Musical Performance: Near East Meets Near West - Arab Music by West Coast Musicians, featuring Souhail Kaspar

Fri, April 8, 2011 9:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

(View all musical performances »)


Eric Ederer - 'oud, cümbüş
Lillie Gordon - violin
Jim Grippo - qanun
Majdi Kurd - percussion

and featuring master percussionist

Souhail Kaspar - Egyptian tabla, riqq and tar

The Near West Ensemble is comprised of musicians from the West Coast of the United States (Portland, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles) who have come together to play music from the Near East solely for audiences on the Nearer East, New York City. The program includes works by Mohammed ‘Abd al-Wahhab, Farid al-Atrash, ‘Abd al-Halim Hafez, and Umm Kulthum, and features improvisations and creative renditions of well-known Arab music compositions.

About the Musicians:

Grammy-nominated Souhail Kaspar, Master Percussionist, is known worldwide for his brilliant technique, exciting performances and teaching skills. A true virtuoso, his ability to improvise and embellish the rhythmic patterns of Arabic music, as well as his knowledge of ethnic musical history make him one of the most highly acclaimed performers and instructors of our day.

Born in Lebanon and trained at Nadi al-Fonun al-Arabia (Conservatory of Traditional Arabic Music) in Aleppo, Syria, he excelled in both classical and ethnic rhythmic patterns and techniques; there he received his Degree in Classical Arabic Performance.

Mr. Kaspar has worked with legendary Egyptian composers Farid al-Atrash, Sayyad Makawi and Hanni Mehanna. He has traveled extensively during his career and has performed with artists John Bilezikjian, Kenny Burrell, Omar Faruk, Shujaat Khan, Kronos Quartet, Cheb Mami, Dr. Scott Marcus, Roberto Miranda, Tito Puente, The Sacramento Symphony Orchestra, Kathem al-Saher, Simon Shaheen, Sting, Strunz & Farah, Wadi al-Safi and many others. He has also performed for dignitaries such as Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II, and the Dalai Lama.

Mr. Kaspar, a recipient of the Durfee Music Fellowship given to master musicians and teachers, has worked with Dr. Ali Jihad Racy (renowned UCLA Ethnomusicologist) at a wide variety of cultural events. Together they have performed in major concert halls and taught master classes and workshops throughout the United States.

His impressive body of recorded work includes soundtrack credits for the movies The Prince of Egypt, Sinbad and Scooby Doo in Egypt and for the documentaries The Region of the Nile, Darfur Now and The Great Bazaars. He has been featured on many CDs including guest percussionist on Caravan with the cutting edge Kronos Quartet, When the Soul is Settled: Music of Iraq for the Smithsonian Institute (nominated for the 2008 Grammy Traditional World Music Category), The Congo Square Project to provide relief funds for New Orleans musicians, Khaliji and Magic. Listen here: Souhail Kaspar's Near East Ensemble

Eric Ederer
is a composer and instrumentalist specializing in plucked strings; he has spent the last ten years learning Middle Eastern maqam music and is finishing a doctorate in ethnomusicology at UCSB by way of his dissertation on the art of taksim (solo improvisation) in Turkey, following a year’s research in Istanbul as a Fulbright-Hays Fellow.

Lillie Gordon is a Ph.D. candidate in ethnomusicology at the University of California Santa Barbara. She is currently working on a dissertation on Egyptian violinists and the violin's changing role in Egyptian music. She has studied Arab violin and Arab music for ten years with various teachers in the US and Egypt, including Mr. Sa‘d Muhammad Hassan and Dr. Scott Marcus. Past performances range from local Santa Barbara elementary schools to the famed Cairo Opera House. She is a native of New York City.

Jim Grippo
has been an avid performer of Near Eastern music on the ‘ud and the qanun for sixteen years. He is a passionate teacher of technique, improvisation, and maqam (Arab modal theory) and is the qanun player for the UCSB Middle East Ensemble (11 years), the Souhail Kaspar Near East Ensemble (4 years), as well as special appearances with the Yuval Ron Ensemble, Kan Zaman, and, recently, with the Gorillaz. In addition to teaching and performing, Jim is a Ph.D. candidate in ethnomusicology, focusing on Egyptian Popular music, at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).


Regular: $20, available online here.
Students/Seniors/Members: $15, available online here.

Tickets are also available at the door. A small surcharge is applied to each online ticket purchased; use printout as your proof of purchase. Student/Member I.D.'s will be requested at the door. Doors open at 8:30 p.m.

Last updated: 2011-04-03 21:17:09

Near East Meets Near West
Near East Meets Near West
Souhail Kaspar
Souhail Kaspar

Alwan for the Arts

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(between Broad St. and Broadway)
New York, NY 10004
(646) 732-3261

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