The Penn Arab Music Ensemble

December 8, 2022 (Thursday) — 8:00 PM to 9:30 PM

Class of 1949 Auditorium
Houston Hall
3417 Spruce St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

This performance is a window into the Arab world - a vast geographical region between the Atlantic Ocean and the Persian/Arabian Gulf. The Penn Arab Music Ensemble, directed by Hanna Khuri, will present popular songs from the Arab world. These songs capture the region’s intricate musical and political history in the twentieth century. This era witnessed rapid social and political change triggered by the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of World War I, the birth of the nation-state system, colonization, and the rise of independence movements. A musical renaissance coupled with technological advancements facilitated the rise of a shared Arab public sphere of songs and musical icons that made the very notion of Arab social imagining conceivable.

The ensemble celebrates the linguistic diversity of the region as the ensemble presents songs in classical Arabic and colloquial dialects. The audience will experience the intricate melodic and rhythmic modes and musical instruments that are popular in Arab music. This performance will open with the Penn Arab Percussion Ensemble directed by percussion director Hafez Kotain. In this segment, the ensemble will perform traditional Arabic rhythms on the Durbakke, a goblet shaped drum popular in Arab music. This performance is free and open to the public.



Open to all students in the Penn community as well as to members of the greater Philadelphia community, this ensemble explores a wide range of Arab music and provides students with the opportunity to learn through coachings provided by several professional performers of Arab music. The Arab Music Ensemble participates in performances hosted and organized by PennMusic and members will also have the opportunity to perform at functions and events around Penn’s campus. More information.