Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings, Arab American National Museum present Khashb wa Kheit خشب وخيط
DEARBORN, Mich. (Oct. 1, 2018) – Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings (DCWS)will be kicking off its 2018-19 Signature Serieswith Khashb wa Kheit خشب وخيط: An Evening of Chamber Music by Arab American Composers on Friday, Oct. 19 at 8 p.m. at the Arab American National Museum (13624 Michigan Ave, Dearborn, MI 48126). This collaboration between DCWS and one of the metro area’s most prominent cultural institutions, the Arab American Nation Museum (AANM), consists of DCWS musicians performing several chamber works from prominent Arab American composers, including Suad Bushnaq, Mohammed Fairouz and metro Detroit native Michael Ibrahim.
“[DCWS] has been interested in working with the Arab American National Museum for quite some time, and this combination of our musicians with prominent Arab American voices in the music community seemed like the perfect fit,” says Maury Okun, President of DCWS. “Not only do we get to bring our organizations together for one special event, but this performance gives both our performers and audience the opportunity to experience incredible works they may not have otherwise.”
Literally translated to Wood and Strings, Khashb wa Kheit خشب وخيط is the first collaboration between DCWS and AANM. “This concert has been a long time coming,” says Kathryn Grabowski, AANM’s humanities program coordinator. “And based on our research, it will be the first contemporary chamber music concert comprised entirely of music by Arab American composers, all of whom are living. Sourcing the music was the most exciting part for our team, as there is a plethora of amazing pieces to choose from.”
The works being performed consist of several instruments from the western classical music tradition – such as the violin, viola, cello and clarinet – alongside traditional Arabic instruments like the oud in a merging of ideas from Middle Eastern, Arab and western music. While deeply rooted in traditional music of the Middle East, the instrumentation and composition of the pieces defy categorizing them as only that, allowing them to bridge the gap between western and eastern music while also defining them as works of chamber music.
“I believe that, just as other communities of color, Arab American representation in the classical music world could be improved, especially in North America as I feel that there’s more representation in Europe,” says composer Suad Bushnaq, whose 2017 work, The Borrowed Dress,will be featured during the Oct. 19 event. “Personally, I’ve been blending Middle Eastern and Arab influences in my music with western elements since before becoming an Arab American, and having been classically trained on the piano since the age of five and having lived in a house filled with my father’s classical music cassettes and vinyl records while also listening to Arabic music, my exposure to western music was simultaneous to my exposure to Arabic music.”
Each work performed during the event has a significance from both a musical and personal perspective, as each piece’s overall message is fully representative of the identity of the respective composer. In Bushnaq’s case, language is used as a vehicle for emphasizing her identity to listeners.
“I use both of my languages in my writing extensively and I’ve never seen it as a struggle but rather an opportunity to create more color and interest in my work,” Bushnaq says. “It’s been my mandate since I started composing to blend both worlds, and I’m always fascinated by music that blends two or more musical languages together. My goal is to create beautiful, mesmerizing music that utilizes both languages in a complementary way that lets each of these languages shine.”
Select Fall 2018 programs at AANM are possible in part by Comerica, Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs and the Nissan Foundation. Media support comes from CJAM-FM and Downtown Monitor.
For press tickets or inquiries, please contact Brandon Coulter at
248-559-2095 or coulterand Kim Silarski at 313-624-0206 or ksilarski.
Tickets to “Khashb wa Kheit خشب وخيط : An Evening of Chamber Music by Arab American Composers” are $15 for General and $10 for Museum Members and can be purchased online at www.arabamericanmuseum.org/KhashbwaKheit.
About Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings
Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings is an ensemble committed to bringing to life the body of repertoire that utilizes between six and 20 musicians. DCWS musicians are drawn primarily from the Detroit Symphony and Michigan Opera Theatre orchestras. Now in its 37th year, Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings presents three distinct concert series. More information at detroitchamberwinds.org.
About Arab American National Museum
The Arab American National Museum (AANM) documents, preserves and presents Arab American history, culture and contributions.AANM is a national institution of Dearborn, Mich.-based human-services agency ACCESS, the largest Arab American community nonprofit in the U.S. AANM is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums; an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution; and a founding member of the Immigration and Civil Rights Network of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.Visit www.arabamericanmuseum.org or call 313.582.2266 for further information.
What is Chamber Music?
Chamber music is traditionally viewed as a form of classical music that is composed for a small group of instruments – traditionally a group that could fit in a palace chamber or a large room. Described as “the music of friends,” chamber music engages both performer and audience in an intimate artistic dialogue not only through its casual settings but also in its descriptive storytelling nature and requirement of special musical and social skills not found in symphonic works. Chamber music eliminates any divide between audience and performer by engaging all into sharing an ever-changing dynamic and flowing artistic process.
Kim Silarski | Communications Manager | Arab American National Museum
13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn, MI 48126 | Office 313.624.0206 | Cell 313.670.1300