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Hailed as a "virtuoso" by the New York Times and "incredibly rich sound" by the CBC, composer and clarinetist Kinan Azmeh is one of Syria's rising stars. His utterly distinctive sound across different musical genres is now fast gaining international recognition. Born in Damascus, Kinan was the first Arab to win the premier prize at the I997 Nicolai Rubinstein International Competition, Moscow.
A graduate of New York's Juilliard school as a student of Charles Neidich, and of both the Damascus High institute of Music where he studied with Shukry Sahwki, Nicolay Viovanof and Anatoly Moratof, and Damascus University's School of Electrical Engineering, Kinan is currently finishing his doctoral work at the City University of New York.
Kinan has appeared worldwide as a soloist, composer and improviser. Notable appearances include; Opera Bastille, Paris; Tchaikovsky Grand Hall, Moscow; Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall and the UN's general assembly, New York; the Royal Albert hall, London; Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires; der Philharmonie; Berlin; the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center, Washington DC; the Mozarteum, Salzburg and the Damascus opera house for its opening concert in his native Syria.
As a classical Clarinetist, he has appeared as soloist with the Bavarian radio orchestra, the West-eastern Divan orchestra, the Kiev Camerata, the Corasara Orchestra, and the Syrian symphony Orchestra among others; and has shared the stage with Marcel Khaliie, Daniel Barenboim, Zakir Hussein Francois Rabbath, Solhi-at-Wadi, Manfred Leuchter, Kevork Mourad, and members of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, among others.
Compositions include several works for solo, orchestra,and chamber music; film, live illustration, and electronics. His discography include three albums with his ensemble HEWAR, several soundtracks for film and dance, and a duo album with pianist Dinuk Wijeratne. He serves as artistic director of the Damascus Festival Chamber Music Ensemble, with whom he released an album of new contemporary Syrian chamber music written especially for the ensemble by various composers and is on the advisory board of the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra.