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MaqamFest 2014 at Alwan

  • Alwan 16 Beaver St NY, NY (map)


Musical Performance: Third Annual Maqam Fest (Official Showcase of APAP Conference)

Fri, January 10, 2014 7:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

(View all musical performances »)


The Annual Showcase for the Association of Perfoming Arts Presenters (APAP) Conference, Co-Presented by the Center for Traditional Music and Dance (CTMD) and Alwan for the Arts


The Third Annual Maqam Fest features exceptional ensembles from New York and around the world that have a unique approach and perspective on maqam. Developed over millenia, maqam is a complex system of musical modes and represents one of the great legacies of the Arab-Islamic world, pervading the musical cultures from the Maghreb (Northwest Africa) to Western China, and from the Balkans to the Sudan. Maqam Fest articulates the tradition ofmaqam within an evolving world that musically constructs, connects and reconstructs convention.


Maqam Fest 2014 celebrates a line-up that pays tribute to this tradition featuring long-honored practices, explorations of historic ties between diverse musical styles and an examination of contemporary compositions and improvisations. This showcase is part of the Annual Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) Conference, one of the most anticipated events in the performing arts field, which brings thousands of presenters, agents, managers and artists in the fields of dance, theater and music from around the world to New York City each January. 




Eva Salina

Re-imagined Songs of Balkan Legends



Reflective rubab from Afghanistan


Sazet Band

High- Octane Romani Horns


Kinan Azmeh

Soaring clarinet improvisations over hypnotic grooves


Tarek Yamani

Afro-Tarab Jazz and Arab Intersections


Mitra Sumara

Farsi Funk of Pre-Revolutionary Iran


Alwan Ensemble

Vibrant Explorations of Arab Tradition




Advance: $30 General Admission | $25 for Students, Members and Seniors. BUY NOW*

(*A small online fee is applied - use printout as your ticket).

Free for APAP badge holders


Doors open at 6:45 pm



More on the Maqam Fest's 2014 Line-Up


The resident ensemble of Alwan for the Arts, the Alwan Ensemble delivers a joyful and transporting range of classical songs from the greater Arab World, built around textures of rhythmic and improvisational intensity. In the classical art music traditions of Cairo, Aleppo, and Baghdad—three important Arab cities with great legacies in art and culture—each has a unique repertory: the dawr and qasida of Cairo; the Andalucían muwashshahat of Aleppo; and al-maqam al-Iraqi of Baghdad; with distinct characteristics, rules, and aesthetics. Yet all adhere to the maqam and place great importance on poetry and the vocal melody sung either by a soloist or a chorus, and accompanied by ensembles of traditional instruments, including the oud (lute), qanun (zither), nay (flute), violin, santur (hammered dulcimer), riqq (tambourine), and tabla (goblet drum).

Six contemporary masters of a broad range of Arab musical idioms display their sensibilities and impressive technique across a diverse array of musical selections from regional folk songs to masterpieces of Egyptian cinema and Arab concert hall culture. The Alwan Ensemble’s performance evokes ambiances of Cairo, Baghdad, al-Quds and Aleppo, but more importantly that of contemporary New York with its own vibrant Arab American artistic and intellectual community.

George Ziadeh (oud, vocals) | Sami Abu Shumays (violin, vocals) | Zafer Tawil (qanun, violin, vocals, percussion) | Amir ElSaffar (santur, vocals) | Rami ElAasser Johnny Farraj (percussion)