Arabic Ensembles

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Arabic Ensembles

Other Ensembles > Arabic Ensembles

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.


» HEAR A SAMPLE (.mp3)
    Riyad Al-Sunbati, "Longah Farahfaza"


Hicham 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, and publications.

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.

Kim Sopata

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.

Karim Nagi Mohammed

Karim 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 Techno.

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.

© 2003-2004 Kim Fleuchaus   |   Last updated: 11.16.10
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