The Al-Bustan Takht Ensemble will perform in concert at Grinnell College on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018. The ensemble will be part of a collaborative performance with the Grinnell Singers. Together, they will perform music that combines Arab musical traditions with European choral and instrumental traditions.

The concert, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 2 p.m. in Sebring Lewis Hall in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, 1108 Park St., Grinnell.

The concert features the Midwestern premiere of two new works by Syrian-American composers Kareem Roustom and Kinan Abou-afach. Their music revisits the past of Arabs in Andalusia by setting to music poetry that originated in Islamic Spain. These works contextualize traditional poetry within contemporary compositions, speaking to modern Arab concerns and to Arab reflections in the Diaspora.

Watch John Rommereim, professor of music, interview Kareem Roustom about his music, Embroidered Verses:

Formed in 2011, the Al-Bustan Takht Ensemble is an initiative of Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture, which is dedicated to presenting and teaching Arab culture through the arts and language. The ensemble includes virtuoso musicians Kinan Abou-afach, cellist and composer, and Hafez Kotain, percussionist. Abou-afrach and Kotain have received the prestigious Pew Fellowship in the Arts.

Based in Philadelphia, Al-Bustan Takht has performed with renowned musicians across the world, from prominent orchestras in both Western and Arab traditions to folk and pop artists such as Marcel Khalife and Shakira. The ensemble also performs in the Al-Bustan Music Concert Series and leads educational activities in the community and with Al-Bustan Digital Education.

Grinnell College's Public Events Program, Music Department, Center for Global Engagement and Center for Humanities are supporting this event.


While this performance is free, tickets are required.

Tickets will be available starting Feb. 21 from the box office in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts during open hours from noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Phone reservations are not accepted, but those interested may call the box office at 641-269-4444 during open hours to determine if tickets are still available.

A limited number of tickets are also available beginning at noon on the first distribution date from the Pioneer Bookshop in downtown Grinnell.

Grinnell College welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.

The College welcomes the presence of minors at all age-appropriate public events and for informal visits, with the understanding that a parent, legal guardian, or other responsible adult assumes full responsibility for their child’s safety and behavior during such visits or events. In these cases, the College expects that an adult responsible for the visiting child takes measures to ensure the child’s safety and sees that the child complies with directions of College personnel. Grinnell College is not responsible for supervision of minors on campus.

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