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Kinan Azmeh… The Wizard



The Migrant-Canada: “Jisreen”, a small village in the countryside of Damascus, where the family owned a small plot of land. As a small child frequented it. He was involved with his family in planting and irrigating apricot trees and various vegetables, learning to play the violin at the age of six.

Kinan continued to learn music, but switched from violin and piano lessons to playing the clarinet after realizing that his little at that time dream of working as a traveling musician around the world, would hinder his piano playing, so he chose the clarinet at an early age, since then has never left his hand and heart. And till now he is still attached to it having won many awards and praise worldwide.

His unique talent for clarinet, which has recognized by a lot of pundits and audience, has led The New York Times to call him “The lavishly-talented” and the Los Angeles Times “The fascinating brilliant”.

Kinan’s passion for music is limitless. He completed his studies at the Higher Institute of Music in Damascus and received his master’s degree and graduate diploma in music from the Juilliard School in New York City, he had performed on the global most important theaters and capitals and remained on his passion for the clarinet instrument, which was adopted by him, through it he has been recognized  as a soloist and composer on a global scale. Also, he will be a guest of Toronto Summer Music Festival on the eighteenth day of the current month.

Syrian musician and composer Kinan Al-Azmah says in an exclusive interview with the newspaper “The Migrant”, that the reason behind his fame worldwide is not due to what he did of the combination of Arabic and classic music, which has had a significant positive impact on his audience worldwide. Adding that “Music is indescribable. It is a combination of several things I love. I think the musician doesn’t consciously combine, but when I compose or play music, there are little details related to my Syrian origin that takes its own way in the music that I play without, I combine it. “

“I lived in Damascus for 24 years and the rest in New York City and was very influenced by these cities and these two places, which is normal that their influence on me will be reflected in my play, this combination, felt by others is a normal result for a person has lived a diverse life” he said.

Kinan explained by stating: “When you try to present something new with a different identity, you try to touch the audience on a personal level and touch its feelings, this is the primary goal of music, not to only present a combination of Arabic music and classic music for the audience”.

Kinan considers that every creative work requires the existence of four elements: First, you must have something or an idea you want to express. Second, you have the means to convey your idea in music, writing, or anything else. Third, you have the skill to use your tool or your instrument to say what you would like to say. Fourth: You have an open mind to all the influences of the outside world to try to reformulate them in music to say what you want to tell the audience.

About what he wants to express through music, Kinan said: “If I had the ability to tell you verbally what I want to say then there will be no need for music… Here comes the importance of any creative work, particularly music, where we have the opportunity to test an emotions, which we didn’t experience in everyday life. Music is indescribable and is a combination of several things I love. “

Between playing clarinet and composing music, Kinan finds himself soon to do the two things both. “There are many examples in the history, the most notable Mozart, who was a musician and composer at the same time. For me, I like the idea of music in an integrated manner and make a move between both areas because each enriches and completes the other. One of my favorite things is to play with the band something I composed by myself. “

As to what the war in Syria has involved impact on his work and his art, Kinan said: “What happened in Syria over the last seven years shook everyone… There are schools, raising the question: why art? Other school states that, you work in the arts to recreate the world in an ideal way. For me, art is not an entertainment activity and the role of art after the war has changed completely, certainly my playing will not change anything in the nature of the events in Syria, but what art can do is to inspire others to express their opinion freely. The art ultimately free work by its nature and composition. “

Kinan dreams to keep playing his music with passion and love. At the same time, other never-ending dream of returning and doing concerts in his country, Syria, where he performed his last concert in 2011. He played in the most important theaters worldwide.  Even though that’s all really important, it is still having less effect on himself, he said: “If you ask me which of my concerts influenced me the most, I will tell you a small concert I held in the countryside of Tartus in 2010, and the second concert in Jaramana in the year 2000, which was attended by about 45 persons. The most important for me is to present something genuine and real to the people of my country. “

Among other things he eager to, is Damascus’s old neighborhoods  and to walk around there again. He has an overwhelming desire to get back to see the apricot trees he used to watering, and to breathe the air of  “Jisreen”, this small gentle village.


Interviewed by Kameel Nasrawi

Translated  by Satanay Barsbay

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