Syrian Music Preservation Initiative – Home

Upcoming Events

Syrian Chamber Music Series Evening 2

| Hungarian House - 213 E 82nd St, New York, NY 10028

The Syrian Music Preservation Initiative (SMPI) is delighted to announce the eagerly anticipated Syrian Chamber Music Series, events celebrating the rich tapestry of Syrian musical heritage.

Led by Artistic Director, Samer Ali, alongside an ensemble of talented musicians including maestro Mohammad Qadri Dalal (oud), Marissa Ali (bass), Marwa Morgan (voice), Gideon Forbes (nay), and Nezih Antakli (riq), these concerts promise to transport audiences to the heart of Syrian musical tradition. The takht (Arab chamber ensemble) will showcase selections from the Syrian and Arab repertoire, offering a rare glimpse into the authentic sounds of this genre as they were originally performed - in a home-like setting with audience interaction. To reinforce the intimacy of the event, the group will remove the barrier of the stage and surround themselves with the audience.

Syrian Music Preservation Initiative is a recipient of a 2024 grant from Chamber Music America's Artistic Projects program, funded through the generosity of The Howard Gilman Foundation, for the Syrian Chamber Music Series.


Previous Events

Syrian Chamber Music Series Evening 1

City Lore - 56 E 1st St, New York, NY 10003

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An Afternoon of Syrian Music

Katonah Museum of Art (134 Jay St. Katonah, NY 10536)

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Muwashah in Huzam maqam | Roulette

Muwashah Ghazalon Zarani, composed by Khalil Haj Hussein from Latakia, Syria. The piece is in Huzam maqam and Murabba’ rhythm (13/4) and was performed by Takht al-Nagham featuring Lubana al-Quntar in March 2022 as part of a concert co-produced by Robert Browning Associates and Roulette Intermedium.

Performing Groups

Takht al-Nagham

Takht al-nagham is SMPI's performing ensemble. Based in New York City, the group features a traditional Takht (Arab chamber music group). “Nagham” is the Arabic word for melody; it is commonly used as a synonym for the Arab Maqam system. The Takht is committed to performing the classical and folk Syrian repertoire with traditional acoustic instruments. In order to familiarize audiences in the U.S. with the original structure of the musical traditions, the Takht presents its sets (called Waslah) in the manner that they were originally performed. The Takht includes skilled Syrian and non-Syrian musicians who perform without reading from sheet music, rely heavily on improvisations, and are deeply immersed in the Syrian musical tradition.

As a part of some performances Takht al-Nagham includes the Samah Dance. This dance (Raqs al-Samah in Arabic) is a centuries old Syrian dance that accompanies the Muwashahat musical form. It is a group dance designed as an interaction between males and females in an elegant and eloquent expressive milieu. It has a spiritual character incorporating both foot and hand movements which requires dancers to be very familiar with the complex rhythmic and melodic content of every Muwashah piece. The development of Samah mirrors that of classical Syrian music.

The Takht al-Nagham logo was created by celebrated Syrian artist Mouneer al-Shaarani.