Music Director Ibrahim is a man of many talents. He sings, plays several instruments ( including the flute, and the Oud (a lute-like instrument)) and he conducts- in a very Western-style.
Soloists included Aboud Agha, Usama Ballbaki, and Ghada Derbas. All sang skillfully and had remarkable style and poise.
A stand-out piece was Kahramana, a long piece that highlighted various musicians in the orchestra including Concertmaster Adel Eskandar, whose amplified violin sounded golden without the stridency that can happen when a violin is mic'd. Kahramana, composed by Farid Alatrache is from the soundtrack of the movie titled "Afrtah Hamin" (go here for more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afrita_hanem
Here is this piece played by the NAO (previously called the Michigan Arab Orchestra).
This video captures the beauty of this piece, and the skill of some of the key musicians in the NAO. This music is trance-inducing and a wonderful example of Syrian composer Eskandar.
Another example of this glorious music is "Ala Rimshee" Ayounhas (on her eyelashes) composed by Baleegh Hamdi. Here again is the NAO version:
Atlanta Symphony Hall was particularly crowded for this concert! This was also a fundraising event for the NAO. Please go here to make a donation: http://araborchestra.org/#about.
AMC was privileged to hear this concert. The music was glorious and the performance outstanding. All of this was enhanced by some wonderful video that helped bring the musicians to the listener. It enhanced this performance greatly. In addition, the audience was treated to wonderful Arabic-inspired graphics.
AMC had a few quibbles. The first is that the concert was quite long and could have benefited for eliminating one or two of the pieces. The audience started to thin out about half-way through the post-intermission portion of the program. The second quibble is that the volume, loud to begin with, seemed to get even louder after the intermission. Turning it down a bit might have resulted in less listener fatigue.
But this was a major event. AMC wishes the orchestra great success in bringing beautiful well-played music to America.