The Mosaic Trio, representing musicians from the Chicago
Classical Oriental Ensemble, performs traditional instrumental music
from the Arabic, Sephardic, Egyptian, Levantine, Turkish, and Armenian
repertoire. The core of the Mosaic Trio consists of Hicham Chami, who
plays the qanun, Kim Sopata, an Evanston-based flutist and educator,
and Karim Nagi Mohammed, a Boston-based percussionist and educator.
Chami is a Moroccan-born qanun performer based in Chicago.
He has studied qanun for nearly twenty years, in Morocco and the
U.S. Hicham is founder of the Mosaic Trio and the Chicago Classical
Oriental Ensemble as well as Xauen Music, an organization dedicated
to preserving the heritage of classical Arabic, Sephardic, Turkish,
and Armenian music. He strives to communicate the beauty of traditional
Oriental music to the American public through concerts, recordings,
Following graduation from business school in Casablanca, Hicham
moved to Chicago to begin the MBA program at DePaul University’s
Kellstadt School of Business. Hicham has been performing with
several ensembles in Chicago, including the Sharq Ensemble led
by Issa Boulos and Hazzan Alberto Mizrahi's group, TiTiko.
He is included in Chicago Magazine's "Best of Chicago"
issue (August 2002) as "best instrumentalist"; this
is the first time a Muslim Arab has received such recognition.
Hicham is an educator as well as a musician.
He conducts workshops and classes for children and adults in a
variety of settings.
Kim Sopata received her B.M.
from Northwestern University, where she studied with Chicago Symphony
Orchestra musicians Walfrid Kujala and Richard Graef.
Her appearances with orchestra include numerous
performances with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, the South
Carolina Philharmonic, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Elgin
Symphony Orchestra, the Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra, and the
Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra. In addition, she has appeared as
soloist with the South Carolina Philharmonic and the Colorado
Springs Youth Symphony.
Ms. Sopata also performs regularly with her award-winning
flute-guitar collaboration “The Avanti Duo”, as well
as many other musicians affiliated with Jubal Music, Inc., the
company she founded in 2003.
Kim’s fascination with music traditions
of other cultures led her to pursue a M.A. in Ethnomusicology
from Bethel University in St. Paul. As a performer of Classical
Arabic music, she can be heard across the country with Moroccan-born
qanun player Hicham Chami and other Arab musicians.
Notable performances include the White House, Georgetown University,
University of Chicago, L.A., New York’s Symphony Space,
and before HRH Queen Rania of Jordan. She and Mr. Chami were recently
the opening performance for Algerian folk-rock diva Souad Massi,
and can be heard as members of the Chicago Classical Oriental
Ensemble and the trio Mosaic.
A respected instructor and adjudicator, Ms. Sopata main3tains a
private studio and is on the faculty of the Zion Conservatory
of Music in Zion, IL. In 2002 she published “The Flute Lesson
Handbook”, a manual and assignment notebook for flute students.
Nagi Mohammed is a native Egyptian who has lived in the
Boston area for over 20 years. Karim performs primarily Arabic,
Turkish and Andalusian hand percussion, including the Egyptian
Tabla (goblet drum), Riqq (tambourine) and Segat (brass castanets).
Karim leads the SHARQ Arabic Music Ensemble performing the classical
Arabic instrumental and vocal repertoire. Karim developed and
currently performs Turbo Tabla a music and dance show that combines
traditional Arabic and Turkish music with modern Electronica and
After graduating from Skidmore College with a
degree in Psychology and three regularly performing bands, Karim
traveled to India, Turkey, Eastern Europe and back to Egypt for
an extended time. Karim returned to America in 1995 and began
performing exclusively Arabic Music His first teachers were Nabil
Ata and Midhat al-Rashidi. Karim later studied with Simon Shaheen
at the Arabic Music Retreat and learned advanced Riqq from Michel
Baqlouq. Karim then formed the SHARQ Arabic Music Ensemble. In
1998 Karim began producing the Arabesque Mondays series at Club
Passim and would bring Arabic performers from all over the USA
to perform at this famous folk club in Harvard Square. Karim resumed
studying Arabic Music, this time in Cairo with Dr. Alfred Gamil
(Cairo Conservatory of Music) and Mohammed Al-Araby (percussionist
for Umm Koulthoum and The National Orchestra of Egypt.) He currently
teaches at the New England Conservatory of Music.