National Arab Orchestra aims to build bridges across cultural divides

Posted on: May 8, 2015

“While metro Detroit’s music scene has always been diverse, Arabic music rarely enters the conversation. Conductor, musician, and educator Michael Ibrahim wants to change this,” writes Cornelius Fortune in Wednesday’s (5/6) Detroit Metro Times. The Michigan-based “National Arab Orchestra will take the Masonic Temple stage for a gala performance at 8 p.m. Friday, May 8, led by Ibrahim, and will feature composer and vocalist Salah Kurdi, joined by students from the Detroit School of Arts…. Even though it’s not their native language, these students will sing in Arabic. A Sterling Heights [Michigan] native, Ibrahim, 30, has devoted his life to music … As executive and music director of the National Arab Orchestra, Ibrahim wants to spread the word beyond metro Detroit and the Arab community…. ‘Teaching Arab music outside of the culture is a great way to create cross-cultural references,’ Ibrahim says…. ‘I want to see this music be passed down. I don’t want it to die out. It’s dying in the Middle East…. We’re trying to keep this music alive.’ ” The National Arab Orchestra will perform in Jacksonville, Florida in August, as well as in a joint performance with the Michigan Philharmonic at Detroit’s Music Hall in September.

The National Arab Orchestra and Michael Ibrahim are covered in “Startups Rising” in the Spring 20215 issue of Symphony.  

Posted May 8, 2015