Formed in 2006 in New York City, the Kinan Azmeh CityBand immediately gained recognition for their virtuosic and high-energy performance, receiving praise from critics and audiences alike.
With this New York ensemble, Azmeh strives to reach a balance between classical music, jazz, and the music of his homeland, Syria, creating music that is inspired by many traditions without being limited by any of these traditions. Azmeh’s expressive clarinet meets Kyle Sanna’s rustic guitar, soaring at times over the dynamic and volatile backdrop of John Hadfield’s drums and Josh Myers’ double bass. Each band member has come from varied backgrounds to add their personal flair to this ensemble, resulting in a thoroughly exciting and rewarding listening experience. The band has toured the US, Canada, Taiwan, France, England, Germany, Holland, Egypt, Lebanon, and Turkey, with notable performances at the Library of Congress, Carnegie Hall, Boston Celebrity Series, Berlin’s Boulez Saal, Cologne Philharmonie, among others.
Hailed as a “virtuoso, intensely soulful” by the New York Times and “spellbinding” by the New Yorker. Syrian-born, Brooklyn-based genre-bending composer and clarinetist Kinan Azmeh has been touring the globe with great acclaim as a soloist, composer, and improviser. He has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma, Daniel Barenboim, John McLaughlin, Aynur, and Djivan Gasparian, among others. He leads his own bands, Hewar and the Kinan Azmeh City Band. He is a Silkroad ensemble artist with whom he won a Grammy in 2016. His recent orchestral album Uneven Sky with the Deutsches Symphony Orchestra Berlin won Germany’s OpusKlassik Award in 2019.
Recent commissions include works for the Seattle Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. He is a graduate of The Juilliard School, the Damascus High Institute of Music, and Damascus University’s School of Electrical Engineering. Kinan holds a doctorate in music from the City University of New York.
Layale Chaker (violin), Elsa Saadeh (voice) and David Krakauer(clarinet)