Musical Performance: John Kameel Farah - Between Carthage and Rome: New Works for Piano & Electronics

Thu, March 24, 2011 8:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

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Exchanging the idea of "fusion" from the old "East meets West" cliche with deeper connections between several musical ages and cultures, and reflecting a fascination with the intertwining tension between European and Eastern Mediterranean identities, innovative and celebrated Toronto-based pianist and composer John Kameel Farah returns to Alwan in a performance of new works and improvisations for piano and electronics.

About the Artist

Behind a stage set up that can include piano, Baroque harpsichords, various synthesizers, and laptop computers, John Kameel Farah cuts an impressive and unforgettable figure in solo performance. As such diverse instrumentation readily suggests, Farah is interested in working in a wide open creative field through which he can combine, juxtapose, and transform the musics that interest him most: Early and Baroque keyboard music, ambient minimalism, Middle-Eastern music, Electronic Dance Music, and electroacoustics. In performance, Farah ranges all over his instruments while setting up textures and countertextures, moving deftly from acoustic to electronic episodes, and testing and deploying his materials with a mixture of scientific care and wild abandon. Improvisation is a key working method, both at his various keyboards and in the execution of electronic beats and processes that are equally at the core of his approach.

Of Palestinian heritage, Farah is a Toronto-based composer, pianist, electronic musician and visual artist. Classically trained in composition and piano performance at the University of Toronto and he Royal Conservatory, he received the Glenn Gould Composition Award twice during his studies. The influences of the classical and avant-garde composers whose works he performed can be felt in his music, mixing with forays into free improvisation, minimalism, jazz, electro-acoustics, eastern scales, ambient and genres of electronic dance music such as Drum & Bass, Breakcore, Dubstep and IDM. he studied Middle-Eastern classical music at Simon Shaheen's Arabic Music Retreat.

Farah has been interviewed and broadcast by the CBC’s radio programs The Signal, Brave New Waves, Two New Hours and Metro Morning. He performs regularly in Toronto, and has also given concerts in Amsterdam, London, Paris, Hamburg, across Canada, the U.S., Korea, the Middle-East and Mexico. In 2008 he pened for Kid Koala at the Guelph Jazz Festival, and gave a concert atop the Aztec Great Pyramid of Cholula with galactic visuals created by astronomer John Dubinski. In 1999 and 2002 he gave performances and masterclasses in Ramallah and East Jerusalem at the Edward Said National Conservatory in Palestine.

"Frenetic and contemplative in turn, Farah’s music is underpinned by a deep emotional and spiritual reservoir which, when framed through his exceptional musicality and virtuosic instrumental command, packs his highly original solo music with considerable and undeniable clout." - Scott Thompson, Guelph Jazz Festival.

Listen to/watch John Farah here.


General Admission: $15, available online here.

A small surcharge is applied to each online ticket; use printout as your proof of purchase. Tickets are also available at the door. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

Last updated: 2011-03-05 02:47:54

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