Syrian and Sri Lankan duo will perform Feb. 19
After a sold-out performance by Hahn-Bin on Jan. 22, the North Dakota Museum of Art is pleased to announce Syrian virtuoso Kinan Azmeh performing with Sri Lanka-born Dinuk Wijeratne on Sunday, Feb. 19, 2 pm.
Hear once again how Western classical music is intermingling with other world traditions. Kinan Azmeh is a Juilliard trained classical musician/composer and one of the world's leading clarinetists. Together with his pianist/composer, Dinuk Wijeratne, they bring to Grand Forks compositions that encompass the exotic Middle Eastern sounds on western classical instruments, with hints of jazz intermingled throughout.
Tickets are $13 for members, $15 for non-members, and $5 with a student or military ID.
Hailed as a “virtuoso” by the New York Times and cited for his “incredibly rich sound” by the CBC, Kinan Azmeh is one of Syria’s rising stars who is fast gaining international recognition. Sri Lankan Dinuk Wijeratne was recently praised by the Canadian Broadcasting Company as an artist “internationally respected for his virtuosity and sensitivity as a musician.”
Azmeh will perform "The Art of the Duo," a set of original compositions for his performance at the North Dakota Museum of Art. Audience members will also be treated to brief talks on Middle Eastern music and particular influences on each piece. For example, Azmeh’s composition “Airports” came as a result of being detained at the Kennedy Airport traveling between New York and Syria. With little to do, he decided to use this time to transform the experience into new music.
Born in Damascus, Azmeh was the first Arab to win the premier prize at the 1997 Nicolai Rubinstein International Competition, Moscow. A graduate of New York's Juilliard School and of both the Damascus High Institute of Music and Damascus University’s School of Electrical Engineering, Azmeh is currently finishing his doctoral work at the City University of New York.
Azmeh has appeared worldwide as a soloist, composer, and improviser. Notable appearances include: Opera Bastille, Paris; Tchaikovsky Grand Hall, Moscow; Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and the UN's general assembly, New York; the Royal Albert Hall, London; Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires; der Philharmonie, Berlin; the Library of Congress and the Kennedy Center, Washington DC; the Mozarteum, Salzburg; and the Damascus Opera House for its opening concert in his native Syria.
As classical clarinetist, he has appeared as soloist with the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, the West-eastern Divan Orchestra, the Kiev Camerata, the Corasara Orchestra, and the Syrian Symphony Orchestra among others. Azmeh has shared the stage with Marcel Khalife, Daniel Barenboim, Zakir Hussein Francois Rabbath, Solhi-al-Wadi, Manfred Leuchter, Kevork Mourad, and members of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, among others.
Compositions include several works for solo, orchestra, and chamber music; film, live illustration, and electronics. His discography includes three albums with his ensemble, Hewar, several soundtracks for film and dance, and a duo album with pianist Dinuk Wijeratne. He serves as artistic director of the Damascus Festival Chamber Music Ensemble, with whom he released an album of new contemporary Syrian chamber music written especially for the ensemble by various composers and is on the advisory board of the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra.
The Art of the Duo program includes "After Bela" (after "Pe Loc," by Bela Bartok) by Azmeh/Wijeratne, Ibn Arabi's "Postlude," and "Airports" by Azmeh. Wijeratne’s compositions include "The Learning Curve," "Something There," and "This Way Up."
The Museum Concert Series is underwritten by grants from the Myra Foundation and the Knight Foundation Donor Advised Fund at the Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and Region. Additional educational support comes from the Performing Arts Fund, a program of Arts Midwest, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the North Dakota Council on the Arts, General Mills Foundation, and Land O’Lakes Foundation. Committed classical music lovers also contribute an additional $50 on top of their season ticket to become sponsors who share in the cost of bringing great music to the community.
All concerts take place in the Museum galleries on Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m., followed by Monday evenings at 7:30 p.m. at Mayville State University.