The Hope College Great Performance Series will showcase musical talent of the Simon Shaheen Ensemble on Friday, March 9, at 7:30 p.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel.
A Palestinian composer, violinist and oud virtuoso, Shaheen has been described as one of the most significant Arab musicians, performers, and composers of his generation. His ensemble aims at an unbridled fusion of Arab, jazz, Western classical, and Latin American music.
"Full of dignified passion. On violin, his playing was throaty and sensual. His phrases sighed and lingered over the tune, then spun off trills and filigree like sparks. On oud, his crisply plucked lines took on tension and drama, each measured phrase holding suspense," "The New York Times" has said.
Shaheen's most recent recording, "Blue Flame," has caught the attention of people across the country. "The Los Angeles Times" proclaimed the record "stunning," National Public Radio called it a staggering tour-de-force of technique and passion, "CMJ" called it a new benchmark in Arab-Western fusion, and the "Washington Post"termed it "eminently cosmopolitan."
Born in Tarshiha, Galilee, in 1955, Shaheen grew up surrounded by music. His father, Hikmat Shaheen, was a professor of music and a master oud player. Shaheen began learning the instrument at the age of five, and a year later began studying violin at the Conservatory for Western Classical Music.
After graduating from the Academy of Music in Jerusalem in 1978, Shaheen was appointed instructor of Arabic music, performance, and theory. He moved to New York City two years later to complete his graduate studies in performance at the Manhattan School of Music, and later in performance and music education at Columbia.
His concert credits include the world's greatest venues, among them Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Cairo's Opera House, Theatre de la Ville in Beirut, and Belgium's Le Palais des Arts. In 2000 Shaheen appeared at the Grammy Awards with Sting, arranging the violin section for Sting's live rendition of "Desert Rose."
Tickets for the performance are on sale at the ticket office in the DeVos Fieldhouse, and cost $16 for regular admission, $12 for senior citizens, and $5 for children 18 and under. The ticket office is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be called at (616) 395-7890.
The ticket office is in the main lobby of the DeVos Fieldhouse, which is located at 222 Fairbanks Ave., between Ninth and 11th streets. Dimnent Memorial Chapel is located at 277 College Avenue on the corner of 12th Street.