Mystical Music of the Middle East
Concert by the Yuval Ron Ensemble with special guest Cassandra
Date & Time:
8:00 PM - 8:00 PM Wednesday, April 15, 2015, 8:00 p.m.
Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas
Cleveland Avenue North (just south of Laurel Avenue)
University of St. Thomas, St. Paul campus
Featuring musicians from three religious traditions, this concert will be a celebration of the light of the Divine expressed in songs of Sufi Muslim origin from Turkey, chants from the Christian Armenian Church, and Jewish prayers from Morocco, Yemen, and Israel.
The Yuval Ron Ensemble, led by Oscar winning Israeli composer Yuval Ron (music for “West Bank Story”), includes Jewish, Christian, and Muslim musicians who endeavor to overcome national, racial, religious, and cultural divides by uniting the music and dance of the diverse peoples of the Middle East into a unique and inspiring mystical musical celebration. Formed in 1999, the ensemble was chosen to be featured in PBS "Holiday Celebration" TV specials, was featured four times at the World Festival of Sacred Music in Los Angeles, and was honored with the Los Angeles Treasures Award and the Lincoln/Standing Bear Gold Medal from the City of Lincoln, Nebraska, in appreciation of its efforts for peace and justice worldwide.
In 2005 the ensemble performed at an International Peace Festival in South Korea and in 2007 it was featured in the International Oud Festival in Jerusalem as part of the Peace Mission Tour to Israel. In 2008 the ensemble headlined the benefit concert for the Dalai Lama's initiative "Seeds of Compassion" and, invited by the King of Morocco, in 2009 it performed at the International Sacred Music Festival of Fez.
In 2010 the ensemble toured in Spain, performing a unique collaboration with the Gypsy Flamenco artists of Andalusia in concerts in Seville, Jerez, and Madrid. In 2011, invited by the Intercultural Forum of the Association of Writers and Journalists of Turkey, the ensemble gave a concert for peace in Istanbul and led a Peace Mission Tour throughout Turkey.
The ensemble has been featured on the National Public Radio "Echoes" and "Hearts of Space" programs and has had residencies at numerous schools, including John Hopkins University, Middlebury College, UCLA, and Yale University. It has also performed numerous benefit concerts to support organizations that promote peace and help the disadvantaged. The ensemble’s CDs "Under the Olive Tree," "Tree of Life," and "Seeker of Truth" have become favorites with world music lovers around the world.
Cassandra Shore began performing Middle Eastern dance in 1975 and quickly became one of the most popular and respected performers in the San Francisco Bay area. Her intensity, musicality, and technique set her apart from the average performer. She brings to dance lyrical grace, musical focus, and a sensuous quality of movement that brings mere technique to life. Cassandra relocated to Minneapolis in 1977 for performing opportunities and opened the Cassandra School in 1978. A student of the finest teachers and choreographers in the Middle East and the United States, Cassandra has earned worldwide acclaim from the masters in the field as a master teacher and star performer of Middle Eastern dance. She performs and teaches regularly around the world and her Cassandra School offers fifteen classes a week in Minneapolis, from beginning to professional levels in technique, choreography, performance skills, dance conditioning, and Arabic language and culture studies.
Sponsored by the University of St. Thomas Sacred Arts Festival in collaboration with the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning and the Episcopal House of Prayer at Saint John’s Abbey and University, Collegeville, Minnesota
Yuval Ron will be conducting a 6-day retreat titled “Healing and Transformation of Consciousness through Sacred Sound, Meditation, and Dance” at the Episcopal House of Prayer in August. For more information, click here.