Launching its new interdisciplinary program, Alwan for the Arts aims to re-imagine Arab
culture in New York
December 7th, 8pm, Alwan for the Arts, 16 Beaver St, New York City
Tickets: $20/$15 (students/seniors/Alwan members)
Doors open at 7:30pm
The Resonance Project begins the first week of December at Alwan for the Arts, a vibrant downtown hub for Middle Eastern arts and culture in New York. Partially funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Resonance Project is an innovative new program that invites members of Alwan’s core community of visual and performing artists to participate in a week of interdisciplinary improvisation, experimentation and creative inquiry. The week will culminate in a public performance at 8pm on Friday, December 7th.
Participants include: Filmmaker Tala Hadid, visual artist Kevork Mourad, performer, singer and playwright Anaïs Alexandra Tekerian, choreographer and dancer Carrie Ahern, poet Hala Alyan and musicians Zafer Tawil, Tarek Yamani, George Ziadeh and Kinan Azmeh.
With a year-round calendar of film screenings, concerts, literary readings and discussions in its loft space in Lower Manhattan, Alwan has been a hub of artistic activity and creative experimentation since its inception in 1998, nurturing and learning from a large family of artists and intellectuals who play an active role in shaping programs.
Resonance draws from this organic community and takes its inspiration from the notion of tarab, an open-ended, interactive musical encounter that transports performers and audience alike. Expanding this concept across disciplines, Resonance aims to disrupt standard forms of cultural consumption that generally occur in segregated settings unique to each genre—the concert hall, the movie theatre, the art gallery. Resonance is about creating connections for audiences between forms, ideas, moments and locations.
The 1971 poem, ‘A Grave for New York’, by Arab modernist poet Adonis is the week’s point of departure. In this seminal work, Adonis explores New York’s urban landscape with the incisive eye of an outsider attuned to the city’s seductive mythologies. He responds to its signs, disinterring lost histories that span eras and geographies. From Greenwich Village to Beirut, from Harlem to the Arab slave trade, Walt Whitman to Al-Niffari, Adonis teases out hidden connections and unexpected resonances.
The Resonance Project, likewise, is the first part of a multi-phase Alwan initiative to map out the intellectual and cultural affinities of its creative community, to engage in a critical exploration of its past and its place, and to imagine new possibilities for its future.
Carrie Ahern is an acclaimed independent dance and performance artist based in New York City. Many of her works involve unexpected interdisciplinary collaborations and research. In 2009, she presented Sensate, which began as a collaboration with Nietzsche scholars. She then performed this piece at Princeton University in conjunction with the Department of Music and at Columbia University through the Anthropology Department. Her work has since premiered across the globe. In addition to collaborating with artists across the mediums for performances and exhibitions, she has been a guest speaker at NYU for philosophy classes in Spectacle and has taught movement to actors at the University of Washington, master classes in improvisation at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and movement workshops for academics. http://www.carrieahern.com
Hala Alyan is a Palestinian-American poet living in Brooklyn. Her poetry has appeared in several journals, including Eclectica, The Dirty Napkin and The Journal. She was one of the ten winners of the 2012 Nazim Hikmet Poetry Festival Competition, held in North Carolina. Her first volume of poetry, ‘Atrium’ was published by Three Rooms Press in May 2012. She is pursuing a doctoral degree in the field of psychology. http://halaalyan.com/
Syrian clarinetist and composer Kinan Azmeh is the first Arab to win first prize at the Nicolay Rubinstein international competition in Moscow (1997). A graduate of the Juilliard School in New York, the High Institute of Music and the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Damascus. He is currently working towards his music doctoral degree at the City University of New York. Kinan has appeared as soloist, composer and improviser worldwide including The Library of Congress, The Kennedy Center, Opera Bastille, Berlin’s Philharmonie, The Mozarteum, Carnegie Hall, UN’s
General Assembly and the Damascus Opera for its opening concert. He has shared the stage with artists such as Marcel Khalife, Francois Rabbath, Zakir Hussein and Daniel Barenboim. He is the artistic director of the Damascus Festival Chamber Players. http://www.kinanazmeh.com
Tala Hadid is a filmmaker who studied Fine Art and Philosophy at Brown University. In 1995, as she was graduating, she co-wrote and directed a feature documentary, “Sacred Poet,” on Pier Paolo Pasolini. In 2005 Hadid received her MFA in Film Directing from Columbia. Her prizewinning film, “Tes Cheveux Noirs Ihsan,” was screened at numerous film festivals and won awards including a Tiger Award at the Rotterdam Film Festival in 2006 and the Panorama Best Short Film Award at the Berlin Film Festival in 2006. She was a fellow of the Sundance Institute writers’ and directors’ lab 2009, and her work has also screened at, among other venues, the MoMA in New York City, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington D.C, L’Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, the Seville Biennale in Spain, Oxford University, and the Photographer’s Gallery in London.
