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World Music Ensemble Constantinople To Perform Jan. 13 at the MCA

December 30, 2016

January 13 Concert is Entitled “Itinerant Gardens”

REVISED 1/12/17: 

We’re excited to pass along some new developments about the Constantinople concert tomorrow evening.  Due to international visa complications, kora player Ablaye Cissoko will be unable to join us. However, the ensemble has adjusted their concert program to include music that celebrates the Persian, Mediterranean, and Baroque traditions, adding the Turkish kanan to the mix of instruments.

They will perform works from “Passages,” their journey into the crossroads of the Mediterranean, featuring new and ancient sounds performed by four master musicians from Iran, Turkey and Canada.

They will also treat us to works from their program “Versailles to Topkapı: Echoes of the Baroque Palaces,” blending the music from the Court of Versailles and that of Topkapı Palace, the sophisticated court of Istanbul’s Ottoman sultans.

Also new: the trio will offer an introduction to their music, instruments, and their unique collaborations in a pre-concert lecture/demonstration with Didem Başar on the Turkish kanun. 7:00 PM at the Mahaney Center for the Arts, Robison Hall. Free

Middlebury, VT—Persian music trio Constantinople makes its Middlebury debut in a special collaborative concert with Senegalese kora player Ablaye Cissoko Friday, January 13 at the Mahaney Center for the Arts. The culture-spanning program, titled Itinerant Gardens, is a poetic encounter between strings, percussion, and voice, featuring music that ranges from the epics of the Mandingo Kingdom to the music of the Persian court. This concert is the 6th event of the Middlebury College Performing Arts Series’ 97th season.

Itinerant Gardens was inspired by the timeless tradition of the bard, the troubadour, and the griot. These wordsmiths, at once messengers and peacemakers, call upon forces of nature, the divine, and ancient memory to create their songs and stories. Constantinople describes this program as a “joint crossing of shared regions of the imagination, like a deep breath before the inexorable march of time and the world.”

About Constantinople

Named for the ancient trailblazing city illuminating East and West, Constantinople was founded in 1998 in Montreal by Iranian brothers Kiya and Ziya Tabassian. The ensemble explores a wide range of musical avenues, from medieval manuscripts to contemporary aesthetics, and from Mediterranean Europe to the East and New World Baroque. The New York Times praised the trio’s “…intriguing East-meets-West quality suggested by the juxtaposition of the gamba and the Persian instruments.” For this tour, Kiya Tabassian will perform on setar and vocals, Pierre-Yves Martel will play the viola da gamba, and Patrick Graham will play percussion.

Constantinople has appeared in many of the world’s major international festivals and stages, including the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence (France), the World Sacred Music Festival of Fez (Morocco), the Festival d’Île de France (Paris), the Onassis Centre (Athens), the Festival de México en el Centro Histórico (Mexico), the Festival de Lanaudière (Quebec), and the MusicFest Vancouver (Canada). In addition to their touring work, Constantinople also presents an annual season at home in Montreal. They have eleven albums on the ATMA label, and has recently released Early Dreams on the Analekta label. The ensemble is supported by the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres of Quebec, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Conseil des Arts de Montréal.

About Ablaye Cissoko, Kora

Kimintang Mahamadou (Ablaye) Cissoko was born in 1970 in Kolda, Senegal to a long line of griots, or storytelling musicians. He made his kora debut at the age of 12 before entering the conservatory of music in Dakar. In 1985, he joined the Saint-Louis (Senegal) Jazz Orchestra, composed of African and European musicians. In 2003, he recorded his first compositions on the album Diam, followed in 2005 by Le Griot Rouge. He has collaborated with New York-based, German trumpeter Volker Goetze; French pianist and drummer Simon Goubert; Moroccan multi-instrumentalist Majid Bekkas; and his Senegalese band Le Corda Ba. Cissoko is supported by BNP Paribas Foundation.


The concert by Constantinople will take place on Friday, January 13, 2017, at 8:00 P.M., in the Kevin P. Mahaney ’84 Center for the Arts’ Robison Hall. The Mahaney Center is located on the campus of Middlebury College, at 72 Porter Field Road, just off Route 30 south/S. Main Street. Free parking is available curbside on Route 30 or in the Center for the Arts parking lot, in rows marked faculty/staff/visitors. Tickets are $20 for the general public; $15 for Middlebury College faculty, staff, alumni, emeriti, and other ID card holders; and $6 for Middlebury College students. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call (802) 443-MIDD (6433) or go to


Photo captions:

(top right corner, and left, second from top) World music ensemble Constantinople performs Jan. 13 at the Mahaney Center for the Arts, photo Michael Slobodian

(top left) World music ensemble Constantinople performs Jan. 13 at the Mahaney Center for the Arts, photo Dánte Martinez

(right, bottom) Senegalese kora player Ablaye Cissoko joins world music ensemble Constantinople Jan. 13 at the Mahaney Center for the Arts

Mahaney Arts Center
Middlebury College
South Main St./Route 30 South
72 Porter Field Rd.
Middlebury, VT 05753
(802) 443-3168 phone
(802) 443-2834 fax