by Dave Beck
On our Seattle Symphony Spotlight this week: a conversation with one of Yo Yo Ma’s good friends and collaborators in the Silk Road Ensemble.
Kinan Azmeh is a Syrian-born clarinetist last in Seattle two years ago for the Seattle Symphony’s “Music Beyond Borders” concert. That performance—which featured artists from the seven countries that were part of the Muslim travel ban of early 2017—featured Kinan playing two movements of his Suite for Improviser and Orchestra with Ludovic Morlot and the Seattle Symphony.
At that time Kinan Azmeh made plans to come back and present another new work that defies musical boundaries: a full-length clarinet concerto that blends the spontaneity of improvisation with through-composed music. That concert came to fruition earlier this week in Benaroya Hall when he performed the piece’s world premiere with the Seattle Symphony and members of the Silk Road Ensemble, conducted by Ludovic Morlot.
Kinan came by the station to talk about the new concerto, reflect on growing up in Syria, and express what performing in Seattle and at refugee camps around the world has meant to him.