June 11-19 2019
   ​​"Bridging Cultures Through Music"​​​

Featuring classical, jazz, blues, folk music and offering additional masterclasses,
discussions and workshops presented by artists from around the world.
Our Why
Please listen to why we feel it is important to bridge cultures through music.

Featured Artist

Azmeh has been playing clarinet for more than three decades, studying in his native Damascus, Syria, and then in New York City (graduate work at Juilliard, doctorate from the City University of New York). He's also scored films and contributed to multidisciplinary projects (like his audiovisual performances with Syrian American artist Kevork Mourad) and toured with a range of artists, most notably Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble.

Kinan Azmeh

There is something captivating and mysterious about the timbre of a clarinet. It's like the gazelle of woodwinds, supple and graceful, its sonic quality more subdued than its brassy siblings, yet more rich and distinctive.
In the hands of Kinan Azmeh, the clarinet becomes even more hypnotic. The soloist and composer generally works within a classical, jazz, and Arabic musical framework, crossing and melding qualities, incorporating new elements and influences (like Indian rhythmic structures) as he goes.

He'd rather not be categorized, however, because he doesn't believe the lines between genres actually exist. "In all my work, I've tried to promote the idea that music is a continuum," he says. The vocabulary used to describe music varies from culture to culture, he explains, but at its heart, music is just a means of expressing ideas or emotions that are too complex to convey with words.
There is one consistent element in most of what he does: "I love confusing people, myself included, about what is composed and what is improvised. It comes from my belief that some of the best composed music is music that sounds really spontaneous and feels natural, as if it is improvised, and some of the best improvisations are the ones that sound structured and have a clear form, as if they were composed."

He says improvisation is something that was missing in his academic training. "But it's the thing that I actually enjoy doing the most in my life as a professional musician." It's not a new notion. "We know Mozart as a composer, and also we know that he played several instruments and he conducted and everything, but people forget to mention that he was an improviser, too. And for me, it's something that is important to remember, that this has always been the tradition."