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Arab Music Ensemble

The Arab Music Ensemble’s three main contrasting shows of the season present diverse programs of classic and contemporary music and dance. Focusing on the Eastern Mediterranean and extending to historically interconnected cultures of the larger region, the concerts feature instrumental and vocal repertoire both composed and improvised. Tracing from the Middle Ages to the present, the selections include some of the oldest continuously performed art music in the world and the most popular pieces in the repertoire. Critically acclaimed guest artists enhance the performances with their expertise, and beautifully costumed dancers put the songs and music into exciting and graceful motion.

Cal Poly Parent and Family Weekend Ensemble Showcase Concert

Friday, Oct. 24, 2014
8 p.m., Harman Hall, Performing Arts Center

Featuring the Arab Music Ensemble, Choirs, Jazz Band, Symphony and Wind Ensemble.

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Arab Music Ensemble musicianCal Poly Arab Music Ensemble Fall Concert

Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014
8 p.m., Harman Hall, Performing Arts Center

The Cal Poly Arab Music Ensemble will be joined by the Zaryab Ensemble, Ballet Theatre San Luis Obispo, and other guest artists during its Fall Concert.

The program will feature music and dance from Egypt, Lebanon, Iran and the extended region. It will include celebrated traditional and contemporary Arabic music made famous by composers and performers such as Abdel-Halim Hafez and Sayyid Darwish of Egypt and Fairouz, the Rahbani Brothers, and Ziad Rahbani of Lebanon. There will also be a favorite Ladino folksong rooted in the Andalusian traditions of southern Spain and classical and folk dancing.

A highlight of the show will be an extended set of Iranian music and dance performed by the Zaryab Ensemble from the San Francisco Bay Area. Neema Hekmat leads the group and plays santur, the Persian hammered dulcimer; Amir Abbas Etemadzadeh sings and plays percussion; and Aydin Kiasat plays kamanche, the Persian spike fiddle. Hannah Romanowsky, a dancer whose reputation spans from North America to Europe and Asia, will dance with the group. Classically trained as a dancer and educator, she specializes in dance from Iran, Central Asia, and the larger region.

Critically acclaimed guest artists will include longtime favorite Adel Iskander Guirguis performing a medley of classics by iconic artists of Egyptian art and popular song, including Mohamed Abdel-Wahab and Umm Kulthum.

Keeth CrowHawk, who will perform an original composition on riqq, the Arabic tambourine, will lead the percussion section.

Arab Music Ensemble dance directors Saundra Sarrouf and Jenna Mitchell will lead their troupe in a famous piece from classic Egyptian cinema and in a Gilani folk dance from northern Iran.

Ballet Theatre San Luis Obispo, under the direction of Theresa Slobodnik, will perform to music by the Cal Poly Arab Ensemble and the Zaryab Ensemble. Slobodnik, a former principal dancer for Gilbert Reed Ballet, founded the Ballet Theatre in 2006 to bring classical ballet and contemporary dance to the Central Coast.

Music Department faculty member Ken Habib directs the 35-member Arab Music Ensemble. He is a composer and performer with a doctorate in ethnomusicology. Two of Habib's original compositions of Arabic art music and an original Persian art song by Hekmat will also be on the program.

Tickets ( $12 and 14 general, $9 and $12 seniors and students)




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Arab Music Ensemble performersCal Poly Arab Music Ensemble Winter Concert

Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015
8 p.m., Harman Hall, Performing Arts Center

Tickets ( $12 and 14 general, $9 and $12 seniors and students)




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Arab Music Ensemble musicians and dancers

Cal Poly Arab Music Ensemble Spring Concert

Saturday, May 23, 2015
8 p.m., Spanos Theatre

Tickets ( $12 general, $9 seniors and students)




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