UCSB Middle East Ensemble and Dance Company

UCSB Middle East Ensemble and UCSB Middle East Ensemble Dance Company

Course Information

Course Numbers: MUS A 70M, 170M, 270M (Ethnomusicology Ensemble)

Director: Scott Marcus

Class Time: please see below

Class Location: please see below

Enrollment Information

The UCSB Middle East Ensemble is looking for singers, instrumentalists, and dancers to join the Ensemble!

The Ensemble presents formal end-of-the-quarter concerts each quarter and additional concerts on and off campus throughout the year. Please join us!

Singers (MUS A 70N, 170N, 270N)

The UCSB Middle East Ensemble is looking for singers to join our Middle East Ensemble Chorus! The chorus sings in a variety of Middle Eastern languages: Arabic, Armenian, Greek, Persian, Turkish, and more. The chorus meets Tuesday evenings from 5-6:30 p.m. in Music Room 1207. All are welcome! No prior experience necessary. No auditions. The UCSB Middle East Ensemble presents formal end-of-the-quarter concerts each quarter and additional (optional) concerts on and off campus throughout the year. Please join us! The class may be taken for credit: MUS A 70N, 170N, 270N. Please contact Professor Scott Marcus at smarcus@music.ucsb.edu for more information.

Dancers

The Ensemble‚Äôs Dance Company is looking for new dancers! Rehearsals typically start in October, on Tuesday evenings. If you are interested in checking out this opportunity, send an e-mail to Alexandra King, the Dance Company Director, at alexandra@alexandraking.com for more information.

Instrumentalists (MUS A 70M, 170M, 270M)

Our Middle East Ensemble performs music from throughout the Middle East. The instrumental part of the ensemble rehearses on Tuesday evenings from 7-10 p.m. in Geiringer Hall in the Music Building. We are especially looking for violinists, cellists, and double bass players. The ensemble includes a wide variety of instruments: the Middle Eastern lute (the oud), flute (the nay), zither (qanun), and percussion (drums/darbukka/dumbek, framedrums/duff/bendir, and tambourines/riqq), in addition to accordion, clarinet, saxophone, and trumpet. The ensemble class may be taken for credit: MUS A 70M, A 170M, 270M. 

We also offer individual and group beginning, intermediate, and advanced lessons on the Middle Eastern lute (the oud) and flute (the nay), and also lessons on playing Middle Eastern music on Western instruments (Mus 22, 122, 222). 

Please contact Professor Scott Marcus at smarcus@music.ucsb.edu for more information.

Ensemble Information

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 have been regularly "sold out" events. We rehearse throughout the year on Tuesday evenings and invite any and all to come and join us at these rehearsals. Ahlan wa sahlan!

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, Uzbek, Kurdish, and Assyrian cultures. Performance items range from classical pieces to religious songs, folk and popular songs, children's 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 darbukka, riqqbendirmazhartabl 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, clarinet, trumpet, and saxophone.

The ensemble performs at various sizes. At its fullest, the instrumental section of the ensemble is a 40 to 45-member orchestra; the chorus has 10-12 members; and dancers number up to a dozen. For our "road performances," we often present a smaller group of up to 20 members.

To learn more about the UCSB Middle East Ensemble, please visit their website.