Commissioned works

Amir ElSaffar + Zinc & Copper

Amir ElSaffar

Amir ElSaffar

© Michael Crommett

Past Dates

Born in Chicago in 1977 to an American mother and an Iraqi father, the trumpeter and composer Amir ElSaffar studied western classical music and jazz in his home town and Iraqi maqam music in Baghdad and London. In his explorations of the connections between these idioms, he sometimes uses a microtonal trumpet as well as a santur, the Iraqi hammered dulcimer, the main instrument of the classical maqam tradition. He has played with Cecil Taylor, Daniel Barenboim, Vijay Iyer and many others, and was heard in Berlin during the MaerzMusik festival earlier this year as a member of Catherine Christer Hennix’s ensemble. “The Wire” has described him as “uniquely poised to reconcile jazz and Arabic music without doing either harm.” For this concert at the Kirche am Hohenzollernplatz, which possesses special acoustical qualities, he will present a composition commissioned by Jazzfest Berlin.

Commissioned by Berliner Festspiele / Jazzfest Berlin

Maqam/Brass Resonance

Amir ElSaffar trumpet, santur, voice
Zinc & Copper:
Yorgos Dimitriadis drums
Robin Hayward microtonal tuba
Hilary Jeffery trombone
Elena Kakaliagou french horn
Claudio Puntin clarinets
Paul Schwingenschlögl trumpet, flugelhorn
James Wylie alto saxophone