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October 29, 2007
Contact: Deborah Baum
(401) 863-2476

Pianist Saleem Abboud Ashkar to Perform, Lead Master Class

Renowned Palestinian-Israeli pianist Saleem Abboud Ashkar will visit Brown University Nov. 9-11, 2007. In addition to presenting a piano recital and offering a workshop for Brown students, Abboud Ashkar will participate in a panel discussion focusing on the role of the humanities in bridging cultural differences on an international level.

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Brown University will host renowned Palestinian-Israeli pianist Saleem Abboud Ashkar as a visiting artist from Friday, Nov. 9, to Sunday, Nov. 11, 2007. He will perform a piano recital, lead a workshop for Brown music students, and participate in a film screening and panel discussion. All events are free and open to the public


The visit marks Abboud Ashkar’s second trip to Brown University. He was on campus in December 2006 with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and the internationally acclaimed conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim. The group participated in a series of events and workshops, including an open rehearsal with the Brown Orchestra and a public concert at VMA Arts and Cultural Center in Providence.

“Brown is once again proud to host the accomplished and inspiring young pianist Saleem Abboud Ashkar,” said James Baker, professor of music and chair of the Department of Music. “His devotion to the music of the Western classical tradition is testament to the abiding significance of art music, not as a mere enhancement to our lives, but as a source of healing and strength in times of adversity.”

On Friday, Nov. 9, 2007, Abboud Ashkar will discuss the role of the humanities in bridging cultural differences on an international level in a conversation with Katherine Bergeron, professor of music and dean of the College, and Michael Steinberg, director of the Cogut Center for the Humanities. The discussion will be preceded by the world premiere of Listening to the World: Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra at Brown, a short film produced by the Cogut Center and Udris Film, documenting the 3-day residency of Barenboim and the 100 young musicians at Brown in 2006. The event begins at 5 p.m. in Grant Recital Hall, located behind the Orwig Music Building on the corner of Hope Street and Young Orchard Avenue.

Abboud Ashkar will also perform a piano recital on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2007, featuring works by Brahms, Haydn, Beethoven, and Chopin. The concert begins at 8 p.m. in Sayles Hall, located on The College Green. On Sunday, Nov. 11, 2007, he will lead a master class for four students in Brown’s applied music piano program. The class begins at 2 p.m. in Grant Recital Hall. The public is invited to observe.

Abboud Ashkar’s visit to Brown is co-sponsored by the Department of Music and the Cogut Center for the Humanities, with additional support from the Creative Arts Council and the Offices of the President, Provost, and Dean of the College.

Saleem Abboud Ashkar

Born in 1976 in Nazareth, Palestinian-Israeli pianist Saleem Abboud Ashkar studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London and at the Hochschule für Musik in Hannover, Germany.

He appears frequently with the major Israeli orchestras, including the Israel Philharmonic and Jerusalem Symphony, and performs regularly with conductors such as Zubin Mehta, Daniel Barenboim, Riccardo Muti, Lawrence Foster, Sebastian Weigle and Vladimir Fedoseyev. Abboud Ashkar made his New York Carnegie Hall debut at the age of 22. In 2006, he played concerts with the Vienna Philharmonic at the Salzburg Festival (Mozart), where he also gave a solo recital at the Mozarteum. Further engagements in 2006 included the prestigious Risør Festival, the Ravinia (Chicago Symphony) and Menton Festivals, as well as his debut with the Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra (Schumann) and the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (Beethoven).

In 2007, Abboud Ashkar plays the Grieg concerto with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra on the centennial anniversary of the composer’s death. The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra will go on tour with Abboud Ashkar as soloist (Beethoven) to appear in Amsterdam and Copenhagen under Zubin Mehta. He will also be soloist in a concert in Tel Aviv, conducted by Riccardo Muti, and will make his recital debut at the Lucerne Festival. Riccardo Chailly invited Abboud Ashkar to play Mendelssohn with the Gewandhaus Orchestra under his direction during the 2008-09 season. He will also play with the Dresden Philharmonic and the Grieg Concerto under Okko Kamu with Vienna’s Musikvereinssaal in spring 2008. Abboud Ashkar’s highly acclaimed debut CD was released by EMI in 2005.

Editors: Brown University has a fiber link television studio available for domestic and international live and taped interviews, and maintains an ISDN line for radio interviews. For more information, call (401) 863-2476.