Winner of Germany’s OpusKlassik award in 2019, clarinetist and composer Kinan Azmeh has been hailed as “intensely soulful” and a “virtuoso” by The New York Times, earning international recognition for what the CBC has called his “incredibly rich sound” and distinctive compositional voice across diverse musical genres.
Originally from Damascus, Syria, Mr. Azmeh has appeared as soloist, composer, and improvisor at venues all over the world, including the Damascus Opera House’s inaugural concert in 2004.
Orchestral appearances include the New York Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Dusseldorf Symphony, West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Qatar Philharmonic, and Syrian Symphony Orchestra, sharing the stage with such musical luminaries as Yo-Yo Ma, Daniel Barenboim, Marcel Khalife, John McLaughlin, Francois Rabbath, Aynur, and Jivan Gasparian.
His compositions include solo, chamber, and orchestral pieces, as well as music for film, live illustration, and electronics. Recent commissions have come from the New York Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, The Knights, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Elb philharmonie, Apple Hill String Quartet, Quatuor Voce, Brooklyn Rider, Cello Octet Amsterdam, Aizuri Quartet, and Bob Wilson.
An advocate for new music, he has had several concertos dedicated to him by composers including Kareem Roustom, Dia Succari, Dinuk Wijeratne, Zaid Jabri, Saad Haddad, and Guss Janssen.
The Mississippi Symphony Orchestra launches its Bravo Series and will include Syrian clarinetist and composer Kinan Azmeh on Saturday, October 8.
Yo-Yo Ma, violoncello and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, conducted by Manuel Nawri
Works by Kinan Azmeh, Kareem Roustom, Zaid Jabri, Dia Succari
“Uneven Sky is about home, the multitudes of homes, and it was made with lots of optimism and love.
On Sunday, January 22, Chinese New Year, Kinan Azmeh joined the London Philharmonic Orchestra to perforn in A place to call home combined with a tribute to Chinese-American composer Tan Dun.
"He came to London with his Clarinet Concerto, written in 2018, with himself as soloist. That was probably essential for this piece as the concerto allows a lot of space for improvisation in Syrian musical styles and Azmeh is a virtuoso. There is no programmatic element, except the enjoyment of freedom, which must have been on his mind after the 2017 incident. Syrian and western musical styles are very well blended, the lively Arabic katakufti or nawari rhythms creating quite a buzz, and the whole concerto bowls along."