Takht al-Nagham, the performing ensemble of the Syrian Music Preservation Initiative, is committed to playing the Syrian classical and folk repertoire that is rarely heard in the US. This acclaimed New York-based ensemble features the sound of a traditional takht (Arab chamber music group). Directed by violinist and founder Samer Ali, who grew up and studied violin in Syria, Takht al-Nagham includes the celebrated award-winning Damascus-born soprano Lubana al-Quntar, Brian Prunka (oud – lute), Marissa Arciola (double bass), Nezih Antakli (percussion), and a chorus (Zahra AlZubaidi, Marwa Morgan, Erik Jonsson). Their program features Isqi al-‘Itash (Quench the Thirsty), a masterpiece of classical Arab music that is the oldest work in the Syrian repertoire. The piece, an eloquent appeal to the Almighty during the 1776 Aleppo drought, had nearly disappeared from the annals of music until the efforts of Syrian violinist Tawfiq al-Sabbagh brought it back into recognition by recording it at Aleppo Radio. In the 1960s, vocalist Sabah Fakhri’s legendary recording secured its position as one of the Arab world’s most beloved works. The program also consists of gems from Syria never before heard on the American stage, including works composed specifically for this concert.
Please note: this performance will be in person only and will not be live streamed.
This performance is a co-production between Robert Browning Associates and Roulette. It is supported by Chamber Music America’s Artistic Project funded through the generosity of the Howard Gilman Foundation.