EDUCATION

LiveConnections' Bridge Sessions and in-school residencies provide interactive educational opportunities for youth from city schools & people with disabilities.
LEARN MORE

CONCERTS

Our LiveConnections Presents concert series features six collaborative concerts each year designed for adventurous music-lovers.
LEARN MORE

ACCESSIBILITY


We prioritize accessibility for people with disabilities through Bridge Sessions, workshops & live webcasts.
LEARN MORE

Written by Lindsay Westley   
Published on Thursday, 13 March 2014 02:15

March 13, 2014 - Syrian-born clarinetist and composer Kinan Azmeh moved to New York 13 years ago to study at Juilliard, but his heart still lies in Damascus. In his concert with LiveConnections on Friday, March 14, he’ll open with his 2012 composition “A Sad Morning, Every Morning,” which he calls “a prayer for his home country.” We talked with Kinan about his compositions, the diverse backgrounds of his quartet members and how music connects with the tragedy taking place in Syria.


Chloe Felesina How did this concert come about?
For me everything stems from a personal connection. I trust personal connections, and I trust people. Mary is a great friend of mine from Apple Hill Fest [a chamber music program in New Hampshire]. When she said she’d like to have me play, it took me like one second to say, ”Yes, of course.“ Most of my life has been like that — you trust people and know you will be taken care of.

Your band comes from four very different musical backgrounds—bluegrass, world music, jazz and Arab/Syrian music. How do those differences come together in your quartet?
I love to collaborate — this quartet has been playing together as a group for eight years. Now they feel like my family in New York, even though we come from different backgrounds. It works because we take the time to play around with lots of ideas, striking a musical likeness that stems from our musical differences.

You’re playing mostly original compositions?
Most of the program is made up of my pieces, with the exception of three pieces. But we don’t approach it as ”my piece” as opposed to someone else’s — we approach it in the same way as you would write jazz music, where you have a melody and harmony, but all become themes for experimentation. We’re always open to suggestion. It’s quite fascinating — you give a piece to someone and then they make it much better than what you thought it could be. There’s so much room for improv in the way we work and also room for individual voices in the group to take priority. It’s a bit like four chefs in the kitchen — you’re not going to get a bad meal out of it.

Can you talk about why “A Sad Morning, Every Morning” still resonates with you so strongly?
In my home country of Syria there are six million refugees who have been displaced. The magnitude of this tragedy is enormous. In Syria, there is a custom where people open up any kind of gathering with a moment of silence to remember those who have fallen. As a musician, I see that moment of silence as a moment of music. I call it by that name because it reflects the way I’ve started each day for the past three years. Every day I open up my computer here in the U.S. to see what has happened, but in Syria, that day has already passed. As we say in Arabic, you put your hands on the heart and wait for the bad news to come. The song has become prophetic to me. It is a kind of a prayer for home that has now reached 130,000 people. I believe in some fantastical world that some of these sounds are going to reach Syria and heal some soul somewhere. That’s why I continue to play the piece.

 

Complete concert details and tickets here.

 

[Image courtesy of Kinan Azmeh]

 

Latest News

LiveConnections Announces 2017-18 Season of Community Collaboration

September 13, 2017 — Can music build community? This season’s performances provide the opportunity for musicians to create distinctive, boundary-blurring music, often involving new commissions and world premieres, while collaborating with members of the greater Philadelphia community and beyond. Programs include performances by Fifth House Ensemble, Jason Vieaux, VOCES8, Kinan Azmeh, Aizuri Quartet, and more.

LiveConnections Honors Drexel ExCITe Center’s Youngmoo Kim at Big Hurrah Celebration

August 22, 2017 — LiveConnections is thrilled to honor Youngmoo Kim, director of Drexel University’s ExCITe Center, with our 3rd annual Connector Award at this year's Big Hurrah on November 14. The evening will also include performances from Andrew Lipke, Angela Zator Nelson, David Rosen, Allen Pinkney, Luke Carlos O’Reilly, Kwasi Burgee, and more!

