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Arab Music Ensemble

The Arab Music Ensemble's three major contrasting shows of the season present diverse programs of classic and contemporary music and dance. Focusing on the Eastern Mediterranean and extending to historically interconnected cultures of the larger region, the concerts feature selections of the most celebrated instrumental and vocal repertoire from the Middle Ages to the present. Critically acclaimed guest artists add virtuosity to the performances, and wonderful dancers put a variety of beloved music into motion.


Members of the Arab Music EnsembleArab Music Ensemble Spring Concert

Saturday, May 24, 2014
8 p.m., Spanos Theatre

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

The concert will feature some of the most celebrated instrumental, vocal and poetic repertoire from the Ottoman era to the present, composed and performed by artists such as Fairuz, Philemon Wehbe, the Rahbani Brothers, Elias Rahbani, and Ziad Rahbani of Lebanon.

The show also will present a number of art music genres, including outstanding examples of the muwashshah — one of the oldest continuously performed art music genres in the world. A well-known folksong from Armenia, a lively folkdance from Upper Egypt, and an upbeat folkdance from Greece are also part of the program.

Student chamber ensembles will be in the spotlight, showcasing their abilities to work in a small group setting. Concluding the concert will be a famous example of the dabke genre — the best-known of Levantine line dances.

Critically acclaimed guest artists will include longtime favorites Assyrian qanun player Ishmael and Lebanese-Syrian percussionist Faisal Zedan. San Luis Obispo dance directors Saundra Sarrouf and Jenna Mitchell will lead their troupe in colorful dances while Keeth CrowHawk leads the percussion section.

Directing the 60-member Arab Music Ensemble will be Professor Ken Habib, a composer, performer and scholar. “Showing the historical interconnection of cultures, the shared traditions of song, with distinguished professionals performing alongside student musicians adds artistic dimension and educational depth to the program,” Habib said. “Having just returned from its East Coast tour and showcase performance with PolyPhonics at Carnegie Hall for the New York Choral Festival, the Arab Music Ensemble is at an historic high.”

Tickets ( $12 general, $9 seniors and students)




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