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Cal Poly Arab Music Ensemble at the PAC / Harmon Hall

  • Harmon Hall / PAC 1 Grand Ave. San Luis Obispo, CA 93407 (map)

The Cal Poly Arab Music Ensemble will be joined by the Zaryab Ensemble, Ballet Theatre San Luis Obispo, and other guest artists during its Fall Concert.

The program will feature music and dance from Egypt, Lebanon, Iran and the extended region. It will include celebrated traditional and contemporary Arabic music made famous by composers and performers such as Abdel-Halim Hafez and Sayyid Darwish of Egypt and Fairouz, the Rahbani Brothers, and Ziad Rahbani of Lebanon. There will also be a favorite Ladino folksong rooted in the Andalusian traditions of southern Spain and classical and folk dancing.

A highlight of the show will be an extended set of Iranian music and dance performed by the Zaryab Ensemble from the San Francisco Bay Area. Neema Hekmat leads the group and plays santur, the Persian hammered dulcimer; Amir Abbas Etemadzadeh sings and plays percussion; and Aydin Kiasat plays kamanche, the Persian spike fiddle. Hannah Romanowsky, a dancer whose reputation spans from North America to Europe and Asia, will dance with the group. Classically trained as a dancer and educator, she specializes in dance from Iran, Central Asia, and the larger region.

Critically acclaimed guest artists will include longtime favorite Adel Iskander Guirguis performing a medley of classics by iconic artists of Egyptian art and popular song, including Mohamed Abdel-Wahab and Umm Kulthum.

Keeth CrowHawk, who will perform an original composition on riqq, the Arabic tambourine, will lead the percussion section.

Arab Music Ensemble dance directors Saundra Sarrouf and Jenna Mitchell will lead their troupe in a famous piece from classic Egyptian cinema and in a Gilani folk dance from northern Iran.

Ballet Theatre San Luis Obispo, under the direction of Theresa Slobodnik, will perform to music by the Cal Poly Arab Ensemble and the Zaryab Ensemble. Slobodnik, a former principal dancer for Gilbert Reed Ballet, founded the Ballet Theatre in 2006 to bring classical ballet and contemporary dance to the Central Coast.

Music Department faculty member Ken Habib directs the 35-member Arab Music Ensemble. He is a composer and performer with a doctorate in ethnomusicology. Two of Habib's original compositions of Arabic art music and an original Persian art song by Hekmat will also be on the program.

Tickets ( $12 and 14 general, $9 and $12 seniors and students)