Four classical guitarists from Syria; Orwa Al Sharaa, Gaby Al Botros, Nazir Salameh and Mohammed Mir Mahmoud, headline the Victoria Guitar Society’s opening concert of its International Artist Series, A Syrian Encounter – an Evening with Orontes Quartet, on Oct. 18 at the Alix Goolden Hall. Photo courtesy Institute for International Education/Artist Protection Fund

Inspirational evening celebrating the power of the arts

The Victoria Guitar Society hosts Syrian Encounter – An Evening with Orontes Quartet, Oct. 18

Four musicians with fascinating stories will take to the Alix Goolden Hall stage Oct. 18 for the opening concert of the Victoria Guitar Society’s International Artist Series.

Syrian Encounter – an evening with Orontes Quartet, features a celebrated collection of guitarists who have played internationally while being forced to flee violence in their native country.

The quartet, including Orwa Al Sharaa, Gaby Al Botros, Nazir Salameh and Mohammed Mir Mahmoud, formed in 2015 and performed at the Damascus Opera House as well as with the Syrian State National Orchestra. Just three years later they received a fellowship from the prestigious Institute for International Education – Artist Protection Fund.

Through their fellowship, Orontes were placed in-residence in Canada, where they have been hosted by the University of Victoria School of Music and mentored by Dr. Alexander Dunn.

They’ve played in several Canadian cities since coming here and on Oct. 18 are part of a multimedia stage show featuring Syrian poetry, prose, solo and ensemble guitar, and percussion. B.C. author Deborah Campbell, writer of the award-winning book A Disappearance in Damascus, will read various works, while popular West Coast classical guitar and rhythm master Celso Machado will also perform.

“Music, art and letters are powerful expressions of the human spirit,” Dunn says, reflecting on this combination of artistic elements and the presence of the Syrian performers in Victoria.

“In times of prosperity and even in times of upheaval and violence, music has brought joy and a sense of togetherness. Artistic expression cannot be stifled by suppression or the nightmare of war. This performance celebrates this unique message, carried from a region of intense conflict and shared in our beautiful city.”

Advance tickets for Syrian Encounter are $25, $20 for seniors and $15 for students (add $5 for at the door prices). They’re available online at victoriaguitarsociety.ca and at Ivy’s Bookshop and Good Earth Coffeehouse in Oak Bay, Long & McQuade Music and Tanner’s Books in Sidney.

Live music

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID Creations opens at the Art Gallery

Rental and sales exhibition features works by 34 local artists

Daniel Lapp’s West Coast Kitchen Party

Join BC’s highly renowned fiddler and folk artist Daniel Lapp for a… Continue reading

Emily Carr show wraps up Canadian Tour at Royal BC Museum

Fresh Seeing opens with exclusive addition of T’anuu

Antimatter festival adapts

Hybrid model brings 100 films

Nanaimo-based ceramic artist Joe Lyons is presenting his first solo exhibition, ‘Poppin Bottles Soda Distraction,’ at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts from Oct. 26 to Nov. 12. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-based ceramic artist showcases variety of bottles in first solo show

Joe Lyons presents ‘Poppin Bottles Soda Distraction’ at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts

Toronto poet Robert Priest is presenting an online reading on Oct. 24. (Photo courtesy Allen Booth)
Nanaimo spoken word society presents online reading by prolific Toronto poet

Robert Priest to dip into 40-year catalogue for upcoming Zoom reading

Nanaimo singer Elise Boulanger releases her new single, ‘Cigarettes et rosé’ on Oct. 11. (Photo courtesy Laura Baldwinson)
Nanaimo singer releasing new single inspired by overheard conversations

Elise Boulanger to unveil ‘Cigarettes et rosé,’ accompanying ukulele tutorial video to come

Lee Porteous will be one of the performers at the Duncan Showroom’s storytelling event later this month. (Photo Submitted)
Duncan Showroom hosts storytellers series

Monthly shows will be broadcast live on YouTube

The 2020 City of Victoria Youth Poet Laureate Neko Smart will give up her seat for the next young poet in January. (Contributed/ Jeremy Loveday)
Nominations open for Victoria’s 2021 Youth Poet Laureate

Honourary one-year term reserved for region’s emerging poets

Joëlle Rabu and Nico Rhodes present No Regrets, a live-streamed and in-person show featuring the songs of French singer Édith Piaf at the Port Theatre on Oct. 17. (Photo courtesy Vital Image)
Nanaimo mother-son duo pay tribute to Édith Piaf in Nanaimo

Vocalist Joëlle Rabu and pianist and arranger Nico Rhodes present ‘No Regrets’ show Oct. 17

Local poets Ian Cognito and Pat Smekal are releasing their latest collection, ‘Old Bones and Battered Bookends.’ (Photo courtesy Literacy Central Vancouver Island/Image by Jacques Gamelin)
Nanaimo area poets release anthology on aging

Ian Cognito and Pat Smekal present ‘Old Bones and Battered Bookends’

The Arts Alive sculpture Winds of Time by Linda Lindsay which sat in front of the Pharmasave on Oak Bay Avenue in 2019 has been purchased anonymously and will be mounted in the King George Terrace parking lot. (Photo from OakBay.ca)
Winds of Time breezes onto Oak Bay lookout

Donor bought Arts Alive sculpture for Oak Bay lookout

Most Read