Dima Orsho
Soprano

(b. 1975)Dima is a graduate of the Boston Conservatory , an established and seasoned performer, recorded artist, and collaborator with renowned international musicians. Dima holds an M.M. in opera performance from The Boston Conservatory, and B.M. in Voice & Clarinet from the Damascus High Institute of Music. She studied with Rebecca Folsom, Galena Khaldieva, Shauna Beesley, Mia Besselink , Anatoly Moratof & Victor Babenko. Having learned clarinet as a second instrument; she brings an instrument player’s sensibility to her vocalizations, adding to the magic of her performances. Her approach to music is culturally nuanced, forging together diverse influences—from classical, to jazz, to Middle Eastern music. Her musical renditions are constantly evolving, and her interaction with the music ever more sophisticated.

Dima appeared as a soloist in the Middle East, Europe and USA on world-class stages, such as The Elbphilharmoniethe in Hamburg, The Millennium stage at The Kennedy Centre, The Opera Bastille and Theatre de la Ville in Paris, Bimhuis Amsterdam, Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin, The Media Park of Cologne Germany, The Library of Congress, Brucknerhaus in Linz, The National Theater in Taipei and Damascus Opera House. She performed with NDR Big Band , Osnabrück Symphony,members of Chicago Symphony, Morgenland Festival Orchestra, Boston Conservatory Orchestra, as well as the Syrian Symphony Orchestra. She also shared the stage with some phenomenal musicians—like Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble , Jivan Gasparian, Manfred Leuchter, Michel Godard, Salman Gambarov and many others.
Dima’s musical interests and explorations are not limited to performing alone; she has also composed for TV, Radio, Theater and Cinema since 1993. She is a member of “Leish Troupe for Movement Theatre” as a composer and singer. Dima also composed and arranged music for many short films in addition to one feature film, “Under The Ceiling,” directed by Nidal Al-Debs in 2005 , and one documentary “Love Boat” directed by Maan Mouslli in 2016.
Dima’s forte remains as a performing artist, however—whether in solo performances, or in collaborative efforts. She is a member of “Hewar Trio” with whom she released three albums last of which was “Letters to a Homeland” in 2012. She is also a founding member of DIO Trio, with which she is currently extensively performing. As a solo artist, her first solo album was “Arabic Lieder,” composed by Gazwan Zerikly and released in 2008. In 2017 Dima was featured in “Sing Me Home”, the Best World Music Grammy Award winning album by Yo-Yo Ma and The SilkRoad Ensemble.

dimaorsho.com

Kinan Abou-afach
Cello

Kinan Abou-afach is a cellist, oud player, composer, and recipient of the prestigious Pew Fellowship in 2013. The Syrian-born musician began his musical studies at the age of seven studying at the Arabic Institute of Music in Damascus, where he eventually joined the National Syrian Symphony Orchestra and performed with the Middle Eastern Ensemble. He holds a Bachelor’s Degrees in cello and oud performance from the Higher Institute of Music where he Studied the cello repertoire with Rasi Abdullaiev and Valery Volkov, and a Master’s Degree in Cello Performance from DePaul University School of Music where he studied with Stephen Balderston.

Abou-afach has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the Middle East, Asia, Europe and North America with well-known musicians and ensembles such as the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Youssou N’dour, Concertante de Chicago, Chicago Children Choir and the Ducati Piano trio, performing in many of the United States prestigious halls. He can also be heard on many recordings by Las Guitarras de España, the Silk Road Project, The Edwards Hospital Healing Art Program and Anne Harris to name a few. He is currently a member of Al-Bustan Takht Ensemble based in Philadelphia.

Throughout his musical career, Kinan had the privilege to played under conductors like: Solhi Al-Wady, Daniel Barenboim, Cliff Colnot, Christopher Seaman, Roberto Abbado, Sir Andrew Davis, Pinchas Zuckerman, and soloists like Yo Yo Ma, Alex Klein and Larry Combs.

As a composer, Abou-afach crafts music that is influenced by Eastern and Western traditions. He seeks to create a reformed form of Arab music using a modern vocabulary based on the Arabic modal traditions known as maqam. He has composed for concerts, as well as film, live theatre, and visual art, notably commissions by Live Connections for Grammy award-winner Jason Vieaux, for Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture’s “Roads to Damascus – 2013”, “{De}Perception – 2015”, and “Of Nights and Solace -2015”; for “The Long Night” film directed by Hatem Ali; for Windy Clinard Dance Theatre “Jondo Portraits”, and for a 2014 film “Maskoon – Haunted” by Liwaa Yazigi.

kinanmusic.com

Kinan Azmeh
Clarinet

Hailed as a “Virtuoso” and “Intensely Soulful” by the New York Times and “Spellbinding” by the New Yorker, and “Incredibly Rich Sound” by the CBC. His utterly distinctive sound across different musical genres has gained him international recognition as clarinetist and composer. Kinan was recently named composer-in-residence with Classical Movements for the 2017-2018 season.

Kinan has been touring the world as soloist, composer and improviser. Notable appearances include: Opera Bastille, Paris; Tchaikovsky Grand Hall, Moscow; Carnegie Hall and the UN’s general assembly, New York; the Royal Albert hall, London; Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires; der Philharmonie; Berlin; the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center, Washington DC; the Mozarteum, Salzburg, Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie and the Damascus opera house for its opening concert in his native Syria.

He has appeared as soloist with the New York Philharmonic, the Seattle Symphony, the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, the Qatar Philharmonic and the Syrian Symphony Orchestra among others.; and has shared the stage with Yo-Yo Ma, Marcel Khalife, Aynur, Daniel Barenboim and Jivan Gasparian.

His compositions include several works for solo, orchestra, and chamber music; film, live illustration, and electronics. His discography include three albums with his ensemble Hewar, several soundtracks for film and dance, a duo album with pianist Dinuk Wijeratne and an album with his New York Arabic/Jazz quartet the Kinan Azmeh CityBand. He serves as artistic director of the Damascus Festival Chamber Players, a pan-Arab ensemble dedicated to contemporary music form the Arab world. His is a frequent guest faculty at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music and is on the advisory board of the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra. He is also a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble with whom he was awarded a Grammy in 2017.

Kinan is a graduate of New York’s Juilliard school as a student of Charles Neidich, and of both the Damascus High institute of Music where he studied with Shukry Sahwki, Nicolay Viovanof and Anatoly Moratof, and Damascus University’s School of Electrical Engineering in his native Syria. Kinan earned his doctorate degree in music from the City University of New York in 2013.

kinanazmeh.com

Lenore Davis
Piano

Lenore Davis, pianist, is known for her innovative programming, outstanding collaborative musicianship, and ease of rapport with audience members. A prize-winning student of Menahem Pressler, Davis has performed solo and chamber music throughout Europe, Israel and the United States.

From 1992-2006, she directed New Jersey’s premier chamber music series Arbor Chamber Music, which was hailed by the Star-Ledger for being “…simply stated, outstanding.” Throughout her career as a performer, producer of numerous chamber music concerts and educational programs, Davis has collaborated with many great artists, including the Brentano String Quartet, David Krakauer, Edgar Meyer, Geoff Nuttall, Maria Bachmann, Jennifer Koh, Matt Haimovitz, the St. Lawrence String Quartet, Richard Stoltzman.

Davis is the founder and director of St Urban, a series of salons and concerts, in which she hosts performances and conversations with composers, poets, artists, performers and audience