Intercultural Residency Series
The Intercultural Residency Series (ICRS) brings to Brandeis University artists of high accomplishment from around the world. The goal of these residencies is to deepen understanding and
appreciation of diverse cultures through exploring artistic
traditions, promoting intellectual inquiry, and encouraging cultural
Residency events are open to the community. Open classes across the curriculum provide opportunities to explore culture, society, history, etc with some of the world’s great artists. From gender studies to anthropology, from peace and coexistence to regional studies, from dance to theater, the universal expressive genre of music offers insight to the complexities of human experience. See Fall and Spring Schedules for residency details
A sublime mix of spontaneity and control rooted in a thousand-year-old tradition of improvisation. This music is as alive and in the moment as you’ll ever hear, but it’s also fraught with history. Moreover, it could only have been created by artists whose own musical journeys have zigzagged back and forth between the Middle East and the West in unique and remarkable ways.
This adventurous program brings together eminent performer-composer-improvisers from Syria and Tunisia who create new music inspired by the rich cultural heritage of the Arab lands. Often performing on instruments that are not native to the Middle East, these accomplished artists exemplify the talent, achievement, and breadth of a rising generation of cosmopolitan Arab musicians who combine jazz, classical music, and the microtonal subtleties and myriad melodic modes of Arabic music.
Kinan Azmeh, clarinet
With guest artists:
This residency is presented in partnership with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, with support from the Brandeis Arts Council and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
New Sounds from the Arab Lands is led by the versatile clarinettist Kinan Azmeh. Born in Damascus, Kinan graduated from that city’s High Institute of Music and subsequently, from New York’s Juilliard Conservatory. He has appeared worldwide as a classical clarinettist as well as a new music improviser and jazz player. His compositions include works for orchestra, chamber groups, and solo clarinet as well as film scores, dance soundtracks, and electro-acoustic music.
Basel Rajoub, born in Aleppo, Syria, graduated from the Damascus High Institute of Music, where he studied European and Middle Eastern classical music as well as jazz. He performs widely as leader of the Basel Rajoub Quartet.
Jasser Haj Youssef, originally from Tunisia, currently lives in Paris, and performs both on violin and on the Baroque viola d’amore, whose resonant sympathetic strings are ideally suited to the modal melodic forms of Arabic music. Jasser is a consummate fusionist, as much at home in jazz as in classical music and Arab maqam.
Khaled Yassine is from Beirut and plays both Middle Eastern and Western percussion. He co-founded the Lebanese fusion band Fu Jan Shai, tours with Anouar Brahem, and is artistic director and producer of the Beirut-based CD label Edict Records.
Feras Shahrestane comes from the city of Al-Hasakeh, in northeast Syria, and studied qanun at the High Institute of Music in Damascus. He performs regularly as a qanun soloist with the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra and the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra as well as in the bands Roubai Toueis and Woujouh.
The New Sounds project was developed in collaboration with the Aga Khan Music Initiative, a program of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. The Music Initiative supports artists and artistic communities in the Middle East and North Africa, Central Asia, and South Asia that seek to reassemble and further develop diverse expressions of a shared musical heritage in contemporary forms. Working with partners and collaborators around the world, its performance, outreach, and production activities offer a broad platform for contemporary, tradition-inspired music. In parallel, it develops new models for community-based arts education that revitalize cultural heritage as a source of livelihood for musicians while promoting pluralism.