Amidst chaos and crisis of war in the Middle East, jazz will prevail


BEIRUT, Lebanon – The only Jazz Orchestra in the Middle East, the Big Band of the Lebanese National Conservatory of Music (LNCM), will present a free concert featuring specially composed newly released pieces arranged by, among others, multiple Grammy Award Winner Michael Mossman, a renowned New York-based hard bop jazz trumpeter. The January 26th event takes place at the USJ Abu Khater Theater, near the National Museum, in Beirut Lebanon – a nation now surrounded by the worse refugee crisis in the Middle East since World War II resulting from the ongoing brutal civil war in bordering Syria.

“Music is the meeting place and the common denominator among humanity, even during wartime”, explains lead Alto Saxophone player and Big Band manager Thomas Hornig, a native of Minnesota, USA and longtime Beirut resident. “Somewhere between Lebanon, the United Sates, Syria and the rest of the world, people of all stripes will always meet over music. It is our differences which make us strong and give us hope.”

Horning, who has toured extensively throughout Lebanon, Syria, the Gulf States, North Africa, Europe and the USA, was initially inspired to organize the concert when meeting many Syrian musicians who are now refugees in Lebanon. Their new life is in stark contrast to the culturally rich history of Syrian society, which before the war enjoyed a robust international arts and music scene.

The unprecedented crisis in Syria has forced over 1 million refugees to flee the brutality and bloodshed of their homeland and take shelter in Lebanon. The Big Band of the Lebanese National Conservatory, whose 19 professional musicians hail from many different nations, was formed just around the start of the Syrian civil war and is a reflection of the extraordinarily cosmopolitan and hospitable nature of Lebanese society.

The concert will feature Charbel Rouhana, a renowned musician, composer, artist and academic whose performance career has taken him around the globe. Rouhana is one of the few internationally renowned masters of the Arab Oud, a type of traditional lute. The concert represents a rare opportunity to hear an Oud, which is one of the most popular musical instruments in the Middle East and, in the history of music, also one of mankind’s very first instruments dating back over 5,000 years.

This world premiere performance of the Oud accompanying a Jazz Orchestra was made possible by Mr. Pierre Doumet, President of Jabal Moussa, part of the UNESCO Global Network of Biosphere Reserves. Doumet commissioned the music and brought all musicians from around the globe together for this highly unique collaboration.


Charbel Rouhana – Composer, Oud , Vocals
Thomas Hornig – Band Manager, Alto Saxophone / Flute
Alin Tataru – Alto Sax / Flute
Nidal Abou Samra – Tenor Sax
Bruno Mokbel – Bari Sax
Elias Mouallem – Tenor Sax
Ion Todei – Trumpet
Viaceslav Bilia – Trumpet
Paissios Metny – Trumpet
Hayssam Mehbani – Trumpet
Florinel Barladeanu – Trombone
Alexandru Tapes – Trombone
Igor Vataman – Trombone
Ruslan Plamadeala – Trombone
Iurie Postolachi – Tuba
Christopher Ibrahim – Piano
Joseph Aouad – Guitar
Ruedi Felder – Acoustic Bass
Fouad Afra – Drums


1. Siwar – Arr. John Yao
2. Dangerous Woman – Arr. Suhee Choi
3. Rosana – Arr. Suhee Choi
4. Playful Dream – Arr. Doug Pierce
5. Mada (Co-Composed by Hani Siblini) Arr. Doug Pierce
6. Sleepless Nights – Arr. Lukas Pfeil
7. 13th of July – Arr. Suhee Choi
8. Kenet Lyem – Arr. Suhee Choi
9. Ahla Hdiye – Arr. Suhee Choi
10. Coffee – Arr. Doug Pierce
11. Flamenco – Michael Mossman