Upcoming Events


Contact: Yasmina Kamal, kamal.medmusique@gmail.com, 617-521-3834

An array of prominent classical musicians from the Boston area will be offering a free concert to benefit Syrian humanitarian work on November 12 at 8PM, at the United Parish Church, 210 Harvard Street, Brookline.

“A Song for Syria” will bring together six well-known ensembles under the same roof to raise awareness and provide funding help for the many people affected by the current Mideast crisis.

“We’ll use our voices and our instruments to sing for peace,” says concert organizer and Camerata Mediterranea director Joel Cohen, “and to bring at least a measure of relief to those in that area who are suffering greatly.”

“This will be a nonpartisan, nonsectarian concert, with all funds raised going to Doctors Without Borders, which is doing great work in that region,” adds Lebanese singer and musicologist Nizar Fares, one of the participants.  “It will also, we hope, be a beautiful listening experience.”

Journey Towards a Home, 2015. Photo by Elias Roustom

Collaborating musicians engaged will include members of local ensembles Blue Heron, The Boston Camerata, the Consort of Hope, the DooZhen Arabic Choir, the Lorelei Ensemble, and the United Parish Choir.  The music heard will range over the centuries, from the Middle-Ages to today’s Middle East, and will include a choral composition by contemporary Syrian-American composer Kareem Roustom.  The sponsoring organizations are Camerata Mediterranea, which organized a similar, successful event in 2015, and the United Parish Church in Brookline.

Seating will be free and unreserved, on a first-come-first served basis, and donations will be requested from audience members.

“A Song for Syria” is part of a weekend of performances on behalf of civilians in Syria, also including “Boston Songs for Syria” on Sunday, November 13 at 3:00PM in Old South Church, with music by Ilene Stahl and Klezperanto, and the Layaali Arabic Music Ensemble, raising funds for the Syrian American Medical Society. 


Blue Heron, directed by Scott Metcalfe, has been acclaimed by The Boston Globe as “one of the Boston music community’s indispensables” and hailed by Alex Ross in The New Yorker for the “expressive intensity” of its interpretations. The ensemble presents a concert series in Cambridge, has appeared across the country, and has released six CDs, with a seventh due out in 2017. Its latest undertaking is a long-term project to perform the complete works of Johannes Ockeghem, entitled Ockeghem@600.

Journey Towards a Home, 2015. Photo by Elias Roustom

Currently celebrating its sixty-second anniversary, The Boston Camerata ranks among the world’s oldest and most eminent early music ensembles.  Founded in 1954, Camerata has been under the direction of French-born singer and scholar Anne Azéma since 2008. Camerata’s chosen repertoires span many centuries, with special focus on the European Middle Ages, the intersection of Eastern and Western musical cultures, and the music of the New World. Many of Anne Azéma’s recent productions involve theater, movement, and storytelling. Camerata travels extensively; international tours during 2016 have brought the company to Brazil, France, and Germany. Camerata’s numerous distinctions include important foundation grants, critics’ awards, and the Grand Prix du Disque.

The Consort of Hope (Liza Malamut, coordinator) is a specially constituted association of virtuoso wind players, each one a renowned specialist in an early brass instrument (cornet and sackbut) from the European Renaissance. They will be performing works on their own, and in association with singers of the Boston Camerata.

DooZhen Arabic Choir (Nizar Fares, director) is an ensemble of singers from the Lawrence-Lowell area performing primarily in the Arabic language, presenting repertoire from the sacred and secular traditions of the Near East. Nizar Fares, their director, is well known for his area performances as a singer before church congregations of many denominations, and is also a regular visitor to Lebanon and Syria, where he regularly performs relief work. He is currently preparing a book on vocal ornamentation in the music of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq.

Lorelei Ensemble (Beth Willer, Artistic Director) is a professional vocal ensemble comprising nine women whose expertise ranges from early to contemporary repertoire, and whose rich and diverse vocal pallet defines the ensemble’s consistent delivery of “exact, smooth, and stylish” programming. Committed to the expansion of repertoire for women’s voices, Lorelei has commissioned and premiered over fifty works while exposing and reinventing early works of the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque repertoires. Driven by their mission to advance the women’s vocal ensemble and enrich the vocal repertoire through forward-thinking and co-creative collaboration, Lorelei works with composers to create new works that reveal the extraordinary flexibility and strength of the human voice.




