Members of the Bronxville High School orchestra and band – who have been exploring different ways of addressing engaged citizenship and innovation as part of the Bronxville Promise – worked with duoJalal during a four-day residency, held at their high school from Jan. 9-14.
During their work with professional musicians Kathryn Lockwood and Yousif Sheronick, the students were treated to a concert that ranged from Klezmer music to a contemporary work by Kenji Bunch called “Found Objects,” in which the viola is played with a guitar pick. The duo introduced the students to musical conventions, such as Arabic scale systems, and unfamiliar instruments, such as the Peruvian cajon, and explored ways of blending Eastern and Western music traditions.
“The duo’s name was inspired by 13th-century poet Jalal al-din Rumi, who sought to be of service to all, regardless of belief, race, class or nationality,” said orchestra director Dr. Denise Lutter, who organized the musicians’ visit. “It is my hope that the students’ interaction with the duo will inspire them to reflect upon these values and encourage them to view differences among music traditions and cultures as a source of creative inspiration.”
Following duoJalal’s concert, Lockwood taught the students how to play “Longa Riad” by Riad El-Soumbati and “Zeina” by Mohamed Abdul Wahab. Meanwhile, Sheronick worked with band students on a variety of hand drumming techniques.
“Working with duoJalal gave the students insight into the detailed interpretive decisions that are made by professional musicians, and it inspired them to think more broadly about the role that music might play in supporting the development of an innovative and cohesive global culture,” Dr. Lutter said.
The students’ work will culminate in a composition project in which the students will blend disparate elements to generate creative musical ideas. The PubliQuartet, a group of professional musicians who have worked with the students in the past, will play their original compositions during the district’s Innovation Festival on May 21.
DuoJalal’s visit was generously funded by the Bronxville School Foundation.