Simon Shaheen is one of the most significant Arab musicians, performers and composers of his generation. His work reflects a legacy of Arabic music while forging ahead, deftly leaping from traditional structures to jazz and western classical sounds. A Palestinian native whose father, Hikmat Shaheen, was a professor of music and master oud player, Shaheen’s childhood was steeped in music. In the early 80s, he moved to New York City, and has since been at the forefront of Arabic music studies and practice in the US, receiving a National Heritage Award at The White House in 1994. Shaheen is joined by virtuosic young musician Firas Zreik on kanun, a Palestinian musician and composer who was also brought up in a musical family. Beginning serious study of Arabic music at age 11, Zreik later became an essential member of the band supporting his mother, Amal Murkus, a renowned Palestinian singer. He now studies jazz composition and performance at Berklee College of Music.
Mike Marshall is a mandolinist of the highest order, equally at home performing the music of Bach, Brazilian choro and Bill Monroe. Since its origin in 2012, Marshall has been Director of Acoustic Music Seminar, and has performed at SMF with a variety of projects. Marshall made his Carnegie Hall debut at age 20 with the David Grisman Quintet and Stéphane Grappelli, and has been at the forefront of new acoustic music ever since. This special production pairs Marshall with Jovino Santos Neto, a three-time Latin Grammy nominee, master pianist, composer and arranger, and one of the top Brazilian musicians working today.
***Please note: Due to illness, the Toumani & Sidiki Diabaté tour has been cancelled. For the A World of Strings program, they are being replaced by the Arabic music duo of oud master Simon Shaheen and kanun virtuoso Firas Zreik.