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Thu 6 Mar 2008, 7:30pm–9:30pm

Where: Michael Fowler Centre, 111 Wakefield Street, Wellington

Ticket Information:

  • 'A' Reserve: $85.00
  • 'A' Reserve- Friend: $80.00
  • 'B' Reserve: $75.00
  • 'B' Reserve - Friend: $70.00
  • 'C' Reserve: $60.00
  • 'D' Reserve: $45.00
  • Additional fees may apply

Listed by: Olivia Bruce

Absolute Arabian Nights is a jazz-based sonic excursion, taking the listener on an extraordinary journey from America's jazz roots, across the Atlantic, bypassing Europe but with a nod to its classical past, and into the heart of Middle Eastern music. The creation of Kristjan Järvi and Swiss saxophonist and composer Daniel Schnyder for a 15-strong ensemble, Arabian Nights blends jazz, Western classical music, traditional Eastern tunes and instruments such as the oud and nye.

Arabian Nights features the Absolute Ensemble with special guest Marcel Khalifé (oud/vocals), often referred to as the "Bob Dylan of the Middle East", his son Bashar Khalifé (percussion) and Bassam Saba (nye). Known throughout the world as an artistic revolutionary and cultural icon, Lebanese musician Marcel Khalifé's intense and emotional songs have a power beyond mere words and music.

With Järvi bringing together genre and style and Schnyder specialising in ethnic fusions, Arabian Nights breaks down the divisions of East and West in a celebration of the rich world of music.

Conductor Kristjan Järvi
Oud and vocals Marcel Khalifé

About Absolute Ensemble
Since its inception in 1993, the Absolute Ensemble has served up classical music with large helpings of energy. The Ensemble's consummate musicianship is evident whether it is crafting the intricate opening phrases of Mahler or improvising a crazy, fiendish solo.

Kristjan Järvi, whom the New York Times refers to as a "kinetic force on the podium", lovingly describes his musicians as "musical omnivores". The group fuses its classical roots with everything from jazz and rock to world music and hip-hop – lending itself to the kind of performance usually foreign to the classical breed.

Music is the family business; Järvi comes from a dynasty of classical conductors – son of Neeme and brother to Paavo Järvi. Currently music director of the Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra, Järvi has extensive commitments as guest conductor and has cultivated special relationships with a number of orchestras including Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra and NDR Radio Philharmonie.

Primarily based in the United States, the Absolute Ensemble has toured the globe and has an extensive list of recordings which have won numerous accolades, including the German Record Critics Prize and a Grammy nomination for best small ensemble classical recording.

Absolute is not preoccupied with defining themselves as a chamber orchestra, jazz band, big band or rock band – "they are equally comfortable with classical music, jazz and rock and have the techniques to address these styles in their own terms" (New York Times).

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