Announcing Hill-Freedman World Academy's album "First Verse" | July reflections from executive director Melinda Steffy

July 5, 2017 — Sometimes a simple connection takes on a life of its own. Read more from executive director Melinda Steffy about the making of the Hill-Freedman album, "First Verse".

It's been an inspiring season | June reflections from executive director Melinda Steffy

June 14, 2017 — We've had an inspiring year here at LiveConnections. 4600 participants in our educational programs, 5 commissions of new concert music, more than 45 tremendously talented artists. Take a look at our 2016-2017 year in review.

LA Opera’s Elizabeth Zharoff and Award-Winning Double Bassist Xavier Foley Team Up to Premiere Video Game Music at LiveConnections

April 25, 2017 — On June 2, two Curtis Institute grads will present an evening of classical tunes and original video game compositions at LiveConnections, in residence at World Cafe Live.

 

Kids Count 2017

April 17, 2017 — Help us raise $40,000 in 10 days through our annual Kids Count Campaign! Proceeds support our interactive Bridge Sessions; our in-school residencies where students write poetry, create their own drums and record original songs; our distinctive music education that inspires learning about collaboration, identity, social change and more.

Impact that can't be quantified | April reflections from executive director Melinda Steffy

April 3, 2017 — So much of what LiveConnections does can't be quantified. Read more from executive director Melinda Steffy about our impact on relationships, identity, opportunity and inspiration.

 

Grammy Award-Winning Jazz Bassist John Patitucci Teams Up With Daedalus Quartet In Philadelphia

March 8, 2017 — LiveConnections presents the unique pairing of John Patitucci and Daedalus Quartet on April 18 (during Philly Celebrates Jazz month), featuring world premieres of newly-commissioned music.

 

Seeds that grew into branches | March reflections from executive director Melinda Steffy

March 1, 2017 — "Seeds that grew into branches." That's how vocalist Allen Pinkney described spirituals' influence on other styles of music, such as blues, jazz, gospel and hip-hop. Read more from executive director Melinda Steffy about musical family trees and new ideas taking root.

The people are the best part | February reflections from executive director Melinda Steffy

February 2, 2017 — With "collaborative music-making" as part of our mission, we get to cross paths with a lot of remarkable people. Read more from executive director Melinda Steffy about what some of our artist collaborators have been up to recently.

Donate to LiveConnections

 

Join Our Mailing List

 

FacebookTwitterYoutube

Blog Archive

LiveConnections is grateful for the support of numerous individuals, companies and foundations who believe in our mission and help make our programs possible.
[Become a supporter!]

Big Hurrah Sponsors:
(as of 09/14/2017)

$5000 School Sponsor

Drexel University

 

World Cafe Live

 

WXPN

 

 

$2500 Collaboration Sponsor

Cenero

 

Deloitte

 

Fox Rothschild

 

Pepper Hamilton

 

University of Pennsylvania

 

WRTI

 

 

$1000 Connecting Sponsors

Ballard Spahr

 

BB&T

 

Chubb

 

Cozen O'Connor

 

Curtis Institute of Music

 

Jonathan Fink Group

 

Philadelphia Insurance Companies

 

 

$500 Sponsors
The Art Shop
BWA architecture + planning
Coscia Moos Architecture, LLC
Grace Tavern
Keystone First
University City Science Center

 

 

Business Support

uprinting.com

 

 

Foundation Support 2016-2017:
Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation
Corrine R. & Henry Bower Memorial Trust
CHG Charitable Trust
Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation
The Allen Hilles Fund
Independence Foundation
Patricia Kind Family Foundation
Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation
Christopher Ludwick Foundation
The Presser Foundation
Rosenlund Family Foundation
Caroline J.S. Sanders Trust
The Scholler Foundation
Howell Lockhart Seiple Trust
Seybert Foundation
Joseph Kennard Skilling Trust
Paula Steinebach Trust
Strauss Foundation
Union Benevolent Association
Henrietta Tower Wurts Memorial
Wyncote Foundation

 

 

Additional Support:

LiveConnections is supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

 

 

Additional support provided in part by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund.

 

LiveConnections.org is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, tax ID 26-2666641. The official registration and financial information of LiveConnections.org may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll-free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.