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. His discography include three albums with his ensemble Hewar, several soundtracks for film and dance, a duo album with pianist Dinuk Wijeratne and an album with his New York Arabic/Jazz quartet the Kinan Azmeh CityBand. He serves as artistic director of the Damascus Festival Chamber Players, a pan-Arab ensemble dedicated to contemporary music form the Arab world. His is a frequent guest faculty at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music and is on the advisory board of the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra. 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.
Brooklyn-based guitarist, composer, and producer Kyle Sanna works in a variety of musical idioms and, most often, in the spaces between them. Kyle Sanna has performed with many of today’s virtuosos, including multiple Grammy Award-winning artists Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile, as well as with some of the greatest living interpreters of Irish music including Kevin Burke and Martin Hayes, and with many members of New York’s improvised music scene.
Kyle’s music has been performed at the Bach House in Eisenach, the Sultan of Oman’s Royal Opera House, Sydney’s ABC studios, Carnegie Hall, and points between. He has given guitar workshops at the Montana State Women’s Prison, at an orphanage in Juárez, Mexico, and at numerous universities and festivals from Alaska to Cuba.
Ruth Anderson 2017 Competition Prize winner Layale Chaker first held a violin at the National Higher Conservatory of Beirut in her native Lebanon. She later pursued her musical studies at Conservatoire de Paris, Columbia University in New York, and at the Royal Academy of Music in London; and is currently working towards her doctoral degree at Ecole des Hautes Etudes-EHESS in Paris.
Layale has appeared as a soloist, performer, improviser and composer in concerts, recitals and projects around Europe, the Middle-East, North and South America and Asia including Alderburgh Festival, Junger Kunstler Festival Bayreuth, the Lucerne Festival for Contemporary Music, Impuls’ Festival, Beethoven Festival Bonn and Avignon Festival among others.
This season’s highlights include a premiere work for solo violin and orchestra with the Oxford Orchestra, the premiere of her string trio by members of New World Symphony in Miami, as well as the debut tour with her own ensemble, Sarafand, across Germany, France, the UK and the USA.
She is set to debut her first violin concerto with the Bayreuther Philharmoniker as the orchestra’s first-ever commissioned composer in January 2018.
As a member of Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan, she performs around the year in concert halls such as the Royal Albert Hall, Teatro Colon, Mozarteum Salzburg, Philharmonie de Paris, Salzburg Festspiele and der Philharmonie Berlin among others.
Her compositions include works for solo instrumentation, chamber music, symphony orchestra, string orchestra, electronics, as well as several pieces for dance and film.