The Kennedy Center


New Levant Initiative presents A World Premiere: Ibrahim Maalouf's Levantine Symphony No. 1, featuring the National Children's Chorus

Thursday, March 1, 2018 8:00 PM

The New Levant Initiative is honored to present distinguished trumpeter and composer Ibrahim Maalouf in the world premiere of his impassioned composition, Levantine Symphony No. 1.

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New Levant Initiative presents A World Premiere
Ibrahim Maalouf's Levantine Symphony No. 1
featuring the National Children's Chorus

Heralded by the New York Times as a “virtuoso of the quarter-tone trumpet,” Maalouf gracefully marries musical traditions from his native Lebanon and his adopted France, blending Levantine melodies with modern jazz improvisations. In 2016, he performed at Lincoln Center, alongside pianist Frank Woeste, saxophonist Mark Turner, bassist Larry Grenadier, and drummer Clarence Penn, in an unforgettable tribute to Oum Kalthoum, the legendary Egyptian vocalist.

New Levant Initiative commissioned Levantine Symphony No. 1 to celebrate the vibrant and shared identity of the Levant. Maalouf describes this musical composition as an ode to the Levant. Built as a hymn of sorts—both delicate and powerful, both Near Eastern and influenced by the West—it seeks to link all of the Levantine cultures in their commonalities and modern spirits. There is a global culture which the Levant recognizes, embraces, and interacts with. And so, this contemporary symphony is rooted both in tradition—in classicism and the values that shape its identity—and in modernity, in the popular cultures of our age that are universal.

Born in Beirut, Lebanon, in the midst of the Lebanese Civil War in 1980, Ibrahim Maalouf has today emerged as the most popular instrumentalist in France, and his work has been recognized for over ten years. Trained by his father in both traditional Arab music and western classical music, he was the winner of major international classical trumpet competitions (in the U.S., Hungary, France, Finland, among other countries), embarking on an inspiring career as a classical music soloist at the age of twenty. Today, Maalouf works with world-renowned orchestras, children's choirs, and other groups at the highest level of musical excellence and creativity.

The National Children’s Chorus of the United States, under the leadership of Artistic Director Luke McEndarfer and Associate Artistic Director Dr. Pamela Blackstone, is quickly establishing itself as one of the world’s leading treble choruses, with nearly 700 students in 18 ensembles, based in Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, D.C. Collaborating with some of the finest ensembles in the nation, the group has performed live with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, The Joffrey Ballet, Kronos String Quartet, New York City Master Chorale, and American Youth Symphony, among others.

Performance Timing: Approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, with no intermission.