Musical Performance: The Vocal Mastery of Youssef Kassab

Sat, November 22, 2008 9:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

(View all musical performances »)


Youssef Kassab, Vocalist

with guest artists

Fouad Salloum, 'Oud
Zafer Tawil, Violin
Johnny Farraj, Percussion

$20/$15 with valid student I.D.
Doors open at 8:30 p.m.

Youssef will draw on his vast repertoire of the Arab lyric tradition, including selections from Mohammed Abdel Wahab, Mouwashahat from Al Andalus, Al-Qudud Al-Halabiyya, and Sayed Darwish.

See TimeOut Listing: Youssef Kassab

Listen to Youssef Kassab sing Til'it Ya Mahla Nurha



Originally from Syria, Youssef Kassab began learning the oud and studying voice with his uncle at an early age. He continued his studies at the Damascus Conservatory, specializing in qanun (zither) and classical Arabic music vocal repertoire. There he recorded and performed with the Syrian Radio Orchestra as a vocalist.

In 1970 he moved to New York where he has been performing in concerts and festivals throughout the United States and Central America. In 1982 he joined the Near Eastern Music Ensemble as a principal vocalist. Youssef Kassab is one of the master performers of classical forms such as the Arabic Muwashshahat (classical Arabic/Andalusian vocal music), Al-Qudud Al-Halabiyya (traditional vocal repertoire from Aleppo, Syria), and 19th and early 20th century Egyptian vocal music.


Fouad Salloum was born in Lebanon and came to the United States almost 18 years ago. A multi-faceted musician, he plays the 'oud, buzuk, nay, and the piano, and has performed at Yale University, the United Nations, and Carnegie Hall. Fouad is also poet and a painter.

Zafer Tawil is an accomplished Palestinian musician based in New York City. He is a virtuoso on oud, violin, and qanun, and a master of Arabic percussion. Zafer performs in concerts, clubs, and at private events, and holds workshops in oud technique, and in Arabic music theory – across the US and in the Middle East, including a recent performance at Zankel Hall with Simon Shaheen. Zafer is constantly exploring the boundaries of Arabic music, and has worked on many collaboration concerts involving classical Indian and Persian music and Jazz fusion. Film credits include music and appearance in Jonathan Demme's film "Rachel Getting Married."

Johnny Farraj studied the riq (Egyptian tambourine) and frame drum with Karim Nagi and Fairuz's percussionist Michel Merhej. He also studied the oud with Simon Shaheen and Bassam Saba, and classical Arabic singing with Rima Khcheich and Youssef Kassab. As a percussionist, he has performed with Simon Shaheen/Qantrara (Symphony Space) and Amir El-Saffar, and recorded on the soundtrack of the play "9 Parts of Desire" by Heather Raffo. Johnny has performed and given lecture demonstrations in universities and museums throughout the US and Canada, and has taken part in several fusion collaborations involving classical Indian, Persian and Jazz. Johnny annually attends the Arabic Music Retreat, and has created the website to teach classical Arabic music (maqam) theory.


Last updated: 2008-11-17 04:45:09

Youssef Kassab
Youssef Kassab

Alwan for the Arts

16 Beaver Street, 4th Floor
(between Broad St. and Broadway)
New York, NY 10004
(646) 732-3261

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