Amir ElSaffar

Amir ElSaffar

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Tickets on Sale Soon
February 15 – February 16, 2025
Historic Asolo Theater
$10-$40 / Members save 10%
Subscriptions are now on sale. Individual tickets will be available Sept 3.

The Two Rivers Ensemble is a sextet of jazz and Middle Eastern musicians that has made innovative strides in using the maqam modal system with the American jazz idiom. Deeply rooted in the musical forms of Iraq and nearby regions, the

music still speaks the language of swing, improvisation, and group interaction, and the resultant sound is distinct from other contemporary cross-cultural musical fusions. After 14 years of extensive performing and touring, The Two Rivers Ensemble has developed an instinctive ease with ElSaffar’s highly complex music, enabling the band to play with a creativity that transcends pure technical challenge in a style that is rooted in tradition, while creating an entirely new aesthetic. Downbeat Magazine called Amir ElSaffar’s work “certainly the first Middle Eastern-imbued jazz combo at Newport to win a standing ovation for its first song.”

Composer, trumpeter, santur player, and vocalist Amir ElSaffar has been described as “uniquely poised to reconcile jazz and Arabic music,” (the Wire) and “one of the most promising figures in jazz today” (Chicago Tribune). A recipient of the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award and a 2018 US Artist Fellow, ElSaffar is an expert trumpeter with a classical background, conversant not only in the language of contemporary jazz, but has created techniques to play microtones and ornaments idiomatic to Arabic music that are not typically heard on the trumpet. Additionally, he is a purveyor of the centuries-old, now endangered, Iraqi maqam tradition, which he performs actively as a vocalist and santur player.

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Individual tickets will be available September 3.