Episodes:

Photo courtesy of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.

New Sounds from Arab Lands

Relax to mellow, Arab-inspired jazz by five accomplished performer-composers from Syria and Tunisia and featuring clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, who earned a Grammy Award with the Silkroad Ensemble for their 2017 CD Sing Me Home. This innovative quintet creates new music inspired by Middle Eastern traditions with influences from jazz and Western classical music, blending composition with improvisation in vibrant ways. Kinan Azmeh is joined by Basel Rajoub on tenor saxophone, Jasser Haj Youssef on violin and viola d’amore, Feras Charestan on qanun, and Khaled Yassine on percussion. The New Sounds project was developed by the Aga Khan Music Initiative, a program of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, and presented at the Freer Gallery in 2013.

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detail of a manuscript cover, two bearded men holding two books, halos behind their heads

St. Mark and St. Luke; Right cover of The Washington Manuscript of the Gospels, F1906.298

Byzantine Chant: Advent and Christmas Music from Mt. Sinai

Cappella Romana, a leading Byzantine music ensemble of virtuoso singers from Greece, England, and the United States, performs “Medieval Byzantine Chant: Advent and Christmas from St. Catherine’s Monastery, Mt. Sinai, Egypt.” This concert was part of the Meyer Concert Series and was presented on November 30, 2006, in conjunction with the Sackler exhibition In the Beginning: Bibles Before the Year 1000, and in cooperation with the J. Paul Getty Museum exhibition Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons from Sinai.

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Gao Hong and Issam Rafea perform on the Chinese and Arab lutes on September 14, 2019.

Enjoy these soothing, sophisticated duets on Chinese and Arab lutes by virtuosos of the pipa and ‘ud. Gao Hong and Issam Rafea engage in musical conversations that highlight the expressive magic of instruments that share common roots but are rarely heard together.

Musical Encounters along the Silk Road:
Gao Hong, pipa, and Issam Rafea, ‘ud

Enjoy these soothing, sophisticated duets on Chinese and Arab lutes, improvised by virtuosos Gao Hong on the pipa and Issam Rafea on the ‘ud. Their musical conversations highlight the expressive magic of two instruments that share common roots but are rarely heard together.

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The full ensemble heard on this podcast includes (left to right) Basel Rajoub, tenor saxophone; Kenan Adnawi, ‘ud; Naghib Shanbehzadeh, percussion; and Saeid Shanbehzadeh, Persian bagpipe. (Photo by Scott Friedlander © 2014, used with permission.)

Sound: The Encounter: Jazz from Iran and Syria

Four jazz-oriented artists from the Middle East merge the musical traditions for Persian and Arab bagpipe, double clarinet, lute, and drums along with the Western saxophone. Together they forge new sounds that transport ancient melodies into modern idioms. This performance was recorded live in concert at the Freer Gallery on December 12, 2013, and was presented in cooperation with the Aga Khan Music Initiative.

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detail of a manuscript cover, two bearded men holding two books, halos behind their heads

St. Mark and St. Luke; Right cover of The Washington Manuscript of the Gospels, F1906.298

Cappella Romana

Cappella Romana, a leading Byzantine music ensemble of virtuoso singers from Greece, England, and the United States, performs “Medieval Byzantine Chant: Advent and Christmas from St. Catherine’s Monastery, Mt. Sinai, Egypt.” The concert features music from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, including works by Manuel Gazes and St. John Koukouzeles. This concert is part of the Meyer Concert Series and was presented in conjunction with the Sackler exhibition In the Beginning: Bibles Before the Year 1000, and incooperation with the J. Paul Getty Museum exhibition Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons from Sinai. Recorded live in the Meyer Auditorium November 30, 2006.

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