October 23, 2015

Contact: Michele Abba

Cal Poly Arab Music Ensemble to Perform with Guest Artists Nov. 21

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The Cal Poly Arab Music Ensemble will be joined by the multi-award- winning Chookasian Armenian Folk Music Ensemble and by renowned Arabic violinist Adel Eskander in its Fall Concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, in Harman Hall in the Performing Arts Center.

The program will feature music and dance from Lebanon and Egypt and music from Armenia, Greece, and the extended region. Traditional and contemporary Arabic music will be featured and will include pieces made famous by Fairouz, the Rahbani Brothers, and Ziad Rahbani of Lebanon, and by the Mahmoud Reda Dance Troupe of Egypt.

The show will also feature a number of shared art-music genres from the Ottoman era and earlier, including the “muwashshah,” one of the oldest continuously performed art-music genres in the world, in a 14-beat metric mode. Performances of the introductory “dulab” and the more elaborate 10-beat “samai” genres will also be featured.

The Chookasian Armenian Folk Music Ensemble hails from the Fresno area and is led by John and Barbara Chookasian. The ensemble won first place in the Best Traditional Armenian Folk Music category at the 10th annual Armenian Music Awards for its “Passage to Armenia” CD in 2009. The ensemble was also presented the National Gold Medal Award by Armenian President Robert Kocharian on behalf of the Republic of Armenia in 1999.

Guest artist Eskander is a critically acclaimed violinist who has become a longtime favorite of Cal Poly Arab Music Ensemble performances. He has performed with many well-known artists in contemporary Arabic music and directs the Layali Zaman Orchestra in Los Angeles.

Arab Music Ensemble dance directors Jenna Mitchell and Saundra Sarrouf will lead their troupe in well-known Egyptian and Lebanese folk dances and provide an opportunity for audience participation in an example of the most celebrated of Eastern Mediterranean line dances, the “dabke.”

Performer, composer and Cal Poly Music Department faculty member Ken Habib will direct the 25-member Arab Music Ensemble. Habib holds a doctorate in ethnomusicology.

Tickets to the concert are $12 and $14 for the public and $9 and $12 for students. Pricing includes all Performing Arts Center fees, and event parking is sponsored by the PAC. Tickets are sold at the Cal Poly Ticket office between noon and 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. To order by phone, call SLO-4TIX (756-4849).

A 10 percent discount is given to patrons who buy season tickets to four Music Department events through the Cal Poly Ticket Office; a 15 percent discount is given on tickets to five or more events.

The concert is sponsored by Cal Poly's College of Liberal Arts, Music Department, and Instructionally Related Activities program. For more information, call the Music Department at 805-756-2406.

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