Artist Spotlight: Simon Shaheen and his band Qantara

Simon Shaheen, called one of the most significant Arab musicians of his generation, is a virtuoso on both the lute-like oud and the violin, bridging Western classical, jazz and traditional Arabic music with both “mesmerizing frenzy” and “quiet tenderness,” according to ARAMCO World Magazine. A Palestinian born in the Galilee area, Shaheen grew up playing both instruments, and studied at the Conservatory for Western Classical Music in Jerusalem, later teaching there before completing graduate studies at the Manhattan School of Music and Columbia University. He now divides his time between performing and teaching at institutions like the Juilliard School of Music, Brown, Harvard, Yale and Princeton universities. His Arab-jazz-classical-Latin fusion band Qantara tours international festivals. Select Discography: 1990 – Music of Waheeb, Mango/Island/PolyGram 1990 – The Music of Mohamed Abdel Wahab, Axiom/Island/PolyGram 1992 – Turath (Heritage), CMP 1993 – Taqasim: Art of Improvisation in Arabic Music 1996 – Saltanah (with V. M. Bhatt), Water Lily Acoustics 2001 – Blue Flame, Ark 21/Universal

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