About Ensemble Zar
Comprised of up to 14 of the UK’s finest musicians, Ensemble Zar 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, culminating in ancient Western and Asian instruments, 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.
About the musicians
Each musician is an award-wining master and rebel of his/her own tradition with a natural feel for performing in transcultural contexts. Many of whom perform Western classical repertoire as well as traditional Eastern music (folk or classical art music), especially arranged or in its monodic form. All have toured the world performing in prestigious venues such as New York's Carnegie Hall, Southbank, Wigmore Hall, and the renowned Lebanese singer, Fairouz.
“'An orchestration of personalities...'”
Ensemble Zar programs works for the concert hall by the composer Bushra El-Turk and other contemporary composers, bringing new music to diverse audiences.
Silk Moth Opera
Every year an estimated 5000 women worldwide are murdered by their own families in so-called honour killings, 12 of them in the UK. 'Silkmoth' places onstage a mother. We are her guests at home. This one-woman performance raises powerful questions are immediately raised: what is her role in this horrific 'tradition' ? Is she a victim, submissive, or coldly complicit? This project was supported by Arts Council England and Nour Arts Festival.
Ensemble Zar produces education workshops/projects for all pockets of the community, in the previous incarnation of Chelsea Music Academy. Past projects include workshops at Leighton House Museum, Kensington Palace Youth Programme, YoungStars Creative Arts Academy, Arab British Centre and CAABU (Council for Arab-British Understanding)
Enquiries about Ensemble Zar
To book Ensemble Zar as part of a festival or concert, do feel free to contact us