St Urban Presents World Premiere at SubCulture Tonight
St Urban, an intimate and innovative chamber music series, will premiere the second in its series of commissioned works tonight, May 9th at 7:30pm at SubCulture. This year's concert features "Songs for Days To Come," a piece composed by Kinan Azmeh and set to texts by Syrian poets living in exile.
"Songs for Days to Come" is a lyrical and haunting work by a composer struggling with the tragedy of his war-ravaged homeland.
"My music cannot stop a bullet, nor can it feed the hungry or rebuild a home, but I do hope that it can inspire individuals and organizations and possibly the world community to act," says Kinan Azmeh, who serves as a spokesman for UN Humanitarian Campaign, #WhatDoesItTake. Azmeh, who is well-known as a clarinetist, brings his music to Syrian children in Jordanian refugee camps, even as he tours with Yo-Yo Ma and Silk Road, and pursues his own jazz and classical projects throughout the world.
The May 9th concert will feature performances by Dima Orsho, soprano; Yevgeny Kutik, violinist; Nicholas Canellakis, cellist; Kinan Azmeh, clarinetist; and St Urban's Artistic Director Lenore Davis, piano. Andrew Byrne, Artistic Director of Symphony Space, will moderate an informal discussion with the composer and performers, immediately following the performance.
St Urban's 2015 concert season began in February with three intimate salons in the iconic St Urban building on the Upper West side of Manhattan. Artistic Director and pianist Lenore Davis presents eclectic repertoire and brings listeners and musicians into a dialogue on musical ideas and inspirations. As part of the chamber music experience, St Urban commissioned signature chocolates inspired by the music and confected by chocolate artist Misty Gonzalez at each of the salons.
"While typical concert experiences are directed outward - from onstage performers to a passive audience, St Urban invites listeners to interact with musicians before and after each work," said Lenore Davis. "It's a privilege to take listeners on a deeper musical journey, and I was thrilled to close out the 2015 salon season with three sold-out concerts. Kinan's work is the next journey for audience and performers: his style meshes classical form, middle-eastern modes and rhythms and an improvisatory sensibility."
This year, St Urban focused concerts and conversations on poetry in song cycles and the instrumental music they inspire. World-class performers presented classic works of Brahms, Schubert, Debussy, Ravel, alongside new works of exciting contemporary composers like Gordon Beeferman. The premiere of Azmeh's work at SubCulture continues the exploration of the relationship between poet and composer, text and song.
Other works on the May 9 SubCulture program include: Robert Schumann's Volkston, Op. 102 for cello and piano; Aram Khachadurian's Trio for clarinet, violin and piano; Gaswan Zerikly's Arabic Lieder for soprano and piano, and Kinan Azmeh's Songs for Days to Come.