An enthralling fusion of Syrian sounds and rhythms with Western classical and jazz.

Kinan Azmeh CityBand strives to reach a balance between classical music, jazz, and the music of Azmeh’s homeland, Syria. Azmeh’s expressive clarinet meets Kyle Sanna’s rustic guitar, soaring at times over the dynamic and volatile backdrop of Bodek Janke’s percussion and Petros Klampanis on bass. Each band member has come from varied backgrounds to add their personal flair to this ensemble, resulting in a thoroughly exciting and rewarding listening experience. The band gained recognition for its virtuosic and high energy performance, receiving praise from critics and audiences alike.

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Biography

Kinan Azmeh

Hailed as “intensely soulful” and a “virtuoso” by The New York Times and “spellbinding” by The New Yorker, Winner of Opus Klassik award in 2019 clarinetist and composer Kinan Azmeh has gained international recognition for what the CBC has called his “incredibly rich sound” and his distinctive compositional voice across diverse musical genres.
Originally from Damascus, Syria, Kinan Azmeh brings his music to all corners of the world as a soloist, composer and improviser. Notable appearances include the Opera Bastille, Paris; Tchaikovsky Grand Hall, Moscow; Carnegie Hall and the UN General Assembly, New York; the Royal Albert Hall, London; Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires; Philharmonie, Berlin; the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center, Washington DC; the Mozarteum, Salzburg, Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie; and in his native Syria at the opening concert of the Damascus Opera House.
He has appeared as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, the Dusseldorf Symphony, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, the Qatar Philharmonic and the Syrian Symphony Orchestra among others, and has shared the stage with such musical luminaries as Yo-Yo Ma, Daniel Barenboim, Marcel Khalife, John McLaughlin, Francois Rabbath Aynur and Jivan Gasparian.

In addition to his own Arab-Jazz Quartet CityBand and his Hewar trio, he has also been playing with the Silkroad Ensemble since 2012, whose 2017 Grammy Award-winning album “Sing Me Home” features Kinan as a clarinetist and composer.

Kinan Azmeh is a graduate of New York’s Juilliard School as a student of Charles Neidich, and of both the Damascus High institute of Music where he studied with Shukry Sahwki, Nicolay Viovanof and Anatoly Moratof, and Damascus University’s School of Electrical Engineering. Kinan earned his doctorate degree in music from the City University of New York in 2013.
He is currently working on his first opera which is scheduled to premiere in Osnabruck, Germany in June 2022

Bodek Janke

Bodek Janke is one of today’s most sought after drummers and percussionists of the international jazz and world music scenes. His unique and outstanding way of playing the drums, Indian tabla, and various percussion instruments has given him opportunities to collaborate with Yo-Yo Ma, Lars Danielsson, Bill Evans, Bobo Stenson, Leszek Możdżer, Gilad Hekselman, Nuria Rial, the WDR, NDR & HR Radio Bigbands, Jasper van´t Hof, Kinan Azmeh, Kristjan Randalu, Petros Klampanis, Tarek Yamani, the Turtle Island & Atom String Quartets, and many others. Dubbed as a master of many dialects by New York´s drum legend John Riley, Bodek´s distinctive sound was recorded on more than 200 albums as a sideman. He has also recorded 10 albums under his own name. His current quartet, SONG, with its first released recording in 2019 has already spread enthusiasm among international audiences; with the second album, SONG2 to be released in February 2020. It features the Namibian vocalist Shishani Vranckx, Estonian pianist Kristjan Randalu, British bassist Philip Donkin, the Atom String Quartet from Poland, plus guest appearances of saxophonist Bill Evans, guitarist Gilad Hekselman and trumpeter Sebastian Studnitzky.

Besides his travels and work as a musician, Bodek writes music for large ensembles & orchestras. A snippet from his first symphonic piece The Mantra Suite was premiered and critically acclaimed in March 2019 in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Petros Klampanis

Petros Klampanis is a bassist, composer, arranger and producer. Named a “Bass Ace” by Bass Player Magazine, Klampanis grew up in Greece. In addition to his appearances in the US (Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center), he has performed at the JazzAhead Festival in Bremen, XJazz Festival in Berlin, and many others. His 3rd album, Chroma, released by Motema records, was awarded as the best Live album of 2017, by the Independent Music Awards and was featured in international radio and press outlets. Since 2011, he has recorded 5 albums as a leader. His debut album “Contextual” was released by Inner Circle Music, while his second album “Minor Dispute”, was selected as one of the best jazz records in 2015 by NPR. His 4th album ‘Irrationalities’ was released in October 2019 by Enja. JazzTimes praised it as ‘A dazzling, multifaceted thing of Beauty’. ‘Irrationalities’ received 3 awards at the 2020 Independent Music Awards: ‘Jazz Instrumental’ & ‘Vox Pop’ for the track ‘Easy Come Easy Go’ and ‘Jazz Producer’ for Petros Klampanis.