Watch and Listen: Oud Virtuoso Simon Shaheen Plays Arab Music, Live from WRTI

May 14, 2019

The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia's season celebrating music from different world cultures ends with a program featuring internationally acclaimed composer and oud virtuoso Simon Shaheen. He visited the WRTI Performance Studio to play the oud, and chat with WRTI's Susan Lewis.

Simon Shaheen's work as a composer and performer reflects his Arab heritage, while embracing many different styles and music genres.

Born in the village of Tarshiha in the Galilee, Shaheen (starting at age 5) learned the oud from his father, a professor of music and master oud player. He studied violin at the Conservatory for Western Classical Music in Jerusalem, and completed graduate studies in performance in New York at the Manhattan School of Music and Columbia University.

In 1982, he formed the Near Eastern Music Ensemble in New York, to perform the highest standard of traditional Arab music. Since 1994, he has produced the annual Arab Festival of the Arts, that showcases Arab artists, and highlights Arab culture. His band Qantara, plays a fusion of Arab, jazz, Western classical, and Latin American music.

Shaheen makes his Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia debut under the direction of Maestro Dirk Brossé in a program at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater on Sunday, May 19th at 2:30 PM, and Monday, May 20th at 7:30 PM.

The program includes; François-Adrien Boieldieu, Overture to Le Calife de Bagdadl; Mozart, Symphony No. 36 "Linz"; Saint-Saëns arr. Clearfield, "Bacchanale" from Samson and Delilah; Shaheen, Interlude: solo oud; Shaheen, Concerto in C minor for Oud, a Philadelphia premiere.

WRTI Program: 

Al Qantara by Simon Shaheen

Free Improvisation

Samai Nawak Athar by Necdet Yasar

(Turkish), Folk Tune