Simon Shaheen, virtuoso on oud and violin, set for Nov. 12

Date(s) - Thursday, November 12, 2015
7:30 pm

St. Thomas More

Simon Shaheen

Simon Shaheen

Simon Shaheen’s music leaps from traditional Arabic sounds to jazz and Western classical styles. His soaring technique, melodic ingenuity, and unparalleled grace have earned him international acclaim as a virtuoso on the oud and violin. His work incorporates and reflects a legacy of Arabic music, while it forges ahead to new frontiers, embracing many different styles in the process. This unique contribution to the world of arts was recognized in 1994 when Shaheen was honored with the prestigious National Heritage Award at the White House.

A Palestinian, born in the village of Tarshiha in the Galilee, Shaheen’s childhood was steeped in music. His father, Hikmat Shaheen, was a professor of music and a master oud player who taught Simon on the oud, and introduced him to the great repertoires of Arab traditional and Western classical musics.

After graduating from the Academy of Music in Jerusalem in 1978, Shaheen moved to New York City to complete his graduate studies in performance at the Manhattan School of Music, and later in music education and musicology at Columbia University.  In the 1990s, he released four albums of his own: Saltanah (Water Lily Acoustics), Turath (CMP), Taqasim (Lyrichord), and Simon Shaheen: The Music of Mohamed Abdel Wahab (Axiom), while also contributing cuts to producer Bill Laswell’s fusion collective, Hallucination Engine (Island). But perhaps his greatest success has come with Blue Flame (ARK21, 2001), where he leads his group, Qantara, on a labyrinthian journey through the world of fusion music to discover the heart of the Middle East. The album was nominated for eleven Grammy Awards, and the band’s performances have been called “glorious.” In 1997, Mr. Shaheen founded the Arabic Music Retreat at Mount Holyoke College, a week-long of instruction in Arabic music theories, literature, and performance.


Tareq Rantisi – percussion

Tony Barhoum – qanun (zither)


Tickets for this concert are available HERE beginning Aug 17.  Tickets will also be available for purchase at the door

If you plan to attend more than one MFSM 2015 event, please consider a Festival Pass for $120. This pass provides admission to Tapestry (Nov. 6), Trio Speranza (Nov. 7), Tisra with Rohan Krishnamurthy (Nov. 8), Anzaldua (Nov. 8), Hildegard (Nov. 9), Shaheen (Nov. 12), Rachel Barton Pine (Nov. 13) and Hot Pstromi (Nov. 14). Festival pass does NOT include admission to Kalamazoo Junior Symphony with Rachel Barton Pine (Nov. 15). A Festival Pass can be purchased HERE.


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