OKLAHOMA—On March 16, the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation hosted Syrian clarinet player Kinan Azmeh along with the award-winning Aizuri String Quartet. The concert, titled “Music and Migration,” was built around a new commission by composer Layale Chaker.
The Syrian clarinetist, who now lives in Brooklyn, New York, is also known for his compositions, some of which the group performed at the concert. This particular concert drew a number of new patrons, many of whom were of Syrian background. Along the Middle Eastern vein, Armstrong Auditorium has also hosted performances by the Haifa Symphony Orchestra of Israel, violinists Gil Shaham and Itamar Zorman, pianists Irit Rub and Orli Shaham, flutist Sharon Bezaly, the Palestinian and Israeli musical ensemble Shesh Besh, and mandolinist Avi Avital.
The Aizuri Quartet—named after “aizuri-e,” a style of detailed and usually blue Japanese woodblock printing—was awarded the Grand Prize at the 2018 M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition. Two of the four members were born in Japan and moved to the United States, contributing to both the name of the group as well as the theme of the concert program.
On the afternoon leading up to the concert, a car accident occurred on roads leading to Edmond from Norman and slowed down traffic. Although it could have affected patrons coming from that area, one concertgoer who had come from Norman told staff that he had no trouble making it.
The 2022-23 season will continue on April 18 with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields wind ensemble and will conclude on April 30 with Celtic Throne. Many contracts have already been signed for next season.