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Arab Music Ensemble

Featuring diverse programs of classic and contemporary music and dance, the Arab Music Ensemble will give three main contrasting shows during the concert season. While focusing on the Eastern Mediterranean, the programs will also feature selections from historically interconnected cultures of the larger region.

The instrumental and vocal repertoire will include a variety of composed and improvisational genres that stem from the Middle Ages to the present. These represent some of the oldest continuously performed art-music genres in the world and some of the most popular songs in the region.

Critically acclaimed guest artists will join the students in the ensemble, bringing their professional skill and virtuosity to the performances and to the educational experience. A troupe of beautifully costumed dancers will also join the musicians to put a variety of selections into exciting and graceful motion.

Cal Poly Arab Music Ensemble Spring Concert

Saturday, May 27, 2017
8 p.m., Spanos Theatre

Tickets ($14 general, $9 students)


The Cal Poly Arab Music Ensemble and guest artists will perform a program of music and dance from the Eastern Mediterranean and larger region for the spring concert.

The ensemble will perform works by some of the most celebrated composers, performers and poets of the region, including Sayyid Darwish, Zakariya Ahmad, and Mokhtar Al-Said, of Egypt; Fairuz, Philemon Wehbe, and the Rahbani Brothers, of Lebanon; and Tatyos Efendi, of Turkey.

The show will include traditional and contemporary genres such as the muwashshah, one of the oldest continuously performed art-music genres in the world, which in this case features a 13-beat metric mode.

Additional genres to be performed come from the shared music traditions of the Ottoman era, including the short introductory dulab and the more elaborate samai with its 10-beat metric mode.

The concert will also include a short suite of instrumental and vocal Greek music that includes traditional, popular songs and highlights the historical interconnectedness of the larger region.

The Cal Poly Arab Music Ensemble is a multi-instrumental orchestra and choir with vocal and instrumental soloists and with a membership that represents a wide range of majors on campus and professions off campus.

Critically acclaimed guest artists joining the ensemble from the San Francisco and Sacramento areas will include Faisal Zedan on percussion, Fathi Aljarrah on kamanja (Arabic violin), Hector Bezanis on nay (reed flute) and mizmar (shawm), and Ishmael on qanun (trapezoidal zither).

San Luis Obispo dance director Jenna Mitchell will lead the dance troupe in colorful choreographies in dialogue with the music.



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