Kevork Mourad is a visual artist who explores collaborations in which art and music develop in counterpoint to each other. He has pioneered a technique of spontaneous painting that involves sharing the stage with musicians to create visual and audio stories that unfold both as the musicians perform and as Mourad’s visual creations fill the space of the stage. Mourad, born in Kamechli, Syria, of Armenian origins, obtained his MFA from the Yerevan Institute of Fine Arts in Armenia. He has collaborated with Syrian clarinetist and composer Kinan Azmeh, as well as with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble among others. He has performed across New York and in Japan at the Nara Museum. His paintings have also been exhibited at the JK Gallery in Los Angles and the Rafia Gallery in Damascus. www.kevorkmourad.com
Zafer Tawil is an accomplished musician whose areas of expertise include the oud, violin, qanun and Arab percussion. Born in Jerusalem and based in New York City, Tawil has performed in concerts across the country, including with Sting and Elliot Sharpe, as well as with Arab musicians Cheb Mami, Simon Shaheen, Bassam Saba and George Ziadeh. He has worked on many collaborative projects and concerts that have explored Indian and Persian music as well as Arab and jazz fusion. Tawil performed in and composed music for director Jonathan Demme’s Oscar-nominated feature film Rachel Getting Married. Currently Tawil is composing and performing for Demme’s next film, Zeitoun, based on Dave Eggers’s nonfiction book chronicling the true story of Abdulrahman Zeitoun in a post-Katrina New Orleans. Additionally, Tawil has held workshops at institutions and universities across the United States.
Anaïs Alexandra Tekerian
Anaïs Alexandra Tekerian is an emerging performer, singer, and playwright living in New York City. Born in San Francisco, Tekerian studied theatre at Yale University where she sang with and directed the Yale Slavic Chorus. She co-founded Zulal, an Armenian a cappella folk trio, which has performed at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Symphony Space, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, among others. Her first play, Tangled Yarn, premiered at the New York International Fringe Festival in 2010, followed by Waterlogged in 2011. Tekerian is also a piano teacher.
Tarek Yamani is a New York-based, self-taught jazz pianist, and composer who was exposed to jazz around age nineteen. He was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, where he obtained a BS in Computer Science from the American University of Beirut. He received a BA in jazz Piano from the Prince Claus Conservatoire in the Netherlands before moving to New York City. In 2010, he won the grand prize of the Thelonious Monk Jazz Composer’s Competition for his composition “Sama’i Yamani,” and, in 2012, Yamani performed with renowned jazz musicians at the inauguration of the UNESCO International Jazz Day. Yamani has worked with on diverse projects: he has partnered with the pioneer Lebanese hip-hop band Aksser, collaborated with the directors Eva Bergman and Omar Rajeh on music for dance and theatre performance, cofounded Funjan Shai, a multi-style band, and given jazz workshops at international jazz meetings and festivals around the world. http://www.tarekyamani.com/
George Ziadeh was born in Birzeit, Palestine, and pursued music from a young age. In 1986 he moved to the United States, where he has studied oud with Simon Shaheen and classical singing and voice with Youssef Kassab. George is considered an authority on maqam theory and Arab classical repertoire.
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