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Rahim AlHajTrio; 10/19/2018

Rahim AlHaj Trio*
Friday, October 19, 2018 – 7:30 PM
Mahaney Arts Center, Robison Hall

As an Iraqi immigrant to the United States, oud virtuoso and composer Rahim AlHaj uses his musical talents to spread hope and peace. AlHaj—a  two time Grammy-nominee—joins Iranian santur player Sourena Sefati and Palestinian-American percussionist Issa Malluf in a concert of Middle Eastern music demonstrating friendship, understanding, and an acknowledgement of humanity’s oneness as we all try to live in peace under the same sky.  A Performing Arts Series event. Tickets: $22 General public/$16 Midd ID holders/$10 Youth (18 and under)/$6 Midd students. 

* Tickets purchased for the Moody Amiri concert originally scheduled for this date/time will be honored. We deeply regret that Moody Amiri are unable to appear due to the current US travel ban on Iranian nationals, and appreciate the Rahim AlHaj Trio for performing in their stead.

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Associated Activity

The Middlebury College Museum of Art will be open from 6:30–7:30 PM for pre-concert visitors to view Wondrous Worlds: Art and Islam through Time and Place. Free.

Learn More | Media | Program | Biography | Press Release


The Rahim AlHaj Trio performs at the Library of Congress.


Program to be announced from the stage.


Rahim AlHaj: Iraqi oud
Sourena Sefati: Iranian santour
Issa Malluf: Palestinian percussion

Rahim AlHaj (oud) was born in Baghdad, Iraq and began playing the oud (Arabic lute) at age nine. Early on, it was evident that he had a remarkable talent for playing the oud. He studied under the renowned Munir Bashir and Salim Abdul Kareem, at the Institute of Music in Baghdad, Iraq. He graduated in 1990 with a diploma in composition. He holds a degree in Arabic Literature from Mustunsariya University in Baghdad. In 1991, after the first Gulf War, he was forced to leave Iraq due to his activism against the Saddam Hussein regime and lived for some years in Jordan and Syria. He moved to the US in 2000 as a political refugee and has resided in Albuquerque, New Mexico ever since. Rahim has performed around the globe (including Europe, China, India, and Russia) and is considered one of the finest oud players in the world. He has won many accolades and awards including two Grammy nominations. Rahim has recorded and performed with other master musicians of varied backgrounds and styles including guitarist Bill Frisell, modern accordion innovator Guy Klucevsek, Indian sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan, and indie rock pioneers REM. He has composed pieces for solo oud, string quartet, symphony orchestra, and beyond. Rahim’s music delicately combines traditional Iraqi maqams with contemporary styling and influence. His compositions evoke the experience of exile from his homeland and of new beginnings in his adopted country. In 2015, Rahim was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship, the highest honor for traditional arts in the USA. 

Sourena Sefati (santour) was born in Ramsar, Iran. He started playing santour (hammered dulcimer) at the age of eleven. 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 won the award for best composer of Iranian music at Art University in 2006. He was music instructor at Art University and Elmi-Karbordi University in Tehran from 2008 to 2014.  Sourena 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). Sourena 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, Issa 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 Grammy-nominated oud virtuoso and composer 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, plus many more.

Mahaney Arts Center
Middlebury College
South Main St./Route 30 South
72 Porter Field Rd.
Middlebury, VT 05753
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