For immediate release


A unique coalition of Boston-area musicians has been formed to sing and play for victims of the current crisis in Syria and Iraq.

Their October 23 concert, “Journey Towards A Home: Boston Musicians Perform for Syrian and Iraqi Refugee Relief” will feature many area performers from a wide variety of musical traditions:  American, Caribbean, western European, Greek, Turkish, Syrian, and Lebanese.

“We musicians want to do our part to make this tragic situation a little better,” says concert producer/organizer Joel Cohen. “Our way of helping is to raise some money for humanitarian relief by singing and playing, as beautifully as we possibly can, each of us from his or her own musical roots.”

The 8 P.M. concert, to be held at Harvard University’s Memorial Church in Cambridge, will be free and open to the public. Freewill donations will be requested, the funds to be administered by Memorial Church and distributed among accredited charities.

Performing ensemble will include (provisional list): Blue Heron, Beth Cohen and friends, The Boston Camerata, DooZhen Music Academy, Dünya, Les Fleurs des Caraïbes, The Choral Fellows of Harvard University, and others.

“Journey Towards A Home” is presented jointly by Camerata Mediterranea, an intercultural musical institute, and by Memorial Church of Harvard University (www.memorialchurch.harvard.edu).  Further information is available at the Camerata Mediterranea website (www.medmusique.org) or by writing to kamal@simmons.edu.



Current Projects in Repertoire for 2015-2016

A Riddle of Music History:CM

I. What is “Andalusian” in Arabo-Andalusian Music?

The rich legacy of Arabic/Muslim civilization in medieval Spain, though imperfectly preserved, continues to be a vital force in the musical life of North Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia). According to today’s Moroccan practitioners of Arabo-Andalusian music, these musicians are perpetuating a vast repertoire that is many centuries old, one that was performed at the Islamic courts of Spain in the middle ages.

Is it possible in our own time to verify (or falsify) such a claim? How should we approach this music? What kinds of clues can we find to help us determine some possible “European” dimensions of this Arabic art? What are the possible interconnections among the Muslim, Jewish, and Christian musical practices of medieval Iberia?

This presentation by Camerata Mediterranea’s Artistic Director, Joel Cohen, will include discussion of poetic forms and musical modes, presentation via projections of musical and iconographic sources, and a series of musical examples, recorded and live. The live musical performances will include the participation of Anne Azéma (Artistic Director, The Boston Camerata) and Boujemaa Razgui (Sharq Arabic Music Ensemble).

Duration: 60 to 90 minutes, including a question period
Technical requirements: Three chairs, projector and screen (Power Point), amplifier and sound reproduction system
Fee: $3,200

Minstrels in Distant Lands:
II. Jewish Musicians in the Muslim World 1300-2000

A lecture by Joel Cohen with slides and musical examples, outlining the presence of Jewish musician-entertainers in Muslim lands from the Middle Ages to the recent past. Topics will include the presence of Jewish court musicians at the court of King Alfonso el Sabio of Spain in the thirteenth century; the persistence of “medieval” Spanish modality in Arabo-Andalusian and Judaeo-Arabic repertoires of North Africa; the conservation and perpetuation of the Gharnati/Grenada style among Jewish musicians of eastern Morocco and Algeria; the Judaeo-Ottoman repertoire of Haim Effendi; the “crossover” repertoires of Jewish-Algerian and Jewish-Moroccan entertainers of the 1950’s; the continued appreciation of Jewish musicians and their repertoires in today’s Maghreb.

Duration: 90 to 120 minutes, including a question period
Technical requirements: One chair, projector and screen (Power Point), amplifier and sound reproduction system
Fee: $1,500

In Search of Convivencia:
III. The Example of Medieval Spain

A presentation in two parts: To begin, Joel Cohen, director of Camerata Mediterranea, will talk about the extraordinary interdependence of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish musical traditions coming from or claiming roots in the medieval Spanish heritage.

After a short pause, the illustrated talk will be followed by a collaborative musical performance featuring two groups: The Boston Camerata and the Sharq Arabic Music Ensemble. The repertoire will include Cantigas of King Alfonso el Sabio, Arabo-Andalusian vocal and instrumental music, Koranic and Jewish chants, and Sephardic song.

Duration: 90 minutes, including a question period
Technical requirements: Eight chairs, projector and screen (Power Point), amplifier and sound reproduction system
Fee: circa $8,500

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