Lewes - premiere for new piece of music blending Western and Arabic classical music

A new piece of music blending Western and Arabic classical music has its world premiere in Lewes on November 13.

Thursday, 11th November 2021, 3:05 pm
Raghad Haddad

Music of Exile for Viola and Thirteen Solo Strings was created by Sussex-based composer Peter Copley in collaboration with Syrian viola player Raghad Haddad.

Spokeswoman Melita Dennett said: “Raghad Haddad is a classically trained Syrian viola player who also improvises on and performs Arabic folk music. After graduating from the conservatoire in Damascus, Raghad was performing both western classical music with the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra, as well as music from the east with the Syrian National Orchestra. However, Raghad was forced into exile by the war in Syria and has made a new life in the UK.

“Inspired by themes of exile and alienation, but also the power of music to bring people from different traditions together. Peter and Raghad collaborated to create a piece based on scales associated with Arabic folk music, including some improvisation, as part of a fusion between Western classical and Arabic traditions.”

Music of Exile will have its world premiere on Saturday, November 13 at the All Saints Centre in Lewes, performed by Raghad Haddad with the Musicians of All Saints.

The work offers an additional challenge to the performers, classically trained in Western musical traditions, being mentored in playing Arabic scales and improvising on them.

Composer Peter Copley said: “We’re excited to be premiering this innovative work in Lewes. I hope audiences will be intrigued by the fusion of Western classical and Arabic folk traditions and will find the themes of exile and the unifying power of music both moving and enjoyable. The Musicians of All Saints are a highly professional and accomplished ensemble and it’s a pleasure to be working with them and welcoming Raghad to join them in this beautiful performance space in Lewes.”

The evening also includes Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No.3 in G major, Sussex composer David Jenner's The Sky Above Cissbury for string orchestra and Gustav Holst's St Paul’s Suite.

Music of Exile for Viola and Thirteen Solo Strings’ is on Saturday, November 13 at the All Saints Centre in Lewes, BN7 2LE at 7.45pm. Tickets are available at https://www.trybooking.co.uk/BGYS at £5 for students/ under 18s and £15 full price.