HAJ YOUNESS – Moroccan (Oud)
From the great halls of the Smithsonian, to the Royal Court of Indonesia, and the Cairo Opera House, Haj Youness, showcased through the strings of his oud, presents both sacred sensitivity and soul-stirring sounds. Born in Casablanca in 1949, Haj Youness is one the most accomplished oud virtuosos, renowned for delighting audiences worldwide. A disciple of the Turkish scholar, Jamil Bik Tambouri, Youness conducted research that singled him out for his unique instrumental interpretation, supplementing traditional oud music. In his capacity as Dean of the Casablanca Music Conservatory, Africa’s largest conservatory, he shares his talent with young musicians numbering in excess of 5000 international students each year.
His exceptional talent won him the late King Hassan II’s attention and the Golden Luth (Oud) Award in 1983. He was designated with the high honor of Composer at the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Both the United Nations and the International Royal Academy awarded Youness the 2000 International Peace Award for Culture. Most recently UNESCO honored him as well. In 2004, after a mesmerizing concert at the Smithsonian, the Peace Corps’ Friends of Morocco and the Washington Club bestowed upon him the title of Moroccan Ambassador for the Arts to the United States of America.
He will collaborate with the others to present works highlighting the Moroccan, Arabic, Judaic and sub-Saharan roots of contemporary Moroccan music in addition to that which is centuries’ old from Andalucia (Southern Spain,) some of which were originally composed by him. Finally he will indulge us with pieces which explore the origins of Flamenco music and that which we commonly ascribe to South America which actually originated out of Andalucia.