Born in London, Bushra El-Turk's music of '...ironic...', '...arresting...' and 'limitless imagination' forebears the influence of her Lebanese roots and straddles Eastern and Western idioms all the while leaning towards the absurd and theatrical.
Selected by the BBC as one of the most inspiring 100 Women, globally, Bushra has written various works for the concert hall, dance, theatre and multi-media, both performed and broadcast on radio and television (most notably: BBC Radio 3 (UK), Portuguese Classical Music Radio, (Portugal). Warsaw Classical Radio, (Poland), LBC International and Tele Liban (Lebanon) in the UK, Europe, the Middle-East, the Americas and Australia. Her pieces have been performed by ensembles including the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO Panufnik Scheme 2012), BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Royal Opera House (ROH2), London Sinfonietta, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG), Manchester Camerata, Opera Holland Park, OrchestUtopica (Portugal), Athelas Sinfonietta (Denmark) Hermes Ensemble (Belgium), Orchestre National de Lorraine (France), Ensemble Nox (Argentina), Latvian Radio Choir, Ensemble Saraband (Germany), Atlas Ensemble, Ensemble Zerafin, Orkest de ereprijs (Holland), Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra, Lunatics at Large (USA) and Wissam Boustany. Performances have been at venues including the Lincoln Centre (New York), Bridgewater Hall (Manchester), Birmingham Symphony Hall, Cadogan Hall, the Southbank and the Barbican (London).
Her string quartet, Eating Clouds, was among the five selected pieces in the Aberdeen International Music Prize and was performed by members of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in April 2007.
She is now artistic director and leader of Ensemble Zar, which is a fresh and fearless cross-genre ensemble whose mission is to express the Middle Eastern artistic temperament in its rawest form, and experiment with new sounds in the process. It’s musicians are well-versed in both Eastern and Western idioms, equally at home performing complex written contemporary music as well as masters of improvisation, relishing in the spontaneous nature of Oriental music. Ensemble Zar has performed for the Metta Theatre production of ‘Arab Nights’ (dir. Poppy Burton-Morgan, Soho Theatre production). It has also, most notably, played the live score to the world’s first feature- length silent film animation, The Adventures of Prince Achmed at the Southbank (part of Women of the World Festival - WOW) and Barbican as a Birds Eye View Film Festival commission, for which it received critical acclaim. 2014 saw a performance at Birmingham Symphony Hall and a recording of feature animation film, The Prophet, produced by Salma Hayek Pinault, with music by Gabriel Yared.
Summer 2017 saw excerpts of her new opera Woman at Point Zero (libretto by Sabrina Mahfouz, directed by Maria Koripas, Merit Ariane Stephanos as Firdaus) performed at LSO St Luke’s, presented by the Royal Opera House, Shubbak Festival and supported by the Abu Dhabi Festival, Arts Council, Jerwood Foundation and PRS Foundation. The Woman at Point Zero opera is also supported by the unique Snape Maltings Open Space artist residency programme during the years 2016-2018. She has also completed an AHRC funded PhD in Musical Composition at the University of Birmingham under the supervision of Michael Zev Gordon.
Bushra is published by Composers Edition.
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