Composer: overlapping music traditions in the Middle East can foster improved ties

Posted on: December 19, 2013

“Arabs and Jews have lived together for thousands of years,” writes composer Mohammed Fairouz in Tuesday’s (12/17) Huffington Post. “We have developed a shared history and culture in the region. Our languages have cross-pollinated and … we have developed a united mythology and set of traditions.… The West-Coast premiere of Poems and Prayers, my third symphony [performed by the UCLA Philharmonia and choral groups at Royce Hall on the UCLA campus] was exciting for musical reasons alone but there was more than music at work here. The texts of the symphony range from the ancient Aramaic Kaddish to the modern poetry of the Palestinian poets Mahmoud Darwish and Fadwa Tuqan while the final movement of the symphony is a setting of  … ‘Memorial Day for the War Dead’ by Yehuda Amichai, Israel’s late poet-laureate.… As a kid, I was always so touched by the moment when Joseph reveals himself to his brothers in Egypt. He forgives and embraces his brothers who left him to die and reunites with his family. In the last few minutes of my symphony, as I heard the voices of all our young performers intoning the words of universal peace, I felt the forgiveness of Joseph fill the concert hall with the promise of a better and worthier future.”

Posted December 19, 2013