Hailed as a "virtuoso" who is "intensely soulful" by the New York Times and "spellbinding" by the New Yorker, Kinan's distinctive sound spans different musical genres and has gained him international recognition as a clarinetist and composer.
Kinan was recently named composer-in-residence with Classical Movements for the 2017-2018 season.
Kinan has been touring the world as soloist, composer and improviser. Notable appearances include: Opera Bastille, Paris; Tchaikovsky Grand Hall, Moscow; Carnegie Hall and the UN’s general assembly, New York; the Royal Albert Hall, London; Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires; der Philharmonie; Berlin; the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center, Washington DC; the Mozarteum, Salzburg, Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie and the Damascus Opera House for its opening concert in his native Syria.
He has appeared as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic, the Seattle Symphony, the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, the Qatar Philharmonic and the Syrian Symphony Orchestra among others, and he and has shared the stage with Yo-Yo Ma, Marcel Khalife, Aynur, Daniel Barenboim and Jivan Gasparian.
His compositions include several works for solo, orchestra, and chamber music, film, live illustration and electronics. His discography include three albums with his ensemble Hewar, several soundtracks for film and dance, a duo album with pianist Dinuk Wijeratne and an album with his New York Arabic/Jazz quartet the Kinan Azmeh CityBand. He serves as artistic director of the Damascus Festival Chamber Players, a pan-Arab ensemble dedicated to contemporary music form the Arab world. His is a frequent guest faculty at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music and is on the advisory board of the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra. He is also a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble with whom he was awarded a Grammy in 2017.
Kinan is a graduate of New York’s Juilliard school as a student of Charles Neidich, and of both the Damascus High institute of Music where he studied with Shukry Sahwki, Nicolay Viovanof and Anatoly Moratof, and Damascus University’s School of Electrical Engineering in his native Syria. Kinan earned his doctorate degree in music from the City University of New York in 2013.
The Sri Lankan-born, Canada-based composer-performer Dinuk Wijeratne has been described by the Toronto Star as ‘an artist who reflects a positive vision of our cultural future’, and by the New York Times as ‘exuberantly creative’. His boundary-crossing work sees him equally at home in collaborations with symphony orchestras and string quartets, tabla players and DJs, and takes him to international venues as poles apart as the Berlin Philharmonie and the North Sea Jazz Festival.
Dinuk’s 2016 highlights include JUNO and ECMA wins for his string quartet pieces Two Pop Songs on Antique Poems, and his appointment as Composer-in-Residence of Symphony Nova Scotia.
Dinuk made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2004 as a composer, conductor, and pianist, performing with Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. A second Carnegie appearance followed in 2009, alongside tabla legend Zakir Hussain. Dinuk has also appeared at the Kennedy Center (Washington DC), Opera Bastille (Paris), Lincoln Center (New York), Teatro Colón (Buenos Aires), Sri Lanka, Japan and across the Middle East.
Dinuk grew up in Dubai before taking up composition studies at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), Manchester, UK. In 2001, he was invited by Oscar-winning composer John Corigliano to join his studio at New York’s Juilliard School. Dinuk was also composition fellow at the 2002 Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan, and was appointed Artist-in-Residence by the Performing Arts Foundation at International House for the 2003/4 season. Conducting studies followed at New York’s Mannes College of Music.
Dinuk has composed specially for almost all of the artists and ensembles with whom he has performed; to name a few: Suzie LeBlanc, Bev Johnston, Tim Garland, John Dankworth, Nikki Iles, Julian Argüelles, Victor Mendoza, Buck 65, Skratch Bastid, Joseph Petric, Nick Halley, Ed Thigpen, Pandit Ramesh Misra, Adrian Spillett, David Jalbert, Kevork Mourad, Mayookh Bhaumik, Yolande Bavan, Christina Courtin, MIR, the Afiara & Cecelia String Quartets, the Apollo Saxophone Quartet, TorQ & 4-Mality Percussion Quartets, McGill Percussion Ensemble, the NY Kathak Ensemble, the New Juilliard Ensemble, Onelight Theatre, Symphony Nova Scotia, and the orchestras of Toronto, Illinois, Windsor, and KwaZulu Natal (South Africa). He continues his collaborative recitals of entirely original works with acclaimed clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, based on their duo album entitled ‘Complex Stories, Simple Sounds’.
A passionate educator, Dinuk has lectured at the universities of Dalhousie, Acadia and Saskatchewan, and is celebrating his tenth season as Music Director of the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra. He has conducted the orchestras of the National Arts Centre, Thunder Bay, PEI, Scotia Festival Orchestra, and appeared numerous times with Symphony Nova Scotia during his 3-year appointment as Conductor-in-Residence. He is the recipient of the Canada Council Jean-Marie Beaudet award for orchestral conducting; the NS Established Artist Award; NS Masterworks nominations for his Tabla Concerto and piano trio Love Triangle; double Merritt Award nominations; Juilliard, Mannes & Countess of Munster scholarships; the Sema Jazz Improvisation Prize; the Soroptimist International Award for Composer-Conductors; and the Sir John Manduell Prize – the RNCM’s highest student honor. His music and collaborative work embrace the great diversity of his international background and influences.