Jazz Lives in Syria Festival
6th Edition
From the 6th through the 14th of July 2010


Jazz, with its origins as a blend of African and European musical styles, has always enjoyed international popularity due to its unique vitality, as well as its ability to fuse effortlessly with different music genres and with diversified world music cultures.

In the 'fifties of the last century, jazz music began to infiltrate the traditions of Arabic music. Many experiments were geared toward creating and developing what we can call "Oriental Jazz". Even though critics differed about this terminology and what it would encompass, it was agreed that efforts to create a local oriental jazz music should be encouraged.

Today, following many initiatives aimed at promoting contemporary and classical jazz music in Syria, the "Jazz Lives in Syria" Festival strives to widen the scope and conception of Syrian jazz music, and to strengthen local jazz traditions through genuine interaction between Syrian, oriental and international jazz musicians.

Jazz Lives in Syria 2010 Festival:

"Jazz Lives in Syria" has aimed, from its very beginning, to pave the way toward a solid Syrian jazz music movement. The Syrian music scene, with its rich and diversified musical heritage, is already well reputed regionally and world-wide. From this solid beginning, Syrian jazz practitioners will have a wealth of tempting material which they can adopt, modify and develop in order to create true and authentic Syrian jazz music.

The artistic vision of "Jazz Lives in Syria"l concentrates on supporting Syrian musicians to achieve this goal and to provide them with the needed opportunities of training, shadowing, networking and showcasing. This will be accomplished by creating a conducive artistic environment during "Jazz Lives in Syria" in which several international jazz musicians are invited to present their unique experiences in classic, contemporary and fusion jazz within live concerts, and also to conduct several professional workshops for young and professional musicians.

"Jazz Lives in Syria" Festival, in its sixth edition, will work on three levels:

1- Feature a number of international jazz musicians from Germany, Norway, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Switzerland and other countries, in order to introduce the newest international world jazz experience to both Syrian audiences and music specialists.

2- Feature a number of well known Syrian musicians and bands including, but not restricted to, the Syrian Jazz Orchestra, Kinan El-Azmeh, Amer Hammour, Basel Rajoub, Nota, Chilli Band and others.

3- Strengthen the networking between Syrian and international musicians through a series of workshops organized by "Jazz Lives in Syria" in cooperation with the Higher Institute of Music. These academic workshops will represent great opportunities for Syrian musicians to train and to develop their skills by working side by side with famous Jazz musicians such as Barana Trio (Netherlands), Sylvain Luc Trio (France), Kadero and Vienna Rai Orchestra (Austria) Marilyn Mazur (Denmark), Jan Garbarek Group (Norway), Haig Yazdjian (Greece), Frank Carlberg (Finland/USA) and many others. The results of these workshops will be presented through live concerts during the Syria Jazz Festival, performed by Syrian and international musicians.

In addition to these activities "Jazz Lives in Syria" will provide an opportunity for children to meet the public onstage. Two bands for children will play during the festival: the first composed of Iraqi and Palestinians refugee children, and the second playing together with Danish musicians Liz Rabjeerg and Kajsavala Zechariah.

Jazz Lives in Syria, in its sixth edition, will present international musical pieces composed by international jazz musicians especially for a number of Syrian jazz bands. These will be jointly performed during the Festival. Such cooperative pieces are perfect showcases of Syrian and international cooperation in the field of jazz music and the possible development of Syrian jazz music.

It is worth mentioning that during the festival, the Syrian Jazz Orchestra, the nation's internationally recognized jazz music ensemble, will launch its first CD in a big concert in Damascus. This major musical project will be the culmination of years of hard work and creativity by some of the Syria's best musical talents, and the fruit of innovative collaboration with international musicians. During this concert a catalogue detailing the band's history, works and members will be presented parallel to a DVD documenting its work and concerts during the last five years.

Jazz Lives in Syria is endeavoring to establish a sustainable project aimed at developing musical skills in Syria. For this purpose, and within the framework of a comprehensive plan, a series of workshops and training programs have been prepared that will start with the first edition of the festival and continue with the subsequent ones, with the goal of building local musical capabilities to reach international standards. These workshops and training programs will be implemented in cooperation with a number of prominent jazz musicians and with the participation of well known international musical entities.

