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Chinese Music Ensemble to perform Nov. 16, Middle Eastern Music Ensemble plays Nov. 18

November 10, 2011

Chinese Music Ensemble posterTwo NIU world music ensembles are preparing to give their annual concert performances next week in NIU’s School of Music.

Under the direction of Yung Hsin Chen, Chinese music artist-in-residence, members of the Chinese Music Ensemble will showcase authentic Chinese instruments in solo and ensemble settings at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16, in the Recital Hall of the NIU Music Building.

Most of the members, which include music majors and non-music majors, only began to learn and play these Chinese instruments this semester.

Wednesday’s concert will be in a semi-lecture format in which members of the group will not only play the instruments but also give brief introductions to them.

Through this presentation, the group hopes to increase audience interest in various musical instruments, classical and folk musical styles, and the traditional and modern performance practices of Chinese music.

Middle Eastern Music Ensemble posterDirected by two Syrian-born graduate students, Omar Al Musfi and Aboud Agha, the NIU Middle Eastern Music Ensemble will present a program of Pan-Arabic classical, folk and pop music.

The concert begins at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, in the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall.

Members of the ensemble, all NIU music majors, sing and play instruments including the violin, viola, cello, double bass, clarinet, flute, piano and assorted Middle Eastern drums.

The concert also features appearances of Dima Orsho (soprano), Majed Ajamia (qanun, zither) and University of Chicago Middle Eastern Music Ensemble Director Wanees Zarour (buzuq, lute), all internationally renowned artists in Pan-Arabic music. These guest artists will not only play with the NIU student group but also perform a set of classical, folk and pop Arabic music as a small ensemble.

This is the third full-length concert since 2010 to celebrate Pan-Arabic music traditions. The musicians hope to increase audience interest in both the musical and cultural traditions of the Middle East.

Bashar Barazi, host and executive producer of the NPR Middle Eastern music show Radio Maqam, will attend the concert to interview Omar Almusif, one of the graduate students who directs the ensemble. Barazi also will talk to some of the NIU students about their experience learning the Pan Arabic music at NIU and will play some of the music performed Friday on his show.

Both concerts are free and open to all. For more information, contact Jui-Ching Wang at (815) 753-7979 or [email protected].