Thursday (4/11) on (San Francisco), Andrew Muchin writes, “It’s probably just a coincidence that President Barack Obama visited Israel, Jordan and the West Bank a few weeks prior to the Oakland East Bay Symphony’s upcoming ‘Notes From the Middle East’ concert, which will feature music from Israel, Egypt and the West Bank. Then again, the symphony’s annual ‘Notes From…’ series previously has coincided with world events. ‘We did “Notes From Persia” at about the time things in Iran started to heat up with the United States,’ mused Michael Morgan, music director of OEBS. … And ‘Notes From the Middle East,’ at 8 p.m. April 20 at the Paramount Theater in Oakland, is all about linkages. … ‘I always hear similarities in the treatment of rhythm and sometimes what would be considered in Western music quite unusual rhythms, but that are very logical and danceable rhythms in that part of the world.’ … The music also showcases shared emotions. Morgan will conduct the world premiere of Palestinian-American composer John Bisharat’s ‘Ya Way Li,’ based on a poem by Bisharat’s grandfather, Emile. The poem’s title means ‘Woe Is Me’ in Arabic, and it’s the lament of a refugee from war-torn Lebanon that could have been written by the rivers of Babylon.”

Posted April 12, 2013