Performances

Friday, September 13, 2013
5:00-8:00 pm, Music in the Garden: An Evening of Musical Improvisation and Dinner Reception

Location: University of Alberta Devonian Botanic Garden, Parkland County (5 km north of Devon, Alberta; approximately 30 minutes from University of Alberta)

The event introduces visitors to the botanic garden with a short walk to the Pine Pavilion where we celebrate our guests with an informal reception. This is followed by a unique sonic experience enjoyed in the Kurimoto Japanese Garden, a stunning place with water features, a curved bridge, stone lanterns and a serene beauty. In this enchanting setting the musicians will take positions distant from each other as soloists so that listeners can follow each sound and savor the spontaneous music of each instrument in its own garden space. The musicians will stroll toward each other, creating improvised sonic dialogues along the paths and waterways. Listeners are free to follow and become part of these magical encounters of music and landscape.

Casual outdoor apparel, an umbrella, and walking shoes recommended. Bus transportation from Edmonton to the Garden, return, is provided by reservation (see “Registration” page).

Ticketed event (one admission is included in full conference registration; additional individual tickets may be purchased separately); see “Registration” page.

Saturday, September 14, 2013
8:00 pm, New Sounds from Arab Lands in Concert
Location: University of Alberta, Students’ Union Building, Myer Horowitz Theatre

Performing on Middle Eastern and Western instruments, New Sounds from Arab Lands’ artists exemplify the talent, achievement and breadth of a rising generation of cosmopolitan Arab musicians who combine jazz, classical music, and the microtonal subtleties and myriad melodic modes of Arabic music. Each musician is at once a consummate performer, skilled improviser, and highly original composer. Together, the ensemble’s music represents a sublime mix of spontaneity and control rooted in a thousand-year-old tradition of improvisation. Such music could only have emerged from artists whose own musical journeys have zigzagged back and forth between the Middle East and the West in unique ways, creating music that is at once seamless and surprising.

Ticketed event (admission included in full conference registration; additional individual tickets may be purchased separately); see “Registration” page.

Guest Performers

New Sounds from Arab Lands
Steeped in the deep traditions of Middle Eastern music and trained in Western classical and jazz music, the musicians of the unique New Sounds from Arab Lands ensemble bring a new and fresh perspective to their music. New Sounds artists come from Syria and Tunisia, among other countries, and play both Western instruments (clarinet, violin, saxophone) and Oriental instruments (qanun, hand percussion). They all compose music that draws upon these myriad influences and shows their instrumental mastery. Their goal is to present the new face of Arab music – one that is not bounded by tradition, but inspired by it; they utilize the strengths of Western classical, jazz, and contemporary genres to create a new tradition. Created with the support of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and the Aga Khan Music Initiative, the five musicians of New Sounds from Arab Lands will come to Canada for the first time for performances and workshops in September, culminating in a concert at the Myer Horowitz Theatre on Saturday, September 14, 2013.
More on the musicians:

Kinan Azmeh – clarinet
Born in Damascus, Syria, he studied there at the High Institute of Music, and later graduated from the famed Julliard Conservatory in New York. He has toured worldwide as a classical clarinetist, and new music improviser and jazz player. He has written for orchestra, chamber groups, and film scores.

Basel Rajoub – saxophone
From Aleppo in Syria, he graduated from the High Institute for Music, where he studied Middle Eastern and Western classical music, and jazz. He is the leader of his own ensemble, and tours around the globe with that group.

Jasser Haj Youssef – violin, viola d’amore
Born in Tunisia, now living in Paris, he performs both the violin and the baroque viola d’amore. At home both with Arabic maqam and Western classical and jazz, he has performed with a wide range of fusion groups.
All of these musicians compose for the ensemble. They share a spirit of musical exploration and a willingness to experiment and find new and exciting soundscapes. Their goal is to create a new cosmopolitan Arab sound that is grounded in the traditions of the past-both Arab and Western, while being open to new sounds and fresh interpretations. It’s an exciting and unique approach to creating the next generation of music for a 21st Century Middle East.

Feras Charestan – qanun
Coming from the northeastern Syrian city of Al-Hasakeh, he studied at the High Institute of Music in Beirut. A regular performer with the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra and the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra, as well as with the groups Roubai Touels and Woujeh.

John Hadfield – percussion
Percussionist John Hadfield’s dedication to bending genres has taken him from the jungles of Indonesia to concert halls and clubs across the world. His varied expertise has allowed him to perform with a broad range of ensembles and artists including Yo-Yo Ma, The Saturday Night Live Band on NBC, Ethos Percussion Group and Gamelan Dharma Swara among many others. He is currently on the Jazz faculty of New York University where he teaches drum set and the World Percussion Ensemble. He has released two records of his own compositions.

New Sounds from Arab Lands appears courtesy of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and Aga Khan University

 

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