Middle East and Central Asia Music Forum

Middle East and Central Asia Music Forum

The next meeting of the Middle East and Central Asia Music Forum will take place on:

Friday 22nd May 2015, 9.30 to 6.45pm, followed by an evening concert at 7pm.

At: City University London, College Building, St John Street, London EC1V 4PB

Maps and directions

This event is run in conjunction with the Institute of Musical Research. Entrance is free and all are welcome but to help us with planning we ask that you book in advance:


Registration from 9.30am

Room AG09, College Building

9.45am                  Welcome and Session 1

Ahmad AlSalhi (Royal Holloway University of London): ‘Introduction to the History of the Genre of aut in Kuwait’

Ed Emery (SOAS): ‘The Kurdish Songbook Project 2014-15: The Right to Song and a Model for Radical Ethnomusicology’

11am                     Tea/Coffee

11.30am                Session 2

John Baily (Goldsmiths University of London): ‘Playing the Dotar in Torbat-e Jam, Iran’

Emin Soydas (Cankiri Karatekin University, Turkey): ‘Identifying the Ottoman Tanbur before the Nineteenth Century’

Michael Ellison (University of Bristol): ‘Multiple Traditions, New forms: Transcending East and West in Musical Theatre’

1.15pm – 2.15pmLunch     


2.15pm     Session 3

Stephen Wilford (City University London): ‘Between Thames and Sahara: Representations of Algerian Music in Contemporary London’

Sam MacKay (City University London): ‘A Shared History? North African Musical Heritage and the Public Sphere in Contemporary Marseille’

Polly Withers (University of Exeter): ‘”I’m not a Palestinian musician, I’m a musician who happens to be Palestinian”: Negotiating Nationalism in Popular Musics in Palestine’

4pm                       Tea/Coffee

4.30pm – 5.40pm

Veronica Doubleday (Visiting Fellow, Goldsmiths University of London): ‘Recent Social Changes Reflected in Female Music-Making in Afghanistan’

Merav Rosenfeld (Universities of London and Cambridge, St Edmund’s College): ‘A Short Summary of a Long History: The Paraliturgical Song of Jews Originating in Arab Countries’

6pm – Book launch with wine and nibbles (room AG01, ground floor, College Building)

Laudan Nooshin Iranian Classical Music: The Discourses and Practice of Creativity (Ashgate Press, SOAS Musicology Series, published February 2015)


7pm – Concert: Sounds of the Bosphorus Today (Performance Space, lower ground floor, College Building)

Free to attend, but please book your place (if you have registered for the conference, you need to sign up for this separately)


This is the opening concert of the City Summer Sounds Festival:  http://www.city.ac.uk/city-summer-sounds


Neva Özgenkemençe

Yelda Özgen cello


Ziyad (for kemençe and cello) (2002) –  İhsan Özgen

Asumani (for kemençe and cello) (2012) – Kamran Ince

New Work, 2015 (for kemençe and cello) – Michael Ellison

Uzak (for kemençe and cello) (2003) – İhsan Özgen

Evcara Peşrev Dilhayat Kalfa – (1710?-1780)

Evcara Saz Semaisi  –  Dilhayat Kalfa

Ferahfeza Peşrev – Tanburi Cemil Bey (1873-1916)

Ferahfeza Saz Semaisi – Tanburi Cemil Bey


Mixing experimental, sometimes polyphonic makamsal music (deriving from makam) by İhsan Özgen, Michael Ellison, and Kamran Ince, with that of two traditional masters, this concert shows what three different composers are doing today in straddling the borders between Turkish traditional music and the contemporary West. In Özgen’s case, his perspective is completely from within the long tradition of Ottoman music, and yet these small pieces for kemence and cello show consciously embedded western influence. With Michael Ellison, for whom Ottoman music is a learned tradition, and whose music explicitly attempts to find a middle ground and then go beyond this, it is entirely the opposite. Similarly, Kamran Ince is a Turkish composer writing western music, but coming back to the roots of tradition. These contemporary experiments are followed by works of Dilhayat Kalfa (1710?-1780) and Tanburi Cemil Bey, whose style İhsan Özgen is renowned for extending and preserving.

The Middle East and Central Asia Music forum is open to researchers, students and anyone interested in the music and culture of the region. In the spirit of fostering dialogue and interdisciplinarity, we hope that the issues discussed at the forum will be of interest to a broad audience, including musicologists, ethnomusicologists and other researchers in the arts, humanities and social sciences. In addition, we welcome those working on other aspects of Middle Eastern and Central Asian culture broadly speaking (dance, visual arts, media, film, literature, etc.)



For more information, please contact Laudan Nooshin: l.nooshin@city.ac.uk