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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 Winter Concert

Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016
8 p.m., Harman Hall, Performing Arts Center

The Cal Poly Arab Music Ensemble and guest artists will perform a diverse program of music and dance from the Eastern Mediterranean.

The concert will include some of the most celebrated instrumental, vocal and poetic repertoire of the region composed and performed by artists such as Sayyid Darwish and Amr Diab from Egypt, Fairuz and the Rahbani Brothers from Lebanon, Omar Al Batsh from Syria, and Tatyos Efendi from Ottoman Turkey.

The show will feature a number of traditional and contemporary art-music genres, including the “muwashshah,” one of the oldest continuously performed art music genres in the world and which, in this case, has an especially long 32-beat metric mode. Additional genres to be featured will 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 Cal Poly Arab Music Ensemble consists of a multi-instrumental orchestra and choir with vocal and instrumental soloists. The concert also will include a “takht” or chamber ensemble of students showcasing their abilities to work in the advanced setting of a small group.

Critically acclaimed guest artists will include Egyptian violinist Adel Eskander, Jordanian qanun player Mousa Nasser, and Egyptian percussionist Mohamed Radi, all based in the Los Angeles area. The program will also feature choreographies to Armenian and Egyptian songs led by San Luis Obispo dance director Jenna Mitchell.

Cal Poly Music Department ethnomusicologist Ken Habib -- composer, performer and scholar -- will direct the 25-member ensemble.

Tickets ($12 and $14 general, $9 and $12 students)


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Cal Poly Arab Music Ensemble Spring Concert

Saturday, May 28, 2016
8 p.m., Spanos Theatre

Tickets ($14 general, $9 students)



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