Syria and the 2018 Festival

Syria and the 2018 Festival

Maya Youssef

Maya Youssef, the much-admired virtuoso player of the Qanun (a Middle Eastern 78-string plucked zither), will give a concert in the beautiful setting of St. Andrew’s in Grinton on 6 June, alongside her regular colleagues Elizabeth Nott (percussion) and Barney Morse-Brown (cello).

Maya moved to London from Syria under the Arts Council’s ‘Exceptional Talent’ scheme, and she is conducting research for a PhD in music education at SOAS, University of London. She has played at the BBC Proms and appeared in concert with Damon Albarn.

Maya’s exquisite set will take the audience on a “personal journey through the six years of war in Syria” with constantly changing moods - from sorrow to hope. As well as evocative traditional music of Syria, the programme will include some of Maya’s own compositions which are largely based on traditional Arabic scales and modes, but also contain elements of jazz and flamenco.

Swaledale Festival is collaborating with other local charities to invite to the concert some of the Syrians who have recently arrived in Richmondshire under the North Yorkshire Syrian Refugee Resettlement Scheme.

The concert is presented in collaboration with Reeth Memorial Hall Productions.

Maya Youssef schools workshops - The Seven Gates of Damascus

As part of Swaledale Festival’s extensive Community and Educational Programme, Maya Youssef and her musicians will conduct a series of sessions with students in three local secondary schools during their stay in the Dales.

Entitled The Seven Gates of Damascus, the sessions will take the form of interactive music and storytelling workshops in which participants will be taken on a journey through seven gates towards ‘home’ or a peaceful place - a structure inspired by Syrian refugee children’s journey from their homeland towards places of refuge. At each gate, students will be offered choices and opportunities to use their imaginations.

In addition to looking at the plights of Syria’s civil war victims, students will hear Maya’s trio perform live. They’ll learn about the vernacular music of the country, as well as the visual art of the region - aspects of the rich culture of Syria which they may not encounter in the media coverage of the terrible conflict there.

In Damascus by Jonathan Dove - Sunday 3 June at 19:30

In Damascus is a song cycle for tenor soloist and string quartet by the celebrated British composer Jonathan Dove which sets, in translation, the words of Syrian poet Ali Safar - a bleak vision of ineffably historical beauty torn apart by indiscriminate war. The work was commissioned by the Sacconi Quartet in 2016.

The ever-popular Sacconi Quartet will perform this beautiful and uplifting piece with the renowned tenor James Gilchrist in St. Andrew’s, Grinton on 3 June. The quartet will also perform Haydn’s String Quartet Op.55 No.2 ‘The Razor’ and Janáček’s String Quartet No.2 ‘Intimate Letters’.





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