Classical Voice North America (Journal of the Music Critics Association of North America) reviews SOLI Chamber Ensemble’s October 5th opening concert, which featured a program of works by Pierre Jalbert, Anthony Brant and my piece Swimmy, narrated by Texas Public Radio’s Nathan Cone.
Al-Zand deftly embodies in music the spirit, delicacy, and subtle colors of Lionni’s illustrations (projected on a screen for this performance). Especially delicious are the rhythmically cockeyed walk of a lobster and the serpentine gliding of an eel “whose tail was almost too far away to remember.”
The September issue of La Tenda, a monthly cultural magazine based in Teramo, Italy, reviewed Tagoriana, a CD on Albany Records that includes my Tagore Love Songs. The recording features mezzo-soprano Aidan Soder, baritone Paul Busselberg and pianist Calogero Di Liberto.
…Al-Zand chiude la Tagoriana con la sua giovanile immediatezza e la sua inventiva melodica che non rinuncia alla tradizione liederistica e si compenetra perfettamente con i testi da lui scelti.
…Al-Zand closes out Tagoriana with a youthful immediacy and melodic invention that does not reject the lieder tradition and perfectly interprets his chosen texts.
San Antonio’s SOLI Chamber Ensemble performs Swimmy on Musiqa‘s October 10th concert at the new Midtown Arts and Theatre Center (MATCH). A preview feature appears in the Houston Chronicle. The narrator will be actor Seán Patrick Judge. Other pieces on the program include works by Anthony Brandt, Pierre Jalbert, Marcus Maroney and Carl Schimmel. Performances of this same program will also take place in San Antonio on October 6th and 7th with narrator Nathan Cone.
The Summer 2015 edition of SYMPHONY, the quarterly magazine published by the League of American Orchestras, features an article by Thomas May entitled A New East-West Polyphony, which highlights composers who are “drawing on their Arabic, Turkish, and Iranian roots to enrich America’s orchestral life.” The Houston Symphony’s performance of my City Scenes is mentioned, as is the work of Mohammed Fairouz, Fawzi Haimor, Mariam Adam, Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol, Kinan Azmeh, Kareem Roustom, Malek Jandali, and Reza Vali.
Recently my friend, mezzo-soprano Aidan Soder, travelled to Kolkata, India on a Fulbright fellowship. She was there for research, performance and teaching—all stemming from her work on Western vocal settings of poet Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941). Tagore was a Bengali poet, writer, painter and composer—and the first Asian to win the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913. Aidan’s singing can be heard on the CD Tagoriana, a recording which includes my own Tagore Love Songs. Here’s a review in Ei Samay, the largest Bengali language daily paper, which speaks of her project and performance at Jorasanko Thakurdalan, Tagore’s ancestral home. It also (apparently) mentions me and my music—but unfortunately I can’t read any of it!