Artists from Yo-Yo Ma’s Silkroad Ensemble Offer Powerful Reflection on the Syrian Crisis

March 27th, 2017 by 


Photo by: Jill Steinberg

Arts Transcending Borders (ATB) at the College of the Holy Cross presents “Home Within,” an onstage collaboration between Syrian clarinetist and composer Kinan Azmeh, and Syrian-Armenian visual artist Kevork Mourad on Tuesday, April 4, 8 p.m. in Seelos Theatre. The audience is invited to a “Meet the Artists” reception in the Seelos Theatre lobby following the performance.

The performance is free and open to the general public. Space is limited, and reservations are recommended.

The hour-long audio‐visual performance features live illustration by Mourad and solo clarinet over prerecorded tracks performed by Azmeh. In this work, art and music develop in counterpoint to each other, creating an impressionistic reflection on the Syrian revolution and its aftermath. Rather than following a narrative, the artists document specific moments in Syria’s recent history and reach into their emotional content in a semi‐abstract way.

The artists will be in residence at the College from April 3-5, 2017. As part of the residency, a screening of “The Music of Strangers,” a 2015 documentary about Yo-Yo Ma’s Silkroad Ensemble, will take place on Monday, April 3 at 7 p.m., followed by a Q&A with the artists, moderated by Osvaldo Golijov, Loyola Professor of Music at Holy Cross, who is also featured in the documentary. In addition to workshops and class visits at the College, the artists will visit Burncoat High School on April 5 to work with visual arts and music students at the school.

For more information, visit the Arts Transcending Borders website or call 508-793-3835.

About the Artists

Trained in his native Damascus and a graduate of New York’s Juilliard School and the City University of New York, clarinetist Kinan Azmeh has won international acclaim as a composer, performer, improviser, and recording artist in a wide range of musical genres. His discography includes three albums with his ensemble HEWAR; soundtracks for film and dance; a duo album with pianist Dinuk Wijeratne; and an album with his New York Arabic/Jazz quartet. Azmeh also champions the contemporary music of Syria as artistic director of the Damascus Festival Chamber Music Ensemble. Azmeh is a member of Yo‐Yo Ma’s Silkroad Ensemble.

Kevork Mourad was born in Kamechli, Syria. Of Armenian descent, he received his MFA from the Yerevan Institute of Fine Arts and now lives and works in New York. He is represented by the Claude Lemand Gallery in Paris and the Rafia Gallery in Dubai. His past and current projects include: the Cirène project with members of Brooklyn Rider at the Metropolitan Museum; the multi‐media play “Lost Spring” (2015) with Anaïs Alexandra Tekerian at the MuCEM; “Gilgamesh” (2003) and “Home Within” (2013) with Kinan Azmeh in Damascus and at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, among others; performances with the Silk Road Ensemble at the Nara Museum, Japan, and the Rubin Museum of Art; Lembit Beecher’s “I Have No Stories to Tell You” commissioned by Opera Philadelphia; “Master Peter’s Puppet Show” (2015) with The Knights at Tanglewood; and “Barbed Wire” (2015) with Issam Rafea, commissioned by The Space, UK.

About Arts Transcending Borders

The College’s ATB initiative, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is designed to enhance the role of the arts in every aspect of the Holy Cross experience by infusing the arts into students’ academic lives and creating new opportunities throughout the curriculum and the community to cross cultural, geographic, and disciplinary boundaries. Previous artists-in-residence include environmental artist Patrick Dougherty who created one of his signature Stickwork sculptures on campus with the help of over 300 volunteers in Fall 2016; Troika Ranch, an internationally renowned ensemble that fuses dance, theatre and technology during the Fall of 2015, and Cristina Pato, Galician bagpiper, pianist, and composer, who was in residence on campus during Fall 2014. “SPEAK,” along with the other events scheduled for the Spring ’17 semester, explore this year’s theme “Borders: Tension/Possibility.” Previous performances under this year’s theme include the sold-out coffeehouse opera, “Othello in the Seraglio.”

For additional information, please contact College Marketing and Communications at 508-793-2419.

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