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The World Music Institute Presents RICHARD HAGOPIAN and STRINGS OF THE BLACK SEA, 4/13 and 5/7

Featuring an array of sounds and stories from the Black Sea region of Europe, World Music Institute concludes its intimate Global Salon series this season with Armenian oudist Richard Hagopian on Sunday, April 13, and Strings of the Black Sea onWednesday, May 7. Both performances take place at 7:00 p.m. at the Thalia Theater at Symphony Space (2537 Broadway at 95th street) and promise to bring lively rhythms and haunting lyricism to the stage.

Tickets for all World Music Institute events are available for purchase online, by calling (212) 545-7536, or in person at the WMI Box Office at 101 Lafayette Street, #801. Student and group discounts are available, as are VIP tickets for select events.

Discounts are also available for WMI Friends with memberships starting at $70. WMI Friends enjoy priority seating throughout the season.

National Heritage Award Winner, Armenian oudist Richard Hagopian brings his hugely diverse repertoire to the Thalia Theater for an intimate performance of classical and folk music from the Middle East. Hagopian is a widely renowned interpreter of traditional Armenian dance music, where it is not unusual for hundreds of dancers to participate in the music.

Hagopian has collected - and, in turn, passed down - these traditional songs by way of oral tradition. In much the same way, he will relate stories from his multifaceted career throughout this concert, from performing in Hollywood, to the Las Vegas Cleopatra Revue and traditional Armenian dances (kefs) where he is called to play Armenian folk dances. Paying tribute to two of his long-time friends and colleagues, oudists Chick Ganimian and George Mgrditchian, Hagopain discusses their unique contributions to the New York Middle Eastern music scene and will perform some of the songs they made popular.

Hagopian's World Music Institute appearance is a chance to hear a large-stage artist in the ambience of an intimate, acoustic concert space, with a question and answer period for audience members to take part in discussion. This is a must for anyone interested in music of the Middle East, Belly Dance and folk music.

A crossroads between Europe and Asia, the Black Sea has always seen great waves of mercantile and cultural exchange. This has historically proven both beneficial and destructive to the region, enjoying a culturally vibrant heritage alongside centuries of violent conflict. Musically, the coastal populations along the Black Sea share a great deal in common, using instruments such as the bottle-shaped kemenche fiddle, the dronelesstulum bagpipes, and the zurna, a reeded woodwind. Featuring four of today's prominent practitioners of this musical heritage, Strings of the Black Sea celebrates the cultural diversity and diffusion within New York City by exploring its parallels to the communities of the Black Sea region.

Showcasing three string instrument traditions, this performance features Nariman Asanov on Crimean Tatar violin, the Turkish kanun player Tamer Pinarbasi playing several bowed and plucked instruments including one with 78 strings, and Christos Tiktapanidis on the Pontic lyra (a vertically held, three-stringed rebec). AccordionistPatric Farrell joins the master string players for this WMI concert.

Global Salon

WMI's Global Salon series takes place in the 168-seat Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater at Symphony Space, providing an informal and intimate setting for a great diversity of traditional music. Concluding its second season, Global Salon continues to feature brilliant artists who not only perform, but also engage the audience with cultural histories and personal stories.

World Music Institute

World Music Institute is a not-for-profit concert presenting organization founded in 1985 and dedicated to the presentation of the finest in traditional and contemporary music and dance from around the world.

WMI encourages cultural exchange between nations and ethnic groups and collaborates with community organizations and academic institutions in fostering greater understanding of the world's cultural traditions. WMI works extensively with community groups and organizations including Indian, Iranian, Chinese, Korean, Middle Eastern, Latin American, Hungarian, Irish, and Central Asian. This has enabled it to be at the forefront of planning and presenting the finest ensembles from these countries.

WMI presents a full season of concerts each year in New York City, and arranges national tours by visiting musicians from abroad, as well as US-based artists. WMI's accomplishments and expertise in its field are recognized by major institutions throughout the US and internationally.

WMI has brought many musical, dance and ritual traditions to the New York stage for the first time, including Laotian sung poetry, folk music of Khorason and Bushehr (Iran), songs of the Yemenite Jews, Bardic divas of Central Asia, trance ceremonies from Morocco, music from Madagascar, and Theyyams (masked dances) of Kerala, South India. Many artists have been given their U.S. or New York debuts by WMI.

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