Encircling the World: Zithers!

Different cultures, similar instruments, shared musical meanings. This second installment of our ongoing ‘instrumental families’ concert project focuses on zithers, dulcimers and psalteries from Egypt, Indonesia, China and Iran. Join us as four master musicians play solos, talk about their instruments and music, play together, and answer questions from the audience.

The musicians:

BILL PARSONS, kacapi; AMIN REIHANI, santour; LINA CAO, guzheng; and GEORGE DIMITRI SAWA, qanun

Saturday November 30, 2019 @ 7:30 p.m. at the Heliconian Hall, 35 Hazelton Avenue, Toronto

The first Encircling the World concert last March was a resounding success and we’re sure this evening will be, too! Tickets available in advance here: https://bemusednetwork.com/events/detail/652

It’s a small performance space – get your tickets now to secure your spot! Tickets will also be available at the door.

Amin Reihani is an Iranian traditional musician who has started his journey of music since he was 10. He was amazed by the sound of traditional instrument called: “Santour”, when he first heard it and since then he could not stop playing, exploring, and creating with it. He continued his professionalism by mastering his skills at the University of Tehran where he had the opportunity to work with some of the master musicians there including Majid Kiani, Hossein Alizadeh, Daryoush Talaiei, Reza Monazami… and participating in variety of performances at the university or other festivals. He finished his bachelor of music in 2000 and right after started his new journey of teaching and composing by opening his own music school; “Aref Music School”. He has 20 years of experience in teaching until he chose to immigrate to Canada and start a new era in his path. Here in Toronto he had the opportunity to work with great musicians such as Naser Masoudi, Sepideh Raissadate and Ali Rostamian. He played for 4 years with a newly founded band, Sarv Ensemble in different festivals; Tirgan, De Monde Arab, Botanical garden, and other private performances in different cities. In 2018, Amin decided to take further steps and founded Navak Ensemble to perform and record his compositions as well as music from past masters.  He invited the best musicians in town and they started a new experience together. Amin is a dedicated and detailed teacher of Santour, Radif, and Iranian music ensemble.

Based in Toronto, Bill Parsons is a creative artist who composes, performs, and teaches music drawing on his experiences in jazz, classical, world, popular, and improvised music. Bill plays electric & acoustic guitars, kacapi (20-string plucked zither), gamelan, and glass instruments and often composes for the ensembles he performs with (Mosaic, Timar-Parsons Duo, Glass Orchestra, and Evergreen Club). Bill works with Blair Mackay (since 1985), Evergreen Club Gamelan (since 1994), Glass Orchestra (since 2000), and Chuck Samuels (since 1988). He also produces film soundtracks, audio recordings, instructional videos, and teaches at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto. He has received several grants (Canada Council, Ontario Arts Council, and Toronto Arts Council) and made numerous recordings as leader and collaborator.

George Sawa was born in Alexandria, Egypt. He has over 50 years experience in Arabic music performance, history and theory and has performed and lectured extensively worldwide: Canada, USA, Brazil, Mexico, Europe (Spain, Italy, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Greece) and the Middle East (Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates). He studied piano with Mme Irene Drakides, herself a student of the famed educator Alfred Cortot. He studied qanun, theory and voice at the Higher Institute of Arabic Music. After immigrating to Canada, he studied ethnomusicology at the University of Toronto, and obtained his doctorate in historical Arabic musicology. George Sawa has taught graduate and undergraduate courses on medieval, modern, and religious music of the Middle East at the University of Toronto and at York University. He is the author of Music Performance Practice in the Early cAbbasid Era. 132-320 AH/750-932 AD; Rhythmic Theories and Practices in Arabic Writings to 339AH/950 CE (Ottawa: The Institute of Mediaeval Music, 2004 and 2009); and An Arabic Musical and Socio-Cultural Glossary of Kitab al-Aghani (The Book of Songs) of al-Isbahani (d. 971) (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2015); Erotica, Love, and Humor in Arabia. Spicy Stories from the Book of Songs of al-Isfahani (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, 2016); Musical and Socio-Cultural Arnecdotes from Kitab al-Aghani. Annotated Translations and Commentaries (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2019). He is presently working on a translation of an 11th-century music dictionary written in Cairo.

Lina Cao, a young guzheng musician, is also a member of the guzheng Society of Chinese Musicians Association and Toronto Musicians Association (TMA 149). Lina was taught by Professor Wang Wei, a Guzheng player and an educator in Shanghai Conservatory of Music. She received master’s degree in Shanghai Conservatory of Music in 2016. Lina Cao received popular acclaim when she held guzheng solo concerts and chamber-music concerts in many cities in China. She has been invited to visit many Asian and European countries for artistic exchanges. Lina was invited to attend Sino-Japanese Friendship Concert and was awarded an international gratitude certificate of “The Cause of World Peace” in 2011. In 2015, Lina was unanimously applauded when she played the Chinese zither concerto “Qinhuai Capriccio” with Jiangsu Nationalities Orchestra. Moreover, the performance was taped by The WFMT Radio the Network website from Chicago. Moyu Guzheng Group mainly played by Cao Lina is the first guzheng philharmonic society who won the two most authoritative awards of China: the highest music award “The Golden Bell Awards” and top prize of Chinese Ministry of Culture “Wenhua Award”.After living in Canada, Lina Cao was invited to premieres many pieces of music like Reincarnation, Tempered Moon, Buddha’s Song, and an opera The Monkiest King in cooperation with the Chinese Radio and Film Symphony Orchestra, the Music Department of the University of Toronto, the Canadian Children’s Opera Company, the Toronto Chinese Orchestra, etc. Lina Cao became a young guzheng player who was active in the Canadian music stage.