Art of the Duo: Kinan Azmeh and Dinuk Wijeratne

August 21, 2023 @ 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
West Claremont Center for Music and the Arts @ Union Church
133 Old Church Road
Claremont, NH 03743, Claremont
NH 03743
by donation, students free
West Claremont Center for Music and the Arts
Art of the Duo: Kinan Azmeh and Dinuk Wijeratne @ West Claremont Center for Music and the Arts @ Union Church | Claremont | NH | US

Back for the first time as a duo since 2019: Award-winning composers and performers Dinuk Wijeratne & Kinan Azmeh fuse elements of Arabic and South-Asian vocabulary with classical and jazz music idioms to create a new sonic world.

Tickets are by donation, students free. This event will be livestreamed.

About Kinan Azmeh

Hailed by critics and audiences alike, winner of Opus Klassik award in 2019 clarinetist and composer Kinan Azmeh has gained international recognition for his distinctive voice across diverse musical genres.

Originally from Damascus, Syria, Kinan Azmeh brings his music to all corners of the world as a soloist, composer and improviser. Notable appearances include the Opera Bastille, Paris; Tchaikovsky Grand Hall, Moscow; Carnegie Hall and the UN General Assembly, New York; the Royal Albert Hall, London; Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires; Philharmonie, Berlin; the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center, Washington DC; the Mozarteum, Salzburg, Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie; and in his native Syria at the opening concert of the Damascus Opera House.

He has appeared as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Dusseldorf Symphony, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, The Azerbaijan State Symphony, Winnipeg Symphony, Symphony Nova Scotia, Toronto Symphony, A Far Cry, The Knights Orchestra,  Calgary philharmonic, Qatar Philharmonic and the Syrian Symphony Orchestra among others, and has shared the stage with such musical luminaries as Yo-Yo Ma, Daniel Barenboim, Marcel Khalife, John McLaughlin, Francois Rabbath, Aynur and Jivan Gasparian.

Kinan’s compositions include several works for solo, chamber, and orchestral music, as well as music for film, live illustration, and electronics. His resent works were commissioned by The New York Philharmonic, The Seattle Symphony, The Knights Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Elbphilharmonie, Apple Hill string quartet, Quatuor Voce, Brooklyn Rider, Cello Octet Amsterdam, Aizuri Quartet and Bob Wilson.

An advocate for new music, several concertos were dedicated to him by composers such as Kareem Roustom, Dia Succari, Dinuk Wijeratne, Zaid Jabri, Saad Haddad and Guss Janssen, in addition to a large number of chamber music works.

In addition to his own Arab-Jazz Quartet CityBand and his Hewar trio, he has also been playing with the Silkroad Ensemble since 2012, whose 2017 Grammy Award-winning album “Sing Me Home” features Kinan as a clarinetist and composer.

Kinan Azmeh is 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 earned his doctorate degree in music from the City University of New York in 2013.

His first opera “Songs for Days to Come” which is fully sung in Arabic, was recently premiered in Osnabruck, Germany in June 2022 to a great acclaim. He has recently been appointed to the National Council for the Arts on a nomination by President Joe Biden.

About Dinuk Wijeratne

Sri Lankan-born Canadian Dinuk Wijeratne is a JUNO and multi-award-winning composer, conductor, and pianist who has been described by the New York Times as ‘exuberantly creative’, by the Toronto Star as ‘an artist who reflects a positive vision of our cultural future’, and by the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra as ‘a modern polymath’. His boundary-crossing work sees him equally at home in collaborations with symphony orchestras and string quartets, tabla players and DJs, and takes him to international venues as poles apart as the Berlin Philharmonie and the North Sea Jazz Festival.

Dinuk was featured as a main character in ‘What would Beethoven do?’ – the 2016 documentary about innovation in classical music featuring Eric Whitacre, Bobby McFerrin and Ben Zander. Forthcoming projects include new works for Grammy-winning baritone Elliot Madore (featuring Dinuk as pianist) and Grammy-nominated mandolinist Avi Avital, the test piece for the Banff International String Quartet Competition 2022, and conducting debuts with the Calgary Philharmonic and Qatar Philharmonic, Doha.

Dinuk made his Carnegie Hall debut while still a student in 2004 as a composer, conductor, and pianist performing with Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. A second Carnegie appearance followed in 2009, alongside tabla legend Zakir Hussain. Dinuk has also appeared at the BoulezSaal (Berlin), Kennedy Center (Washington DC), Opéra Bastille (Paris), Lincoln Center (New York), Teatro Colón (Buenos Aires), Sri Lanka, Japan, and across the Middle East. Dinuk grew up in Dubai before taking up composition studies at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), Manchester, UK. In 2001, he was invited by Oscar-winning composer John Corigliano to join his studio at New York’s Juilliard School. Conducting studies followed at New York’s Mannes College of Music, and doctoral studies under Christos Hatzis at the University of Toronto.

Dinuk has composed specially for almost all of the artists and ensembles with whom he has performed; to name a few: Suzie LeBlanc, David Jalbert, James Ehnes, Kinan Azmeh, Bev Johnston, Joseph Petric, Sandeep Das, Tim Garland, Ed Thigpen, Ramesh Misra, Barry Guy, Eric Vloeimans, Buck 65, DJ Skratch Bastid, the Gryphon Trio, the Afiara, Danel & Cecilia String Quartets, the Apollo Saxophone Quartet, TorQ Percussion, and the Symphony orchestras of Toronto, Vancouver, the National Arts Centre, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Buffalo, Illinois, Fresno, Asheville, Saskatoon, Windsor, Victoria, PEI, and Thunder Bay. Dinuk is the only artist to have served both as Conductor-in-Residence and Composer-in-Residence of a Canadian orchestra (Symphony Nova Scotia).

A passionate educator, Dinuk is committed to helping emerging and mid-career classical artists navigate the classical music industry in today’s increasingly complex, diverse, and globalized world. As a Creativity Consultant he serves private clients as well as students of the Banff Centre (Evolution Classical) and Toronto’s Glenn Gould School. His educational guide ‘Define Your Artistic Voice’ was downloaded 150 times from his blog within the first two days of its release. Dinuk also served as Music Director of the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra for thirteen seasons. He is also the recipient of the Canada Council Jean-Marie Beaudet award for orchestral conducting; the NS Established Artist Award; NS Masterworks nominations for his Tabla Concerto and piano trio Love Triangle; double Merritt Award nominations; Juilliard, Mannes, & Countess of Munster scholarships; the Sema Jazz Improvisation Prize; the Soroptimist International Award for Composer-Conductors; and the Sir John Manduell Prize – the RNCM’s highest student honour. His music and collaborative work embrace the great diversity of his international background and influences.

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