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International artists light up the First International Music Festival at AUS
Bringing beautiful melodies and rhythms from all across the world, American University of Sharjah (AUS) kicked off its First International Music Festival this week with a vibrant, headlining concert by Palestinian-American soprano Feryal Qudourah and Brazilian pianist Dr. Guilherme Godoi that featured classical Western songs and arias, Brazilian songs, Arabic favorites and even some popular Bollywood numbers. The concert, which was held at the Arts Rotunda on campus, drew a large appreciative audience that comprised students, faculty, campus community as well as members of the public.
The festival, which will run until February 1, will feature a range of accomplished international artists performing a wide variety of musical genres. Ayman Tayseer, Nasser Salameh and Abdelhalim Al Khatib presented A Night of Tarrab on January 30 which took the audience back to the golden days of two of Arabic music’s great classical singers: Mohammed Abdel Wahab and Abdel Halim Hafez. Blending with “mawaweel,” these traditional melodies brought back memories of well-known Arabic heritage songs. Ayman Tayseer also be performed songs from famous Sufi poetry collections.
The following evening will see Dr. Deborah Popham, soprano, and Dr. Matthew Hoch, baritone, accompanied by Dr. Guilherme Godoi, present a lively recital of solos and duets featuring classical standards and Broadway favorites. The festival will conclude on February 1, with a gala concert that will feature visiting guest artists as well as students and faculty members from several prestigious universities bringing Western and Arabic music to life.
Speaking on the importance of this festival, Dr. Mahmoud Anabtawi, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said:
“We are very pleased to hold the First International Music Festival at AUS. The aim of this festival is to celebrate music and to promote its significant and active role in the liberal arts education that we provide at AUS. The theme for this year – Where East Meets West – celebrates the 20th anniversary of our university and brings together musicians from the United States, Jordan, Brazil and the UAE. The festival features lectures and masterclasses for undergraduate music students from selected universities provided by a team of internationally recognized guest artists along with an assortment of music concerts each evening.”
Dr. Sherri Weiler, Associate Professor of Music, and Director of the AUS First International Music Festival, said:
“We have assembled here an extraordinary group of artists who have dedicated their lives to music in both the professional and academic arenas. Music for many of us is something more than an activity, a hobby, or even a profession. It becomes our way of life, a way of experiencing the world, and a way to reflect on the events that shape our societies. Our humble contribution to the art form during the course of this week is simply continuing traditions begun by our ancestors, both Middle Eastern and Western, which are hundreds of years old. We honor and respect those traditions by joining our cultures here to pass along skills and knowledge that continue to inspire future generations to explore their creative impulses.”
Known for staging a range of dynamic and diverse artistic activities in the emirate, AUS is committed to playing its part in keeping aloft Sharjah’s well-earned reputation as the region’s cultural capital.
During the festival week, a host of masterclasses and lectures conducted by the artists will also be held for interested students and community members.