Inspired four years ago by visits to Arab, Jewish and Buddhist villages, a dream of breaking barriers between cultures in conflict was born. That dream has since become a reality and I am pleased to introduce you to Intercultural Journeys.
Intercultural Journeys explores and celebrates the commonalities and unique elements of each heritage, which, in turn, creates an opportunity for dialogue. We develop partnerships with local and international communities and organizations with strong ties to the specific cultures to be presented in our programs. It is our belief that beautiful performances done for the purpose of bringing people together, who might otherwise be in conflict, gives us the opportunity to play a small part in contributing to world peace. We are well traveled and have observed cultures of the East, West, and Middle East. We have also studied African American, Native American and Buddhist art forms.
Our powerful and original performances and dialogues have been attracting audiences with specific ties to the featured cultures, as well as art lovers and the general public. Collaborations with prominent performers, combined with media interest in covering our events, make us very confident that our mission will prevail. We invite your participation and support as we set forth on our journeys. Thank you so much for your consideration.
Intercultural Journeys Founding Members: Majid
Alsayegh, Udi Bar-David, Carole Haas Gravagno, and
Sheldon L. Thompson.
Udi Bar-David began his cello studies at the age of seven with Uzi Wiesel in Tel-Aviv, through funding of the American Israel Cultural foundation. He continued his studies at The Juilliard School with Leonard Rose, and later studied conducting at the Curtis Institute of Music with Max Rudolph. For more information about Udi Bar-David visit www.interculturaljourneys.org.
Mr. Bar-David is an acclaimed soloist in Israel having performed with Israel's leading orchestras, recorded at the Jerusalem Music center founded by Pablo Casals, and toured the country as a member of the Israeli Army Quartet. In 1976, he won the International Villa Lobos Competition in Brazil. He has been Principal Cellist in the International Youth Orchestra, at Juilliard, in the National Orchestra of New York, and with the American Ballet Theater. In addition, he has served on the faculty of the Eastern Music Festival. Winner of the 1984 WFLN Young Instrumentalist Competition, he has appeared as soloist with the Philly Pops under Peter Nero.
Mr. Bar-David was a member of the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, and became a member of The Philadelphia Orchestra in 1987. He has been affiliated with Astral Artistic Services and the Center for Jewish Culture and Creativity. He was featured in solo recitals of Spain and California, in a string quartet appearance on the TODAY show, and radio broadcasts with Network For New Music. Mr. Bar-David is a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra Board of Directors, and was the Artistic Coordinator for the Hear O Israel concert at the Core States Center. He has recently developed the Arab Jewish Musical Dialogue which brings artists of both cultures together on the same stage. He is also the founder of "Intercultural Journeys", a non-profit organization based in Philadelphia which is committed to producing performances, master classes, lectures, and other interactions that provide opportunities for musical dialogue and understanding among a variety of cultural traditions.
Violin virtuoso Hanna Khoury
is trained in both Western and Arabic styles. As the principal violinist of the
West East Divan Orchestra Workshop under Daniel Barenboim, Hanna has performed
with Yo Yo Ma. He has also collaborated with members of the Staatskapelle
Berlin in concerts in Malta and Israel. Recently Hanna has toured with Lebanese
superstar Fayruz and played lead violin with Egyptian singer Kazem El-Saher and
with Simon Shaheen at the Cairo Opera house. Hanna has studied with Shlomo Mintz,
Hagai Shaham, Mark Kaplan and Arthur Zisserman and is the recipient of the
America Israel Scholarship and Qattan Foundation Award. Most recently Hanna
recorded a violin solo on the song Love & Compassion featuring vocalists Kazem
El-Saher and Gramy Award winner Paula Cole.
Margot Leverett is one of the foremost of the new generation of klezmer clarinetists. Classically trained at Indiana University School of Music, she was involved in avant-garde music when she first heard klezmer, the dynamic East European music traditionally played at Jewish weddings. Leverett was a founding member of the Klezmatics in 1985 before moving on to establish a solo career. Her first CD, "The Art of Klezmer Clarinet," a tribute to classic klezmer of the 20's and 30's, was released in 2001 on Traditional Crossroads (CD4296) to glowing reviews.
