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Rahim AlHaj Trio Steps in for a Concert of Middle Eastern Music on October 19

October 11, 2018

Renowned Musicians Will Replace Previously Scheduled Moody Amiri

Middlebury, VT—As an Iraqi immigrant to the United States, oud virtuoso and composer Rahim AlHaj uses his musical talents to spread hope and peace. On Friday, October 19, AlHaj—a two-time Grammy nominee—will join Iranian santur player Sourena Sefati and Palestinian-American percussionist Issa Malluf in a concert of Middle Eastern music at the Mahaney Center for the Arts.

The Rahim AlHaj Trio is filling in the concert date for the originally scheduled Moody Amiri. Performing Arts Series director Allison Coyne Carroll explains the change: “We deeply regret that Moody Amiri are unable to appear due to the current US travel ban on Iranian nationals. We feel very fortunate to be able to present the esteemed Rahim AlHaj Trio in their stead. Rahim’s music demonstrates friendship, understanding, and an acknowledgement of humanity’s oneness as we all try to live in peace under the same sky.”

About the Musicians

Rahim AlHaj (oud) was born in Baghdad, Iraq. He studied under renowned musicians at the Institute of Music in Baghdad, and holds a diploma in composition, as well as a degree in Arabic Literature from Mustunsariya University in Baghdad. AlHaj was forced to leave Iraq after the first Gulf War due to his activism against the Saddam Hussein regime. He settled in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2000.

AlHaj has performed around the globe, recording with diverse master musicians including guitarist Bill Frisell, modern accordion innovator Guy Klucevsek, Indian sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan, and indie rock pioneers R.E.M. His compositions combine traditional Iraqi maqams with contemporary styling and influence, evoking the experience of exile from his homeland and of new beginnings in his adopted country. AlHaj has received two Grammy nominations, and in 2015 he was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship, the highest honor for traditional arts in the US.

Sourena Sefati (santour) was born in Ramsar, Iran. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Iranian Music from University of Tehran (2002) and his Master’s degree in Iranian Music Performance from Art University of Tehran (2008). He was music instructor at Art University and Elmi-Karbordi University in Tehran from 2008 to 2014. Sefati is the author of a book of etudes for santour, has performed in Europe, Asia, and Africa, and was soloist at Iran Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra (2009 to 2014), Iranian Chamber Orchestra (2009), and Mehrnavazan National Orchestra (2011). Sefati moved to the United States in 2014, and teaches Iranian music in Albuquerque.

Issa Malluf (percussion) is a Palestinian-American native of New Mexico. Originally self-taught, he has become a highly skilled and internationally recognized specialist in Middle Eastern, Arabic, and North African percussion. Malluf has performed nationally and internationally at venues as noteworthy as the Kennedy Center, ¡Globalquerque!, the National Folk Festival, the Chicago World Music Festival, and the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. He has recorded and toured with an array of artists including Rahim AlHaj, indie-rock guitarist Peter Buck of R.E.M., Indian sarod master Amjad Ali Khan, and Eastern European, Balkan, and Turkish influenced indie-world act A Hawk and a Hacksaw.


Performance Details

The Rahim AlHaj Trio will perform on Friday, October 19 at 7:30 PM at the Mahaney 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. Parking is available curbside on Route 30 or in the Center for the Arts parking lot. General admission tickets are $22 for adults; $16 for Middlebury College faculty, staff, emeriti, and alumni; $10 for youth; and $6 for Middlebury College students; and are on sale at 802-443-MIDD (6433) or Tickets purchased for the Moody Amiri concert originally scheduled for this date/time will be honored.

Please note: The Middlebury College Museum of Art will be open from 6:30–7:30 P.M. for concert goers to view Wondrous Worlds: Art and Islam through Time and Place. Stop by before the show! Museum admission is free.



Image captions:

(top left) The Rahim AlHaj Trio, including (L-R) Issa Malluf, AlHaj, and Sourena Sefati, will play a concert of Middle Eastern music at the Mahaney Center for the Arts on Friday, October 19.

(top right, bottom left) Iranian born oud player Rahim AlHaj will headline an evening of Middle Eastern music on October 19 at the Mahaney Center for the Arts. Photo Michael G. Stewart

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