Amir ElSaffar

Trumpeter & Composer (US)

Trumpeter, santur player, vocalist, and composer Amir ElSaffar has distinguished himself with a mastery of diverse musical traditions and a singular approach to combining Middle Eastern musical languages with jazz and other styles of contemporary music. ElSaffar was supported as an emerging artist through a number of Jerome funded programs—Jazz Gallery and American Composer’s Forum. A recipient of the 2013 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, ElSaffar has been described as "uniquely poised to reconcile jazz and Arabic music without doing either harm" (the Wire). Over the past decade, Amir ElSaffar has received international acclaim for his work combining the Middle Eastern maqam with contemporary jazz practices. In October 2016, Elsaffar performerd at Walker Art Center with his diverse and virtuosic 17-piece pan-Arabic ensemble featuring Middle Eastern masters as well as US jazz stars, including guitarist Miles Okazaki, drummer Nasheet Waits, and woodwind legend J. D. Parran.

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Interstices (working title)

Composer and musician Amir ElSaffar has spent four weeks in residency at the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, composing a new work commissioned by the Royaumont Foundation in France. The work has been premiered by the ICTUS Ensemble at Royaumont in September, 2017. Amir ElSaffar's work has been composed for seven members of the Belgium-based chamber ensemble, ICTUS Ensemble. Instrumentation is double bass, cello, violin, viola, clarinet/bass clarinet, oboe/English horn, and French horn, with the addition of ElSaffar on trumpet and santour (Iraqi hammered-dulcimer).

Amir was in residence at the Camargo Foundation from May 12 to June 12, 2017 with support provided by the Jerome Foundation.