A Middle East “immersion course” for UCLA music students

Nazarian Center co-sponsors groundbreaking program promoting cross-cultural understanding through music

On December 3-8, hundreds of UCLA music students will take part in a major collaborative project bringing together Jewish and Arab, American and Israeli musicians and composers. Acclaimed Arab-American composer Mohammed Fairouz, virtuoso clarinetist David Krakauer, esteemed Israeli composer Betty Olivero, Israeli Arab oud soloist Thaer Bader, and experimental vocalist Odeya Nini will be in residence at UCLA leading master classes, spearheading concerts and participating in university-wide panels.

Work began months ago with rehearsals of works by Fairouz and Olivero, as well as Israeli composer Tsippi Fleischer and UCLA faculty member David Lefkowitz, to be performed in a chamber music concert on December 5 and final orchestral and choral concert at Royce Hall on Decebmer 8. The Royce Hall program includes the west coast premiere of two of Mohammend Fairouz’s recent compositions:  “Tahrir” (2011), a clarinet concerto written for David Krakauer incorporating maqam and klezmer; and Symphony No. 3 (“Poems and Prayers”) (2010) for mezzo-soprano and baritone soloists, chorus and orchestra -- a work which interweaves Jewish sacred texts (Kaddish, Oseh Shalom) and contemporary poetry by Middle Eastern literary giants Yehuda Amichai, Mahmoud Darwish and Fadwa Tuqan. 

Nazarian Center post-doctoral fellow Dvir Tzur and graduate student Shir Alon spoke to the choral students about the Israeli and Palestinian poetry to give them a deeper understanding of the works that they will be performing.

The Center is proud to join with the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music and others in sponsoring "Listening to the Other: Mideast Musical Dialogues". The project was the brainchild of adjunct professor of Jewish and Israeli music, Neal Brostoff, working closing with UCLA professor and orchestral director Neal Stulberg.  

A recent article in the Jewish Journal describes how the project came together and previews the concerts: http://www.jewishjournal.com/holiday_preview/article/magical_music_of_the_middle_east

For more information and tickets visit www.listeningtotheother.org

Water in the middle east and africa: A nexus of cooperation and conflict