Musicians For Harmony Marks 6th Anniversary of War in Iraq with ‘Concert for Peace’ on March 20th
Music of Syria, with Superstar Kinan Azmeh, is Featured at M4H’s First-Ever Mid-Year Concert
On March 20th, Musicians For Harmony will present their first-ever mid-year concert, with a performance of Middle Eastern music by The Kinan Azmeh Quartet.
Kinan Azmeh, a Juilliard-trained clarinetist, was born in Syria and performs classical, jazz and traditional Syrian music. The New York Times said his electrifying appearance at Musicians For Harmony’s 9/11/08 Concert For Peace was “the highlight of the evening,” and described him as a “virtuoso.” Commenting on one of Azmeh’s original compositions, journalist Vivien Schweitzer characterized it as follows: “a resigned clarinet melody tentatively rises above an anxious orchestral tapestry before breaking out into a victorious rhapsody.” In The Strad Magazine, reviewer Tony Finley praised the “series of lively and upbeat Middle-Eastern-influenced jazz pieces,” played by Azmeh on 9/11.
Kinan Azmeh’s music is a bright light in Syria, a poor country with high unemployment, which has taken in over a million refugees over the past six years of war in neighboring countries. His father, Bashar Azmeh, uses music as a cultural bridge as well, organizing benefit concerts and other orchestral events as part of his non-profit Echo program.
Musicians For Harmony’s upcoming March 20th event, part of the ‘Day For Peace’ ceremonies at Saint Peter’s Church in New York City, will benefit the Iraqi Student Project. The ‘Day For Peace’ marks the 6th Anniversary of the war in Iraq with a combination of poetry, prayer and music. All details follow below.
The March 20th concert is a co-presentation of Musicians For Harmony, Saint Peter's Church and the Midtown Arts Common, to benefit the Iraqi Student Project (ISP). The performance will also feature a special appearance by Iraqi pianist Karam Salem, one of the students sponsored by ISP to attend to attend a college in the U.S. (University of Indiana, South Bend).
Musicians For Harmony’s commitment to cultural and educational work with Iraq continues to reap tangible results, and the March 20th concert reflects the growing success of M4H founder Allegra Klein’s organization. Established shortly after September 11, 2001, Musicians For Harmony has earned significant and growing attention for its charitable efforts in the years since. Each fall, they present a commemorative ‘Concert For Peace’ in New York City featuring internationally renowned classical and world music artists.
More about the Iraqi Student Project: The Iraqi Student Project is a grass-roots effort to help young people who have studied in Iraq acquire the education they need to participate in rebuilding their nation. To this end, ISP seeks the help of American colleges to offer these students that which the United States does very well: access to excellent undergraduate education. ISP works with community leaders (in churches, mosques and other local organizations) to provide the support of every kind that these students will need during their college years. ISP is working in the Middle East to find, without favoritism of any kind, qualified students, those who still have residence in Iraq and those who have had to seek refuge elsewhere, who would not otherwise be able to complete their undergraduate degrees. Visit www.iraqistudentproject.org for more details.
More About M4H Founder Allegra Klein: Allegra Klein traveled to Baghdad in 2003 to bring musical instruments and supplies to the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra, and returned to northern Iraq in 2007 to teach for the first-ever Iraqi Unity Performing Arts Academy. Her articles about these trips were published in Strings and Symphony magazines, and her cross-cultural work has also been profiled in the New York Sun, the New York Daily News, and Chamber Music magazine. Ms. Klein is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Global Affairs at New York University and was recently invited to write an article for the Cultural Diplomacy Institute’s online publication, Cultural Diplomacy News. More here: http://musicians4harmony.org/mfhbios.html .
Other M4H Educational Initiatives: Proceeds from last year's 9/11 concert went towards funding Musicians For Harmony's educational program in Brooklyn. Music of the World Workshops is an after-school program on world music instruments and their related cultures that targets middle- and upper-school students in NYC inner city schools. This initiative is made possible in part through a collaboration with the Brooklyn College Community Partnership. Additionally, in an indication of its growing stature, Musicians For Harmony was recently awarded its second grant to help fund this program from New York City's Department of Cultural Affairs, representing an increase of nearly 50% over last year's award. They have also received funding from UNESCO to expand the Mentorship Program, which uses distance learning to offer music lessons via Skype to students in Baghdad.
Day for Peace Friday, March 20, 2009 at Saint Peter’s Church Lexington Avenue at 54th Street
Poetry for Peace – 12:45 until 1:45 PM Performances and readings by members of the theatre community.
Prayer for Peace – 1:45 until 5:00 PM A vigil for all those afflicted by wars and rumors of wars.
Music for Peace – 7:30 PM The Kinan Azmeh Quartet in a concert of Middle Eastern music to benefit the Iraqi Student Project.
First two events are free. Concert tickets, $25 (general admission) and $100 (premium seating), are available at iraqistudentproject.org
For more information contact Seth Cohen PR.