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Simon Shaheen and his ensemble
Simon Shaheen dazzles his listeners as he deftly leaps from traditional Arabic sounds to jazz and Western classical styles. His soaring technique, melodic ingenuity, and unparalleled grace have earned him international acclaim as a virtuoso on the 'oud and violin.
Praised by critics for her lush sound and powerful expression, soprano Christine Moore has performed opera and concert throughout the U.S. and Europe, including Mimi in La BohÃ¨me with the Leipzig Opera, MicaÃ«la in Carmen with the Sacramento Opera, Madama Butterfly with the Central City Opera, Suor Angelica with Chautauqua, among others. Orchestral performances include Barber's Knoxville-Summer of 1915, the Requiems of Mozart, FaurÃ©, Brahms and Verdi, Handel's Messiah, Beethoven's 9th Symphony, and Mendelssohn's Elijah. A champion of new works, she made her Merkin Hall debut in 2000 in the NY premiere of Richard Thompson's work The Shadow of Dawn, and her U.K. concert debut in 2005 in SchÃ¶nberg's Pierrot Lunaire in Paxton, Scotland. In 2006 she released a CD, Arias, with the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra. Current projects include the role of Alice Dunbar in a world premiere opera based on African-American poet Paul Dunbar, and a recording, From AndalucÃa to the Americas-An Odyssey of Spanish Song, tracing the roots of classical Spanish song from its arabo-moorish and flamenco ancestors of "Al Andalus."
Salma began her musical career at the age of seven singing and dancing on stage. She hosted a TV show for children in Palestine for five years and a daily radio show for seven years while performing on stage, singing, dancing, and acting for adults and children. World-renowned composer/musician Simon Shaheen says Salma is "...a vocalist with an extensive understanding of the clasical & traditional Arabic music repertoire." She holds a B.A. in English Language and Literature and Education. Today, Salma is finishing her Master's degree in Clinical Psychology, and hosting a show on ART America for Arab-Americans entitled "Min America."
Described as a "virtuoso" by the New York Times, Kinan Azmeh is one of Syria's rising stars, the first Arab to win First Prize at the Nicolay Rubinstein International Competition in Moscow (1997). He has appeared worldwide as soloist and composer, including appearances with Paris' Opera Bastille, Moscow's Tchaikovsky Grand Hall, Carnegie and Alice Tully Halls, London's Royal Albert Hall, Teatro ColÃ³n in Buenos Aires, Berlin's Philharmonie Hall, Kennedy Center in Washington DC and the Damascus Opera House for its opening concert. He has played under such conductors as Daniel Barenboim, Solhi al-Wadi, and Roger Norrington, and with such artists as Marcel Khalife, Mari Kimura, Francois Rabbath, Elliott Sharp, Katia Tchemberdji, among others. He has composed film, live visual arts, solo, orchestral, chamber and electronic works, and has recorded two albums with his ensemble HEWAR, as well as film and dance soundtracks. A graduate of Juilliard and the High Institute of Music in Damascus, Kinan is a doctoral candidate at CUNY, studying with Charles Neidich. He is the artistic director of the Damascus Festival Chamber Music Ensemble.