Bar Laika presents Satellite 26: Amir ElSaffar

Bar Laika presents Satellite 26: Amir ElSaffar

Amir ElSaffar. Photo: Maria Baranova

Bar Laika presents Satellite 26: Amir ElSaffar

$10 entrance at the door

September 6, 2023, 8pm
Bar Laika by e-flux
224 Greene Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Join us at Bar Laika on Wednesday, September 6 at 8pm for the 26th edition of Satellite, featuring a live music performance by Amir ElSaffar. He will be presenting a newer project that includes modular synthesizer, voice, trumpet, and santur. After decades of mastering the traditions of Maqam, ElSaffar has in recent years been exploring modular synthesizers and integrating them into a new hybrid project—Maqamodular. 

Amir ElSaffar is an Iraqi-American composer, trumpeter, santur player, and vocalist working at the intersections of jazz, Western classical, and Maqam music of Iraq and the Middle East. An expert jazz trumpeter with a classical background, ElSaffar has created techniques to play microtones and ornaments idiomatic to Arabic music that are not typically heard on the trumpet. He is also one of the few musicians in his generation to master the centuries-old Iraqi maqam tradition, which he performs actively as a vocalist and santur (Iraqi hammered dulcimer) player. As a composer, ElSaffar has created a unique microtonal harmonic language that merges the Arabic maqam modal system with contemporary Western harmony. ElSaffar tours internationally with several ensembles, including his six-piece Two Rivers Ensemble and seventeen-piece Rivers of Sound Orchestra, which combine elements of jazz, contemporary music, and Maqam. He has received commissions from institutions in the US, Europe, and the Arab world, composing for symphony orchestras, string quartets and small chamber ensembles, large and small jazz ensembles, Middle Eastern music ensembles, as well as hybrid projects with Raga, Flamenco, and Subsaharan African trance music. ElSaffar was the composer-in-residence of the Transcultural Music program at the Royaumont Foundation in France (2016-2019), and was recipient of the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award (2013), United States Artists Fellowship (2018), and a Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University (2020-2021) and is currently an IDEA Resident with Opera America, to support the composition of a Maqam Opera in Arabic. 

Satellite is a monthly experimental music series curated by Sanna Almajedi. 

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