2017/2018 Residencies – Art of the Duo

Art of the Duo, Kinan Azmeh & Dinuk Wijeratne        Learn more: kinanazmeh.com/theartoftheduo/

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Dates Available
 Ages  Area(s) of expertise
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Art of the Duo May 20-22 2018 All ages, plus workshops for high school & adults music performance, composition, music coaching/conducting
  • music performance 
  • Middle Eastern and South Asian lecture-demonstration
  • teacher workshop

Internationally acclaimed Syrian clarinetist/composer Kinan Azmeh and Sri Lankan-born pianist/composer Dinuk Wijeratne are visiting our region to work with community members and perform their "The Art of the Duo" concert. Described as a "winning performance" by the Daily Star, The Art of the Duo fuses elements of Arabic and south-east Asian vocabulary with classical and jazz music idioms to create a new sonic world that the legendary Marcel Khalife called "wings of breath". 

This multicultural residency offers a chance for all ages to experience improvisation and Middle Eastern and South Asian musical styles in the hands of extraordinarily accomplished musicians Azmeh and Wijeratne. Workshops are available for music educators and high school musicians. The duo will also offer master classes and workshops focusing on collaboration, improvisation, and creative music-making at Plymouth State University for college students and musicians.

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About Kinan Azmeh:

Hailed as a "virtuoso" who is "intensely soulful" by the New York Times and "spellbinding" by the New Yorker, Kinan Azmeh'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, where notable appearances have included Opera Bastille, Paris; Tchaikovsky Grand Hall, Moscow; The Kennedy Center, Washington and the Damascus Opera House for its opening concert in his native Syria. He has shared the stage with Yo-Yo Ma, Marcel Khalife and more. 

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.

Dinuk Wijeratne:

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. He is a passionate educator, who works across Canada and the U.S. as a conductor and lecturer. 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.