Middle East Ensemble

Event Date: 

Saturday, March 10, 2018 - 7:30pm

Event Date Details: 

Event Location: 

  • Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall (UCSB)

Event Price: 

General ($15), non-UCSB students with ID ($10), UCSB students with ID ($5), children under 12 (FREE). Tickets may be purchased at the door, at the Associated Students Ticket Office window (UCEN Room 1535, across from Corwin Pavilion), online at the link below, or by calling the Associated Students Ticket Office at (805) 893-2064.
Youth and UCSB student tickets may be reserved in advance by visiting the Associated Students Ticket Office window on the UCSB campus (UCEN Room 1535, across from Corwin Pavilion) or by contacting the Associated Students Ticket Office at ticketoffice@as.ucsb.edu or 
(805) 893-2064.


Event Contact: 

Adriane Hill
Marketing and Communications Manager
UC Santa Barbara Department of Music
(805) 893-3230


Middle East Ensemble. Photo by Tony Mastres.
Photo by Tony Mastres
Directed by Scott Marcus, the UCSB Middle East Ensemble will present its annual winter concert on Saturday, March 10, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. in UCSB’s Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall. The program will feature special guests Bahram Osqueezadeh (UCSB Persian music lecturer) who will lead the Ensemble in three Persian songs in celebration of Persian New Year with guest vocalist Siamak Bozorgi, and Besnik Yzeiri (a first-year DMA student from Albania specializing in viola) who will present a rousing solo. The ensemble will also present a traditional suite of Arab vocal and instrumental music, featuring Sam Khattar as solo vocalist; a Sephardic song featuring Andrea Fishman, vocals; and three Turkish songs (by Pir Sultan Abdal, c.1480-1550; Zeki Müren, 1931-1996; and a folk song from the Ankara region) with Kristin Spalding and Natalie Bartlett, vocalists.
As always, the ensemble’s Dance Company will perform a wonderful variety of dances, from Arab and Persian cultures, with choreographies by Cris! Basimah, Laurel Victoria Gray, and Shahrzad Khorsandi. The ensemble will also present a veil dance performed by Cris!’s beginner students.
Scott Marcus, Founder & Director
Sue Rudnicki, Director of the Ensemble’s percussion section
Cris! Basimah, Director of the Ensemble’s Dance Company
and Special Guests
Bahram Osqueezadeh and Besnik Yzeiri
About the Middle East Ensemble
The UCSB Middle East Ensemble is an official "Ethnomusicology Performance Ensemble" in the Department of Music at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Begun in 1989 by ethnomusicology professor Scott Marcus, the Ensemble has performed widely throughout California, including concerts in San Diego, L.A., Pomona, San Bernadino, Pasadena, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Berkeley, and Sacramento. Quarterly concerts at UCSB's 486-seat Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall are regularly "sold out" events.
The ensemble's repertoire reflects the great variety of cultures found in the Middle East. The ensemble performs music and dance from Arab, Turkish, Persian, Armenian, Greek, Jewish, and even Assyrian cultures. Performance items range from classical pieces to religious songs, folk and popular songs, folk dances, and cabaret-style dances.
The ensemble performs on traditional instruments such as the pan-Middle Eastern short-necked lute (the `ud), the Turkish long-necked lute (the baglama saz) the end-blown reed flute (the nay), the Persian hammered dulcimer (the santur), the Arab/Turkish plucked dulcimer (qanun or kanun), the Egyptian spiked fiddle (the rabab), the Turkish and Egyptian oboes (the zurna and mizmar), and a variety of Middle Eastern drums (the darbukkah, riqq, bendir, mazhar, tabl baladi, and zarb). In addition, the Ensemble uses the accordion (retuned to accomodate Middle Eastern scales), the violin, cello, double bass, and on occasion, the guitar and saxophone.


Middle East Ensemble. Photo by Tony Mastres.