Musical Performance: An Evening of Tarab with George Ziadeh

Sat, May 12, 2012 9:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

(View all musical performances »)


George Ziadeh - Vocals and 'Oud
Sami Abu Shumays - Violin
Apolstolos Sideris - Bass
Rami El Aasser - Percussion
Johnny Farraj - Vocals

Tickets: $20 General (*buy now)| $15 Members, Seniors, Students (*buy now) available at the door or online.

(*A small online fee is applied - use printout as your ticket)

Singer and 'oudist George Ziadeh returns with his ensemble, performing more timeless music from the golden ages of Arab music, including Andalusian muwashshahat, Egyptian Adwaar, and the beloved songs of Umm Kulthoum.

Doors open at 8:30pm, performance at 9pm.

About the Musicians
George Ziadeh was born and raised in Birzeit, Palestine, and pursued music from a young age. In 1986 he moved to the United States, where he studied ‘oud with Simon Shaheen and classical singing and voice with Youssef Kassab, with whom he has toured extensively across the country. George has performed and lectured with such ensembles and institutions as the University of Chicago’s Middle East Music Ensemble with Issa Boulos, the University of Colorado (Boulder), Alwan for the Arts, the United Nations (invited by Kofi Annan), and annually at the Columbia University Department of Ethnomusicology. In 2008, George was a featured solo and ensemble performer in the “Brooklyn Maqam” Festival of Arab Music. From 1995 to 1997 George taught at the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music in Ramallah and at Birzeit University. George is considered an authority in maqam and Arab classical repertoire.

Arabic violinist Sami Abu Shumays was born in the United States of mixed Palestinian and American descent, but returned to the Arab world to develop a richer connection with his cultural heritage. Originally a composer and scholar of Western Classical music, he began studying Arabic violin with renowned Arabic violinist and oud player Simon Shaheen in New York, where he concurrently pursued graduate studies in composition and ethnomusicology at C.U.N.Y. after receiving his B.A. in Music from Harvard. Seeking a deeper immersion in Arab musical culture, Sami studied in Cairo, Egypt on a Fulbright fellowship, with Dr. Alfred Gamil, and continued his studies in Aleppo, Syria, with Mohammed Qasas, Abdel-Basit Bakkar, and Abdel-Minaim Senkary–experiences that led him to devote himself to Arabic music. Since then, Sami has been performing and teaching Arabic Violin and Arabic music theory (maqam) across the United States, and is the founder of Zikrayat, an ensemble devoted to presenting the classical, dance and folkloric repertories of the Arab world.

Apostolos Sideris was born in 1978 in Athens, Greece, where he had his first musical training, playing the classical flute. By the time he was 15 he had switched to the electric bass, after his older brother's influence, who was already playing the electric guitar. It didnt take long for him to fall in love with the instrument ,and he was soon playing with various rock bands around Athens. By the time he was 18, his focus was directed towards Jazz music, something that lead him make the move and go to Boston, in order to attend Berklee. During his time at Berklee, he picked up the upright bass and since then it s been his main instrument. Following his stint in Boston, Apostolos moved to New York and earned his Master's degree in Performance, while being instructed by bass virtuoso, John Patitucci. Since then he has been freelancing and working around the States as well as abroad. He has performed with a wide array of musicians ranging from jazz masters such as drummer Clarence Penn to world music sensation and ECM recording artist Savina Yannatou and Syrian vocalist Youssef Khasab, right here at Alwan. In addition to being a performer, he is a composer whose influences range from Jazz and Latin to the sounds of his native Greece and the middle east.

Rami El Aasser started out playing snare drum in the Liberty High School Grenadier marching band of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania but eventually he found an Egyptian tabla in a home closet. On the great lakeshore of Evanston and later the pine forests of Sisters, Oregon he explored the voices of this drum; early audiences included far off Indiana across the water, the Three Sisters volcanoes, and a seemingly attentive cattle herd at the Lazy 'Z' ranch, respectively. Eventually, in 1999, Rami came to find some teachers in New York City and the Middle East. Since then, he has had the pleasure to study and perform with some contemporary percussion masters , including Said el Artiste, Ashraf El Din Hassan, Hamish Henkish, and Raquy. He performs at concert halls, cafés, theatres, clubs, and festivals throughout North America, Eastern Europe, and the Near East with groups such as Zikrayat, Raquy & the Cavemen, Alsarah and Sounds of Taraab, Alhambra, and Cafe Antarsia Ensemble.

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: 2012-05-10 20:12:11

Alwan for the Arts

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

Alwan Auction 2016

Join Our Mailing List:



Classes are currently being scheduled. Please check back soon for updates.



There are currently no upcoming events.


16 Beaver Street
4th Floor
New York, NY 10004
(646) 732 3261
Email Us

Alwan for the Arts is accessible to people with disabilities. Please call 646 732 3261 in advance, or, buzz at the door to arrange a ramp.

© 2020 Alwan for the Arts

Hosting donated by:, the Arabic Encyclopedia