Middle East Ensemble

Event Date: 

Saturday, June 2, 2018 - 7:30pm

Event Date Details: 

Event Location: 

  • Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall (UCSB)

Event Price: 

Tickets: 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 spring concert on Saturday, June 2, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. in UCSB’s Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall. The program will feature Special Guest Besnik Yzeiri (first-year DMA student from Albania specializing in viola), who will lead the Ensemble in his own composition featuring a medley of melodies from Albania, Serbia, Turkey, Greece, and Macedonia. The Ensemble will also present a suite of songs from Iraq, featuring two unique Iraqi rhythms, jurjuna and chobi, Sam Khattar as solo vocalist, and the Ensemble’s chorus. Additionally, Hala Abdul-Baki will present a famous 1944 song by the Syrian-Egyptian singer, Asmahan; Andrea Fishman will present a Sephardic song from Greece; the Ensemble as a whole will perform a beloved Moroccan song from the famed group Nass al-Ghiwane; and Eric Ederer, Jim Grippo, Fred Nadis, and others will present instrumental solos. As always, the Ensemble's Dance Company will perform a wonderful variety of dances, from Armenian, Egyptian, Lebanese, and Turkish cultures, with solo vocals by Sam Khattar and Varduhi Sargsyan and choreographies by Cris! Basimah, Ahmet Luleci, and Jatila van der Veen. Finally, Cris! Basimah, the Director of the Ensemble's Dance Company, will present a rousing solo dance finale.
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 accommodate Middle Eastern scales), the violin, cello, double bass, and on occasion, the guitar and saxophone.
Middle East Ensemble. Photo by Tony Mastres.