New Music by Jordanian, Palestinian, Iraqi and Lebanese composers


22. - 23. October 2004 Pergamon Museum Berlin



Many composers of contemporary classical music from Arab countries are obliged to pursue their profession abroad. This is often due to a lack of infrastructures supportive of their work at home or due to current political circumstances (as in Palestine or Iraq). In spite of the geographical distance, some of these composers retain close ties to their home countries, expressing this bond in various ways through their music. By contrast, other composers want to avoid being viewed as representatives of their countries or even as "exile composers", focusing instead on "merely" writing music. What is common to both groups, however, is that emigration or exile has profoundly affected their artistic work, be it through an intensified discovery of personal roots and identity or be it through the gradual process of integration into the musical and cultural scene of their chosen new country or city.


The "Tracing Migrations" project presents contemporary works of mostly younger-generation composers from four different Arab countries: altogether eight composers from Jordan, Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon have been invited to Berlin to introduce to the German public some of their recent work through two concerts, a panel discussion and an informal forum for conversation.

The concerts are performed by  Berlin's eminent ENSEMBLE UNITED BERLIN under the musical direction of Titus Engel. Small as well as larger pieces for chamber ensemble were chosen, in addition to electro-acoustic works. All of these works trace paths of musical and personal migration, experienced differently by each composer, through the use if elements from various traditions or highly personalized aesthetic idioms. The majority of these composers live and work abroad, in the so-called diaspora of metropolitan cities: Paris, London, Berlin, Dallas, but also in Amman (in the case of the two Iraqi composers Mohammad Uthman Sidiq and Agnes Bashir).

A panel discussion, presented in collaboration with the Berlin Society for New Music (BGNM), will explore the topic MIGRATION AND IDENTITY: PERSPECTIVES OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC IN ARAB COUNTRIES.


The regional focus of this project grows on the one hand out of the necessity of having to define limits to the scope of the project within the vast musical, cultural and political diversity found in the Arab World. On the other hand, the collaboration of TRACING MIGRATIONS with the State Museums of Berlin and its large-scale exhibit "Faces of the Orient" 10,000 Years of Art and Culture in Jordan" (October 2004 - January 2005) has provided a geographical center of focus: throughout the centuries Jordan and its capital has seen the influx of diverse regional Arab cultures and remains the home of many artists from Palestine, Iraq, ans Syria, among others.


It is my hope for the "Tracing Migrations"-project that such a festival concentrating on the creation of a forum for presenting the works of composers from Arab countries may increase the knowledge and understanding of and interest in their music and hence encourage further forms of exchange in the area of contemporary new music in the future.


- Oliver Schneller, project curator (October 2004)



TRACING MIGRATIONS is supported by the Capital Cultural Fund Berlin, the IMC at UNESCO, the Jordan Tourism Board, the Board of State Museums in Berlin/Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz, the Rotary Club Amman, and the Berliner Society for New Music.








"Tracing Migrations"

New Music by Jordanian, Palestinian, Iraqi and Lebanese composers


22. - 23. October 2004 Pergamon Museum Berlin






Mounir Anastas (Palestine/Paris)

Agnes Bashir (Iraq/Amman)

Ala Diab (Jordan/Amman)

Fouad Fakhouri (Lebanon/Dallas)  

Karim Haddad (Lebanon/Paris)

Saed Haddad (Jordan/London)

Iyad Mohammad (Jordan/Minsk)

Samir Odeh-Tamimi (Palestine/Berlin)

Mohammad Uthman Sidiq (Iraq/Amman)





Musical Direction: Titus Engel



Overview of Events



Friday, 22 October, 2004



20:30 Opening

Concert I: Pergamon Museum

Works by Anastas, Bashir, Fakhouri, Haddad, Mohammad, and Odeh-Tamimi

          Ensemble United Berlin





Saturday, 23 October 2004


14:30 - 15:30

Film-Screening, Museum-Cafe

"For Everyone Everywhere" (50 years UN-Human Rights Charta) Music: Simon Shaheen



Presentation (Hochschule fuer Musik "Hanns Eisler", Studiosaal)

Agnes Bashir: "The ARAB ALLIANCE OF WOMEN IN MUSIC. Role and Functions"


18:30- 20:00

Panel Discussion, Pergamon Museum - Ishtar Gate


Guest composers; Moderator: Oliver Schneller



Concert II: Pergamon-Museum

Works by Anastas, Diab, Fakhouri, Haddad, Lama, Uthman Sidiq and Odeh-Tamimi

          Ensemble United Berlin, Cond. Titus Engel





"Tracing Migrations"

New Music by Jordanian, Palestinian, Iraqi and Lebanese composers


22. - 23. October 2004 Pergamon Museum Berlin



Concert Programs



Concert I :                             Friday, 22 October 2004, 20:30, Pergamon Museum



• Mounir Anastas (P)           Gliss en Do for Violin solo

• Fouad Fakhouri (L)           Taqasim for Cello solo

• Iyad Mohamad (J)             Metamorphiosen for Clarinet and Piano

• Saed Haddad (J)               Take the Piano and Run! electro-acoustic work




• Karim Haddad (L)             Unus dies Electro-acoustic work with video

• Agnes Bashir (I)                Fantasia for piano

• Samir Odeh-Tamimi (P)  Li-um Kamel for Flute, Piano and Percussion

• Iyad Mohammad (J)          Stille Gebete for Violin, Cello und Piano






Concert II :                            Saturday, 23 October 2004, 20:30, Pergamon Museum



• Samir Odeh-Tamimi (P)  Ahinnu II for six instruments

• Fouad Fakhouri (L)           Gargoyle for six instruments

• Saed Haddad (J)               A Moral for seven instruments




• Ala Diab (J)                         Osmosys Electro-acoustic work with video

• Mounir Anastas (P)           Sentence funebre Electro-acoustic work

• M. Uthman Sidiq (I)           Elegy for String Quartet

• Saed Haddad (J)               Individuus for seven instruments

• Samir Odeh-Tamimi (P)  Anin for eight instruments


ENSEMBLE UNITED BERLIN, Conductor: Titus Engel









Capital Cultural Fund (Hauptstadtkulturfonds) Berlin

Jordan Tourism Board, Amman

Board of State Museums Berlin/Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz

Souk Ukaz/Middle East Center for Culture and Development, New York/Amman

Berlin Society for New Music (BGNM)

Cosmopolitan Rotary Club of Amman



Cooperation Partners


International Music Council of UNESCO, Paris

Jordan Academy of Music

National Music Conservatory of Jordan, Amman

Arab Alliance for Women in Music, Amman

University of the Arts (UdK), Berlin

Conservatory of Music "Hanns Eisler", Berlin



Media Partners


Tagesspiegel Berlin

Musicalink Amman











Projekt Coordination:

Dr. Oliver Martin Schneller