Musical Performance: Benefit Concert for Dimitri Mikelis

Sat, January 10, 2009 9:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

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Dimitri Mikelis - 'oud, piano

With special guest artists

Youssef Kassab, vocals
Najib Shaheen
, 'oud

and featuring

Julien Augier - drums
Alan Bjorklund - trumpet
Johnny Farraj
- percussion
Ilia Kazantev
- piano
Liz Magnes
- piano
Arturo Martínez
- flamenco guitar
Bárbara Mart
ínez - vocals, dance
Christine Moore
- soprano
Katia Paschou
- soprano
Robin "Dameshe" Shumays
- dance
Sami Abu Shumays
- violin
Apostolos Sideris
- bass

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

9:00 p.m. (doors open at 8:15)

Suggested donation: $20

Listen to Dimitri in "Mitz's New Work"


A year ago, Dimitri suffered a severe injury to the fingers of his left hand, preventing him from playing the 'oud for several months. After an initial surgery, he was able to resume playing, though he only has full usage of two of the four fingers, and has not been able to work as regularly, leading to a dramatic decrease in his earnings. Now Dimitri has the opportunity to undergo another procedure that will restore full function to his fingers, but the surgery is quite expensive, beyond the modest means of a musician's income.

Because of this, and because we are proud to support Dimitri, who has been a frequent performer and collaborator at our venue, we at Alwan, in conjunction with Dimitri's friends and fellow musicians, are donating our space and efforts to help raise funds for his surgery. The result is this star-studded tribute to Dimitri and his music making, featuring many of the finest musicians of New York's Middle-Eastern, Jazz and Classical scenes. Help prevent Dimitri Mikelis from becoming the Django Reinhardt* of the 'oud!

About Dimitri Mikelis:

Performer, composer and instructor Dimitri Mikelis plays the Arabic ‘'oud and jazz piano. His focus on this dual musical direction has offered an opportunity for him to combine western and eastern traditions and create his own voice and perspective in his musical composition.

Mr. Mikelis has performed and toured extensively in Greece and Europe along-side many well known Greek singers, including Sokratis Malamas, Melina Kana, Savvina Giannatou, Stelios Vamvakaris, among others. He has been a member of numerous small ensembles of various genres, including Blues, Latin, Rembetiko, traditional Greek, Middle Eastern and Alternative. In 1996 he joined, as a composer and a soloist, the ethnic jazz ensemble from Greece, “Occasional Dream” with whom he performed at various venues in Greece and Europe, including the Biennale Festival in Rome, The 1st Jazz Ethnic Festival “Odes”, in Athens and the European Youth Festival in Ankara, Turkey.The ensemble's debut recording was released in 2000.

In the U.S., Mr. Mikelis has appeared as a featured artist in such venues as the World Music Institute with the Romeiko Ensemble, Symphony Space with the Arabic Music Retreat Orchestra during the Mahrajan al Fann Festival, and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. with Savvina Giannatou. He has also appeared as a virtuoso artist in many ‘oud festivals, including Club Passim in Boston in 2003 and 2005, and most recently in the Brooklyn Maqam Arab Music Festival in a concert presented by the celebrated 'oudist Najib Shaheen.

Mr. Mikelis has recorded with various labels in Greece and the United States, most notably in a compilation of young composers and soloists entitled Rebirth (2003), a live recording with the 10-piece ensemble Zikrayat, Live at Lotus (2006), and a personal album with the Jazz group Mitz, entitled New Work (2007). He appears as a musician and actor in the film by reknown film director Jonathan Demme, Rachel Getting Married, starring Anne Hathaway and Debra Winger, and in the soundtrack for Demme’s documentary Jimmy Carter - Man From Plains, released in 2008.

Born in 1976 in Athens, Mr. Mikelis attended a music high school and continued his studies in Greece by earning a Diploma in Classical Harmony (1997) and Classical Counterpoint (1999) from the Central Conservatory of Athens. In 2001 he arrived in the US, having won the Music World Tour Scholarship of Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he went on to earn his Bachelor's degree in Jazz Studies in 2003. In 2006 he completed a Master's degree in Jazz Performance from William Paterson University in New Jersey.


If you would like to offer your support to Dimitri, but are unable to attend this event, please mail a check to:

Dimitrios Mikelis
22-13 47th Street, Apt. 1
Astoria, NY 11105

For more information on Dimitri, please visit:

* See: About Django Reinhardt

Last updated: 2009-01-03 11:41:17

Dimitri Mikelis
Dimitri Mikelis

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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