Cal Poly Arab Music Ensemble Winter Concert: 'Next Stop, Carnegie Hall with PolyPhonics'
The Cal Poly Arab Music Ensemble and special guest artists will perform a program of music and dance from the Eastern Mediterranean and larger region at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 1, in the Performing Arts Center.
Highlighting the program will be a collaboration of the Arab Music Ensemble and PolyPhonics, Cal Poly’s premier chamber choir. Totaling about 100 combined instrumentalists and singers, the combined groups will present “An Arabic Musical Suite after 1001 Nights.” At the heart of the suite will be a series of pieces made famous by Lebanese singer Fairuz, who has been adored by Arabic-speaking audiences for more than 60 years. The pieces are examples of the muwashshah genre, which is one of the oldest continuously performed art music genres in the world. The set will include instrumental improvisations and will conclude with a dabke, or Levantine line dance.
Directing the 50-member Arab Music Ensemble will be Music Department Professor Ken Habib, a composer and performer. The program will also include the premiere of one of Habib’s instrumental compositions and his arrangements of well-known songs from Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean.
PolyPhonics will be conducted by Music Department Professor Thomas Davies.
The concert will also feature songs of Sayyid Darwish, one of the foremost composers of modern Arab art music. Music from interconnected cultures of the larger region will include Azeri, Bulgarian and Farsi folksongs. The program will also include a composition presented by Keeth CrowHawk and the Middle Eastern Percussion Ensemble.
Critically acclaimed guest artists will include longtime favorites Adel Eskander Guirguis from Egypt on violin and Mousa Nasser from Jordan on qanun. San Luis Obispo dance directors Saundra Sarrouf and Jenna Mitchell will lead their dance troupe in original choreographies presented in this show for the first time.
Proceeds will benefit the Arab Music Ensemble and PolyPhonics’ concert tour in March to give the showcase performance at the World Projects 2014 New York Choral Festival at Carnegie Hall as well as concerts at the City University of New York Graduate Center and in Philadelphia’s Historic District.