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Kinan Azmeh, internationally renowned Syrian clarinetist, with First Church’s own Jean Schneider, pianist. This concert is free and open to the public.


Kinan Azmeh has been hailed as a “Virtuoso” and “Intensely Soulful” by the New York Times and “Spellbinding” by the New Yorker, and “Incredibly Rich Sound” by the CBC.  His utterly distinctive sound across different musical genres has gained him international recognition as clarinetist and composer.  Kinan was recently named composer-in-residence with Classical Movements for the 2017-2018 season.

Kinan has been touring the world as soloist, composer and improviser.  Notable appearances include: Opera Bastille, Paris; Tchaikovsky Grand Hall, Moscow; Carnegie Hall and the UN’s General Assembly, New York; the Royal Albert Hall, London; Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires; der Philharmonie, Berlin; the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center, Washington DC; the Mozarteum, Salzburg; Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie; and the Damascus opera house for its opening concert in his native Syria.

He has appeared as soloist with the New York Philharmonic, the Seattle Symphony, the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, the Qatar Philharmonic and the Syrian Symphony Orchestra among others, and has shared the stage with Yo-Yo Ma, Marcel Khalife, Aynur, Daniel Barenboim and Jivan Gasparian.

His compositions include several works for solo, orchestra, and chamber music, film, live illustration, and electronics.  Recent commissions include works for the New York Philharmonic, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and a new clarinet concerto for the Seattle Symphony, as well as recording original music for Bob Wilson’s recent production of Oedipus Rex.  He leads  his Arabic/Jazz quartet the Kinan Azmeh CityBand and his Hewar Ensemble and serves as artistic director of the Damascus Festival Chamber Players, a pan-Arab ensemble dedicated to contemporary music form the Arab world.  He is also a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble with whom he was awarded a Grammy in 2017.

Kinan is a graduate of New York’s Juilliard school as a student of Charles Neidich, and of both the Damascus High institute of Music where he studied with Shukry Sahwki, Nicolay Viovanof and Anatoly Moratof, and Damascus University’s School of Electrical Engineering in his native Syria.  Kinan earned his doctorate degree in music from the City University of New York in 2013.

Jean Schneider began her piano studies at the Settlement Music School in Philadelphia at age seven, and by the age of fifteen had performed three times as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra. In addition to other orchestral appearances, she has been heard in recital in the United States and Europe, as well as in numerous radio broadcasts. An active chamber musician, she has collaborated with other artists in concerts throughout the U.S. and in Europe and is Associate Piano Faculty at the Sarasota Music Festival and guest artist faculty at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music in New Hampshire. Ms. Schneider earned her bachelor and masters degrees from the University of Southern California, a doctorate in performance from Stony Brook University, and studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg as a Fulbright scholar. 

Earlier Event: May 18
Twenties & Thirties Hike
Later Event: June 2
Spring Membership Class