Kinan Azmeh: Clarinet, Composer
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, Kinan Azmeh is one of Syriaâ€™s rising stars. His utterly distinctive sound across different musical genres is now fast gaining international recognition.
Born in Damascus, Kinan was the first Arab to win the premier prize at the 1997 Nicolai Rubinstein International Competition, Moscow. A graduate of New Yorkâ€™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 Universityâ€™s School of Electrical Engineering. Kinan earned his doctorate degree in music from the City University of New York in 2013.
Kinan has appeared worldwide as a soloist, composer and improviser. Notable appearances include: Opera Bastille, Paris,Tchaikovsky Grand Hall, Moscow, Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall and the UNâ€™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 and the Damascus opera house for its opening concert in his native Syria.
He has appeared as soloist with the Bavarian radio orchestra, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, the NDR big-band, the Kiev Camerata, the Knights Orchestra, the Izmir State Opera Orchestra, the Corasara Orchestra, the Osnabruck Symphony, the Morgenland Festival Orchestra, the Qatar Philharmonic , the New Juilliard Ensemble and the Syrian Symphony Orchestra among others, and has shared the stage with Yo-Yo Ma, Marcel Khalife, Aynur, Daniel Barenboim, Jivan Gasparian, Zakir Hussein Francois Rabbath, Simon Shaheen, Solhi-al-Wadi, Calefax Reed Quintet, and members of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, among others.
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 a recent album with his New York Arabic/Jazz quartet. He serves as artistic director of the Damascus Festival Chamber Music Ensemble, with whom he released an album of new contemporary Syrian chamber music written especially for the ensemble by various composers and is also 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 Maâ€™s Silk Road Ensemble.