Arts & Humanities Campus News

Karim Nagi joins the new UGA Middle East Music Ensemble in first concert

The inaugural concert of the UGA Middle East Music Ensemble will feature guest artist Karim Nagi. (Submitted photo)

The University of Georgia Hugh Hodgson School of Music presents the inaugural concert of the UGA Middle East Music Ensemble on April 18 at 7:30 p.m.

This celebration of Middle Eastern music and cultures features guest artist Karim Nagi and is directed by UGA musicology and ethnomusicology lecturer Jared Holton. The concert will be held in Ramsey Concert Hall at the UGA Performing Arts Center.

As part of Nagi’s visit to UGA, he will also lead a “Middle Eastern Rhythm and Dance Workshop” in collaboration with both the School of Music and the UGA Department of Dance. This workshop will be at 9:35–10:50 a.m. in the UGA Memorial Hall Ballroom. Both of these events are free and open to everyone.

The creation of the UGA Middle East Music Ensemble this year is part of a continuing effort by the Hugh Hodgson School of Music to include the study of and access to world music as a regular part of the music curriculum.

Holton holds a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of California in Santa Barbara. As a pianist, vocalist and Arabic ‘ud (lute) performer, he approaches teaching and research as a musician.

“With all of the access and connectedness that people have to each other and their cultural expressions today, music is now a global subject,” said Holton. “Our ensemble practices this musical diversity and, in doing so, values the great variety of human communities that create and maintain such traditions.”

For most of the students, many of them had never seen these particular instruments before.

“I watched their learning develop each week during rehearsals,” Holton said, “and I am proud of their commitment to experience and learn about musical traditions that are unfamiliar to them. This journey will continue long after the concert is finished.”

Nagi is a native Egyptian immigrant to the U.S. and a true crossover artist uniting the Arab tradition with the global contemporary world. He has released 14 CDs, ranging from traditional Arab music to fusion and electronica. He has authored instructional videos for Arab percussive instruments and Arab dance styles. As a dance and drum teacher, Nagi has taught in dozens of festivals in the United States, Asia, Europe and Cairo, as well as most major Arab Culture festivals in the U.S. He is also a public speaker with a TEDx talk.