Directed by Scott Marcus, the UCSB Middle East Ensemble will present their annual winter concert on Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. in UCSB’s Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall. The ensemble will present a great variety of music and dance from throughout the Middle East. UCSB Persian music lecturer, Bahram Osqueezadeh, will lead the Ensemble in a Kurdish song and a Persian instrumental composition and Temmo Korisheli will perform two classic Arab songs including in-Nahr al-Khalid by Muhammad ‘Abd al-Wahhab. The group will also present an extended set of Sabah Fakhri songs from Aleppo, Syria; two songs by the Lebanese superstar, Fairuz, featuring vocalist Gabriela Quintana-García; and two songs by the beloved Greek singer Roza Eskenazy, featuring vocalist Melanie Hutton. Three instrumental soloists will also be featured: Gus Novak on drum, Brandon Langford on nay (flute), and Ben Seilhamer on oud (lute).
As always, the Ensemble's Dance Company will perform a wonderful variety of dances, including dances from Kuwaiti/Gulf, Lebanese, Persian, and Turkish cultures, with choreographies by Cris! Basimah, Laurel Victoria Gray, and Alexandra King.
Scott Marcus, Founder & Director; Sue Rudnicki, Director of the Ensemble’s percussion section; Cris! Basimah, Director of the Ensemble’s Dance Company; and Special Guests Bahram Osqueezadeh (Director of a Persian/Kurdish set) and Temmo Korisheli, solo vocalist.
About the UCSB Middle East Ensemble
The UCSB Middle East Ensemble is an official "Ethnomusicology Performance Ensemble" in the Department of Music at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Begun in 1989 by ethnomusicology professor Scott Marcus, the Ensemble has performed widely throughout California, including concerts in San Diego, L.A., Pomona, San Bernadino, Pasadena, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Berkeley, and Sacramento. Quarterly concerts at UCSB's 486-seat Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall are regularly "sold out" events.
The ensemble's repertoire reflects the great variety of cultures found in the Middle East. The ensemble performs music and dance from Arab, Turkish, Persian, Armenian, Greek, Jewish, and even Assyrian cultures. Performance items range from classical pieces to religious songs, folk and popular songs, folk dances, and cabaret-style dances.
The ensemble performs on traditional instruments such as the pan-Middle Eastern short-necked lute (the `ud), the Turkish long-necked lute (the baglama saz) the end-blown reed flute (the nay), the Persian hammered dulcimer (the santur), the Arab/Turkish plucked dulcimer (qanun or kanun), the Egyptian spiked fiddle (the rabab), the Turkish and Egyptian oboes (the zurna and mizmar), and a variety of Middle Eastern drums (the darbukkah, riqq, bendir, mazhar, tabl baladi, and zarb). In addition, the Ensemble uses the accordion (retuned to accomodate Middle Eastern scales), the violin, cello, double bass, and on occasion, the guitar and saxophone.