“Ramal” at Chicago’s Grant Park: melding Middle Eastern and Western music traditions

Posted on: July 7, 2017

“Classical musicians of Middle Eastern heritage and/or Muslim faith often find themselves navigating very complex spaces in the United States of the 21st century,” writes John von Rhein in Wednesday’s (7/5) Chicago Tribune. “Two such classical musicians … both based in the U.S. … will share an upcoming orchestral program at the Grant Park Music Festival…. The Chicago-born conductor Fawzi Haimor, whose father is Jordanian-Lebanese and whose mother is from the Philippines, sees it as his duty to promote the work of Muslim and Arabic composers…. For his Chicago conducting debut with the Grant Park Orchestra on July 12 at the Pritzker Pavilion, Haimor will lead ‘Ramal,’ a recent symphonic work by the Damascus-born Kareem Roustom, a classically trained composer who is based in the Boston area and lectures at Tufts University … [Haimor’s] first full-time podium appointments were as assistant conductor of the Alabama Symphony, later assistant conductor and resident conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony.… Audience members were in tears, [Roustom] recalls, following the work’s American premiere in August at the Grand Teton Music Festival in Wyoming [just days after images appeared of] a dazed toddler … pulled from the wreckage of his family’s home in Aleppo, Syria.”

Posted July 7, 2017