Her current project, "Margot Leverett and the Klezmer Mountain Boys" is an all-star band combining the best of bluegrass and klezmer. Their self-titled CD, released to rave reviews in 2002, was choreographed by the Paul Taylor Dance Company in a new work entitled "Klezmerbluegrass". This year Margot Leverett is a featured guest soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, along with Udi Bar-David and the artists of Intercultural Journeys, a concert and cultural organization to promote intercultural dialogue. www.philorch.org. She has toured Japan twice with The New York Ragtime Orchestra and has been featured in several Off-Broadway productions.
Margot Leverett was a staff instructor at KlezKamp for over 10 years and has
also taught at KlezKanada, Klezkamp West, Klezmerquerque, and at colleges, music
festivals, and Jewish organizations across the country. She leads a monthly
community Klezmer jam session at her synagogue in Astoria, Queens
www.AstoriaCenter.org and has
also used this format to involve community musicians in klezmer in other
Steeped in both the musical traditions of the Arab Middle East and jazz, Syrian born Kareem Roustom is an award winning composer who has worked with a varied group of artists ranging from Shakira to the Philadelphia orchestra. Most recently, Kareem wrote a string arrangement for the Shakira and Wyclef Jean performance on the 2007 Grammy Awards and the arrangement for the Shakira and Beyonce' duet on "Beautiful Liar."
Kareem was also commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra to compose a piece for small group and orchestra using themes from the Arab world. This commissioned work, "Upon Eastern Breezes", was premiered in February of 2007 under the baton of Shizuo Kuwahara. In October of 2006 Kareem's score for the award-winning documentary Encounter Point, won the Best Musical Score Award at the Bend Film Festivals in Bend, Oregon. Directed by Ronit Avni, and edited and co-written by Julia Bacha (Control Room) Encounter Point has been screened at film festivals world wide to critical acclaim. Some of Kareem's credits as a composer and orchestrator of film and television music include compositions and/or arrangements for Paramount Pictures, Fox Pictures, MTV, NBC, Lifetime, Showtime and several award winning independent films. For recording and film credits please scroll down.
Kareem has also produced, arranged and performed on album projects ranging in
style from jazz, to classical Arabic music, to medieval and renaissance music,
to pop. His most recent recording project was with the renowned early music
ensemble The Boston Camerata. The group's new release, A Mediterranean Christmas
(Warner Classics), featuring Kareem on oud (arabic lute) and guitar, was listed
in the top ten classical albums of 2005 by the Boston Globe and by the Canadian
Broadcasting Company's classical music critic. In January 2005 Kareem and
his group, El-Zafeer Ensemble, released a CD entitled Almitra's Question.
Inspired by the writings of Khalil Gibran, Almitra's Question has received
airplay around the U.S.A. and Europe, and has received excellent reviews.
Rolando Morales-Matos is currently one of the solo percussionists and assistant conductor with Disney’s production of The Lion King, Broadway New York - recipient of six 1998 Tony Awards including Best Musical, as well as the 1999 Grammy for Best Musical Show Album. Rolando holds adjunct professor positions at both Duquesne University and Curtis Institute of Music and maintains a busy schedule giving clinics and master classes at many universities. Rolando is a well sought after Latin Percussionist and performs and records regularly in New York with various Latin jazz groups. Rolando is the percussionist in William Cepeda Afro Rican Jazz. Rolando is a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra Percussion Group, Extra- Percussionist with The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra and when needed, with The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Percussionist Rolando Morales-Matos began his musical studies at the prestigious high school for the performing arts, Escuela Libre de Musica. He received his BFA in music from Carnegie Mellon University, his MA from Duquesne University, and went on to complete his Certificate of Professional Studies at Temple University.
Rolando returned to Puerto Rico to perform with the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra and teach at his high school alma mater. While in Puerto Rico Rolando also toured the Caribbean, United States and Europe with many salsa and popular bands. Rolando’s professional career has taken him all over the world, from Spain to New Zealand, where he has held principal timpani and percussion positions with their state orchestras. Rolando has given clinics at PASIC in 1999 and 2001, sharing the stage with Nexus Percussion Group as soloist. Rolando is an active artist and clinician for Pearl Drum and Adams Musical Instruments.
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