coverage of Iraq as the United States began its withdrawal. In 2007, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of Lebanon. He also received the American Society of Newspaper Editors’ award for deadline writing (2004), the Overseas Press Club’s Hal Boyle Award for best newspaper or wire service reporting from abroad (2004) and the George Polk Award for foreign reporting (2003).

Shadid was the author of three books: Legacy of the Prophet: Despots, Democrats and the New Politics of Islam (2002), Night Draws Near: Iraq’s People in the Shadow of America’s War (2005), and House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family and a Lost Middle East (2012, published one month after his passing).

Find out more about Remembering Anthony Shadid in Philadelphia.

[caption id="attachment_833" align="alignright" width="124"]KEVORK MOURAD and KINAN ABOU-AFACH KEVORK MOURAD and KINAN ABOU-AFACH[/caption]

Saturday Feb 23, 2013 | 8pm
KEVORK MOURAD visual artist
KINAN ABOU-AFACH composer, cellist
Original Compositions: Roads to Damascus


Kevork Mourad, a visual artist of Armenian origin, was born in Kamechli, Syria. After his secondary education in Syria, he studied at the Yerevan Institute of Fine Arts in Armenia where he received his MFA in 1996. He came to the United States shortly after where he has performed and exhibited widely. Early on in his career, he developed a technique of spontaneous painting in which he shares the stage with musicians, his art created in counterpoint to their music. He has collaborated with a wide range of musicians, including Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, Kinan Azmeh, Ezequiel Viñao, Tambuco, Song Fusion, Mari Kimura, Ken Ueno, Liubo Borissov, Eve Beglarian, Rami Khalife, Maya Trio, SYOTOS, and Brooklyn Rider, among others. Mourad has performed and exhibited his paintings and works on paper in museums and concert halls around the world, including the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Tenri Center, Angel Orensantz, 92nd St. Y, Cooper Union, Rhode Island School of Design, Harvard University, Nara Museum in Japan, Rubin Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara, Chicago Institute of Art, Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, Juilliard’s “Beyond the Machine” Festival, Chelsea Museum of Art, the City University of New York, the American Museum of Natural History, Lincoln Center, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Examples of Mourad’s artwork and live performances can be seen on his website.

Kinan Abou-afach is a Syrian-born cellist and composer. 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. As a soloist and chamber musician Abou-Afach has performed in Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, France, Germany and Japan. He is currently a performer with Al-Bustan’s resident Arab music ensemble based in Philadelphia. Other than performance, Abou-afach is an active composer, writing music that is influenced by Eastern and Western traditions. Some of his film scores include original soundtracks “The Long Night” by Hatem Ali; “Where We Stood” by Blake Beckstrom; and for the Theater/Dance “Jondo Portraits” by choreographer Wendy Clinard. Examples of Abou-afach’s compositions can be heard on his website.

Find out more about Mourad/Abou-afach collaboration in Philadelphia.

[caption id="attachment_846" align="alignright" width="124"]RIMA KHCHEICH RIMA KHCHEICH[/caption]

Saturday Mar 23, 2013 | 8pm
Music of Lebanon and Rahbani Brothers


Rima Khcheich started her singing career at the age of eight as a soloist at the Beirut Oriental Troupe for Arabic Music where she performed classical Arabic songs from 1984 till 1997. A graduate of the Lebanese American University in Beirut and the National Conservatory of Music, Khcheich mastered different styles of singing, most notably Muwashashat and Adwar, and built her repertoire excelling in the performance of songs of the Arab world’s most famous composers. She taught voice at the Lebanese National Conservatory of Music for 12 years and leads an Arabic Music class at the American University of Beirut and the Lebanese American University since 2010. Khcheich travels on a yearly basis to Mount Holyoke University in Massachusetts where she takes part as a voice instructor in “The Arabic Music Retreat” program directed by Simon Shaheen. Her career took a decisive turn in 2001 when she started a new musical experience presenting classical Arabic songs with jazz arrangements accompanied by Dutch jazz musicians playing sax, guitar, double bass and drums. Khcheich has performed live throughout the Middle East (Cairo Opera House, Jerash Festival, Damascus Opera House), Europe (North Sea Jazz Festival) and the USA (Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Kimmel Center). Her professional collaborations include working with Simon Shaheen, Toufic Farroukh, Ziad Rahbani, Rabih Mroué and Issam Hajal. Khcheich has released four albums: Orient Express (2001), Yalalalli (2006), Falak (2008), and Min Sihr Ouyounak (2012). A selection of Khcheich’s performances can be viewed online. Find out more about Khcheich’s visit to Philadelphia and NYC.