M4H Founder Allegra Klein Embraces Life in Iraq
Musicians For Harmony will commemorate the tenth anniversary of September 11th with its most significant 'Concert For Peace' to date, featuring a powerful line-up of some of the world's finest international artists joining together to promote cross-cultural exchange and dialogue through music. This year's event, at Merkin Hall in New York City, will be a reunion featuring the return some of M4H's old friends, the Juilliard String Quartet, clarinetist Kinan Azmeh with City Band and Bassam Saba, as well as new artists, including innovative shakuhachi performer Kojiro Umezaki and the 35-piece New York Arabic Orchestra (joining Saba.)
2011 Fall Concert for Peace"
Sunday, September 11, 2011 at 7:00 PM
Featuring: Juilliard String Quartet, Kinan Azmeh with City Band, Kojiro Umezaki, shakuhachi and Bassam Saba with New York Arabic Orchestra.
Merkin Concert Hall
129 W. 67th Street
New York, NY
Tickets: $35, $75, $125; Students: $15
M4H Founder Allegra Klein has been a tireless advocate for promoting peace and cultural exchange through music. Her organization, founded shortly after September 11, 2001, has earned significant and growing attention for its charitable and diplomatic efforts in the years since (http://www.musicians4harmony.org/press.html). Their annual concerts of chamber and world music are the centerpiece of an expansive program of performances, educational activities and cross-cultural exchange. A particular focus on supporting artists in Iraq has been another priority of M4H, and Klein has shown her dedication to the effort by relocating to Baghdad, working for an Iraqi woman-owned company on development and capacity-building projects, and performing as a violinist in the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra.
More about the 2011 Fall Concert for Peace" artists:
The Juilliard String Quartet is internationally renowned and admired for performances characterized by a clarity of structure, beauty of sound, purity of line and an extraordinary unanimity of purpose. Celebrated for its performances of works by composers as diverse as Beethoven, Schubert, Bartk and Elliott Carter, it has long been recognized as the quintessential American string quartet.
Clarinet, Composer Kinan Azmeh: Hailed as a virtuoso" by The New York Times and incredibly rich sound" by the CBC, Kinan Azmeh is one of Syria's rising stars. His utterly distinctive sound across different musical genres is now fast gaining international recognition. Born in Damascus, Kinan was the first Arab to win the premier prize at the 1997 Nicolai Rubinstein International Competition, Moscow. 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, Kinan is currently finishing his doctoral work at the City University of New York.
Kojiro Umezaki grew up in Tokyo, Japan where he began studying Western flute and the shakuhachi. His career encompasses both traditional and technology-based music and a range of electronic media. He writes, My mother is from Denmark and my father is Japanese. My multinational background may be one of the reasons why I don't limit myself to the traditional repertoire. In all my work, I try to put the shakuhachi in a more contemporary, musically diverse context. Hopefully this work can become part of the evolutionary process of the instrument." http://www.kojiroumezaki.com/
The New York Arabic Orchestra is the home of contemporary and classical Arabic music in America. The 35-piece orchestra, based in the New York metropolitan area, is an Arabic music institution of performance and education founded in 2007 by Bassam Saba, a world renowned multi-instrumentalist virtuoso, conductor and teacher of Arabic music in collaboration with April Centrone, the orchestra's lead percussionist. The orchestra brings together a culturally diverse group of musicians around a common passion: Arabic Music.
More About M4H:
Musicians For Harmony began as a response to the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Musicians and New Yorkers from all walks of life came together on the first anniversary of 9/11 in 2002 to pay tribute and promote cross-cultural harmony through music. This sold-out concert was broadcast live on WNYC radio and received the highest critical acclaim. Since then, M4H has continued to promote peace through music" with annual fall and spring concerts in New York City. Renowned classical and world music artists perform on the same program, donating their services to raise money for peace-related activities. Over the years, more than a dozen new works have been commissioned by composers such as Mark O'Connor, Gabriela Lena Frank, Kinan Azmeh, Patrick Derivaz and Mohammed Fairouz.
Musicians For Harmony's mission is to foster and advance peace and dialogue among individuals of different cultures, ethnicities and religions through (1) musical performances, (2) educational activities and (3) cross-cultural exchange. M4H's concerts attract the highest caliber musicians, such as the Guarneri, Juilliard, Shanghai and Orion quartets; pianists Leon Fleisher, Jonathan Biss and Claude Frank; violinists Mark O'Connor and Anne Akiko Meyers; cellists Carter Brey and Peter Wiley; flutist Eugenia Zukerman; and world music artists from Albania, China, Egypt, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Mali, Pakistan, Russia, Syria and many others. M4H's Music of the World" educational workshops bring the message of peace through music" to the next generation through an after-school program in Brooklyn's public schools. M4H's cultural exchange activities include the Mentorship Program" (featuring distance learning programs for Iraqi music students) and participation in Iraq's first-ever national youth orchestra.
More About M4H Founder Allegra Klein:
Allegra Klein first traveled to Baghdad in 2003 to bring musical instruments and supplies to the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra. She journeyed to northern Iraq in 2007 to teach for the U.S. State Department-sponsored Iraqi Unity Performing Arts Academy, and returned in 2009 to help establish the first National Youth Orchestra of Iraq. 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.
A strong advocate for cultural diplomacy, Klein addressed a conference at the United Nations in 2006 about the role of the arts in educating girls in developing countries, and was invited back the following spring for a roundtable discussion on how the arts can bridge gaps between cultures. In 2008, she was asked to write an article for the Cultural Diplomacy Institute, which was published online in their Cultural Diplomacy News, and in 2009, she participated in conferences on Music and Cultural Diplomacy at Northeastern University in Boston and on Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution for 3D Security in Washington, D.C.
In 2009, Klein re-located to Baghdad, where she was engaged by 4points Companyan Iraqi woman owned firmto help develop projects that benefit Iraq's civil society organizations, small businesses, women's and children's centers, agricultural institutions and cultural entities. The following year, she became the first American woman (and first foreigner since 2003) to receive a contract from the Ministry of Culture as a member of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra, and she has since performed with the symphony in numerous concerts throughout Baghdad and northern Iraq."