The arts community across the country has been coming together in meaningful ways following the recent executive order restricting travel and immigration from certain countries. At the Seattle Symphony, we are inspired to add our voice, with the hope that we can bring together our community to celebrate the freedom of expression and open exchange of ideas which the arts have always stood for, especially in times of division and conflict.

We’ve invited our community to join us so that together we may experience the rich and diverse musical heritage of these countries, and the diverse communities who call our region home.

Program Information

ALIREZA MOTEVASELI — IRAN

Fantasia for Santoor and Accordion

PABLO RUS BROSETA, CONDUCTOR

ANJALI JOSHI, SANTOOR

MURL ALLEN SANDERS, ACCORDION

Alireza Motevaseli (b. 1992 in Tehran, Iran) is a composer, conductor and bassoonist who performs with the Tehran Symphony Orchestra.

Fantasia for Santoor and Accordion features the santoor, a type of hammered dulcimer with a long history in Persian and Indian music. A secondary solo part, written for accordion, provides a sound akin to the garmon, a related instrument commonly used in Russian music. Other melodies voiced for the four woodwinds in octaves echo the region’s ancient tradition of reed instruments.

GITY RAZAZ — IRAN

Metamorphosis of Narcissus

PABLO RUS BROSETA, CONDUCTOR

Gity Razaz (b. 1986 in Tehran, Iran) lives in New York and graduated from The Juilliard School. Her teacher, composer John Corigliano, said “… her Middle-Eastern roots have merged with her Western sensibilities to produce music that is both original and startling. She is on her way to becoming a major force in contemporary music.”

Gity Razaz shares: “[Metamorphosis of Narcissus] is a musical drama reflecting on the internal and psychological transformation of Narcissus, beginning with his obsessive self-infatuation, moving through his drowning in the pond that reflected his image, and ending with his rebirth as the narcissus flower.”

ALI OSMAN — SUDAN

Afromood

MAE LIN, VIOLIN

MATT DECKER, PERCUSSION

JOSEPH ADAM, PIANO

Ali Osman (b. 1958 in Omdurman, Sudan) is a Sudanese composer who currently resides in Egypt and teaches composition at the Cairo Conservatory. His master’s and Ph.D. specialized in traditional Sudanese and Arabic music.

Afromood is based on African rhythms and will be performed on violin, tambourine and piano.

RAHIM ALHAJ — IRAQ

Letters from Iraq

Last Time We Will Fly Birds

Fly Away

PABLO RUS BROSETA, CONDUCTOR

RAHIM ALHAJ, OUD

Rahim AlHaj (b. 1968 in Baghdad, Iraq) is a Grammy-nominated musician and composer who has lived in Jordan, Syria and Iraq, and currently resides in the U.S. In 1991, after the first Gulf War, AlHaj was forced to leave Iraq due to his political activism against the Saddam Hussein regime. In 2015 AlHaj was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship, the highest honor for traditional arts in the U.S.

His piece Letters from Iraq features the Oud, which is an Arabic instrument related to the mandolin or lute, and which will be played today by the composer.

Rahim AlHaj shares: “Letters from Iraq express the love and pain of lives lived by the people of war-torn Iraq and are based on the actual mailed letters transposed into gripping programmatic compositions. These pieces are of deep emotion and great beauty, melding mastery of Iraqi and Western classical genres alike to form something entirely new.”

POEM by 13th century Persian poet, Rumi:

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don't open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

TRADITIONAL — SOMALIA

"Ladaneey"

SAMATAR YARE, VOCALS

"Ladaneey" is a song that comes from the repertoire of a very popular Somalian disco/funk band called Dur-Dur Band. The soloist, Samatar Yare, is a native of Somalia who immigrated to Seattle in 2001. He is in demand throughout the Pacific Northwest at important Somali community events, including weddings and national celebrations and has a substantial online presence with almost a million YouTube followers worldwide.

"Ladaneey" courtesy of the Augsburg College Alumni Band directed by Robert Stacke. Transcription/Arrangement by Steve Herzog.

KINAN AZMEH — SYRIA

Suite for Improvisor and Orchestra

November 22nd

Wedding

LUDOVIC MORLOT, CONDUCTOR

KINAN AZMEH, CLARINET

Kinan Azmeh (b. 1976 in Syria) is a 2017 Grammy-nominated clarinetist and composer who has lived in New York since 2000 and is a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project. Last week he was uncertain as to whether he would be able to return to his Brooklyn home of 16 years after a concert tour in Europe and the Middle East, but luckily on Thursday he was admitted to the U.S. and we’re thrilled that he will be playing the clarinet solo at this performance.

Kinan Ahmez shares: “I try to blur the barrier between the composed and the improvised. The first movement November 22nd depicts a sort of a sonic homesickness while abroad, where one finds oneself missing the familiar surrounding sounds of childhood. The second movement Wedding tries to capture the mood found in a wedding party in a Syrian village. I would like to dedicate this movement to all the Syrians who managed to fall in love in the last six years in spite of all the suffering. Falling in love is probably one of the very few human rights that no authority can take away from you.”

SAMUEL WARD

“America the Beautiful”