Jazz Lives in Syria is honored to acquaint Syrian audiences and musicians with these Arabic and international jazz experiments, presenting the music in a joyful and innovative way that motivates music practitioners in Syria, and stimulates creativity, in order to elevate Syrian jazz music to higher standards.


Since its inception, the Festival has aimed at creating a global network of musical artists and providing opportunities for Syrians to engage in exchange programs and workshops abroad, in addition to their appearance in the media and the international press and joint work projects with many internationally famous jazz musicians.

As a first step the "Jazz live in Syria" Festival will travel to the Morgenland Festival (Germany) and the Osnabruck Festival (Germany), and will record with the Sender Orchestra.

Concert program:

The "Jazz Lives in Syria" Festival will present the following concerts from the 6th to the 14th of July 2010:

Damascus: Several big live concerts in the Citadel of Damascus, in addition to many other smaller concerts in Damascene traditional houses and bars. Also, the Festival will cooperate with the "Music on the Road" event presenting live concerts in many public parks in the city.

Aleppo: Several live concerts in various places.

Jableh: One concert during Jableh Cultural Festival
Homs: Several concerts in Oum Elzenar Church.

Also, the Jazz Lives in Syria Festival will be coordinated in Amman and Beirut, featuring Syrian musicians outside Syria and supporting their artistic network with counterparts in neighboring countries.

Workshop program:

The Workshop program during Jazz Lives in Syria Festival will be divided into four categories:

1- Band workshops and joint projects: Syrian, Arabic and international jazz bands will work hand in hand to exchange knowledge and experience in the different styles of jazz music.

2- Workshops in class: academic lessons in the fields of composition, arranging, solo instruments, improvisation, and rhythm section.

3- Syrian Jazz Orchestra workshops: in addition to section classes, these workshops will invite local and international soloists and bands playing with the Syrian Jazz Orchestra such as Kinan Azmeh, Barana Trio, Haig Yazdjian.

4- Jazz music workshop for children: a small group workshop will be conducted in partnership with the Danish institute in Damascus by two Danish instructors. The result of this workshop will be presented in a live concert during the festival.

Publications and productions:

A catalogue detailing all activities will be published during Syria Jazz Festival, it will also contain interviews with eminent participants, in addition to several articles that document and analyze oriental jazz experiments in the region, and interviews with oriental jazz musicians like Ziad Rahabani (Lebanon), Fawaz Al Baker (Syria), Rasha Rizk (Syria), Nareg Abajian (Syria), Salman Gambarov (Azerbaijan), Istanbul Super Band (Turkey), Armen Hyusnunts (Armenia), Lena Shamanian (Syria), Dhafer Youssef (Tunisia) etc...

Moreover, and as mentioned previously, the concert of the Syrian Jazz Orchestra during the festival will be accompanied by a number of relevant publications and productions as follows:

1- Syrian Jazz Orchestra CD: the first Syrian Jazz Orchestra CD containing ten of the Orchestras greatest pieces of the last five years:

* Five tracks recorded in studio.
* Five tracks of live concerts with the participation of more than fifty Syrian and international musicians.

2- Syrian Jazz Orchestra DVD: containing excerpts of the orchestra's live concerts and rehearsals in Syria and abroad.

3- Syrian Jazz Orchestra Catalogue: covering the history of the Orchestra, future prospects, attestation of the national and international musicians - instrumental soloists and vocalists - participating with the band including: Frank Carlberg (Finland/USA), Lyle Link (USA), Francis Coletta (Switzerland), Houry Apartian (Syria/Switzerland), Salar Aghili (Iran), Omar Sarmini (Syria), Adnan Abou El Shamat (Syria), Georgios Antonio (Greece/Switzerland), Gerard Klign (Netherlands), Helge Sunde (Norway), Armin Hyusnunts (Armenia), Michael Dryer (Geramny.), Frank Shiffer (filmmaker from the Netherlands), Nader Mashaykhy (modern classical composer from Iran), Rasha Rizk (Syria), Linda Bitar (Syria), Loubana Kantar (Syria), Lena Chamamyan (Syria) and many others.