Hanna Khoury: Music Director
Al-Bustan’s Music Program is directed by Hanna Khoury. He is a recipient of the prestigious 2010 Pew Fellowship in the Arts, which is awarded each year to 12 Philadelphia artists who are of exemplary talent.
Khoury is a violinist trained in the classical traditions of Arab and Western music. While music director of the Arabesque Music Ensemble, Khoury led nationwide tours performing classical Arab music in major venues and universities, and recorded two traditional Arab music albums: Al-Fursan Al-Talatha and The Songs of Sheikh Sayyed Darweesh: Soul of People. He has collaborated and performed with major artists including Lebanese superstar Fairuz, Iraqi singer Kazem Al-Saher, Grammy winner Youssou N’Dour, Algerian singer Cheb Khaled, and Tony Award winner Mandy Patinkin. In addition, Khoury can be heard on several pop songs including Grammy nominated song Beautiful Liar (featuring Beyoncé and Shakira) and Love and Compassion (featuring Paula Cole and Kazem Al Saher). He recorded strings for Shakira’s Grammy performance of Hips Don’t Lie. Khoury collaborated with musician/composer Kareem Roustom on multiple projects, including recording strings for award-winning films Amreeka, Budrus, Encounter Point, and the PBS documentary Mosque in Morgan Town, in addition to releasing an Arabic jazz album with Al-Zafeer Ensemble. A recipient of the America-Israel Scholarship and Qattan Foundation Award, Khoury graduated magna cum-laude with departmental honors from UCLA with Bachelors in Economics and Music Performance, and obtained his Master’s Degree in Music from Temple University.
Khoury began teaching music with Al-Bustan in Spring 2009: first leading a small ensemble for a performance in May 2009, teaching music at Al-Bustan Camp in July 2009 and July 2010, and since January 2010 as Director of Al-Bustan’s Music Program and Music Director of the community ensemble Philadelphia Arab Music Ensemble.
Hafez El Ali Kotain: Percussion
Kinan Abou-afach: Cello
Kinan Abou-afach is a Syrian-born cellist and composer. He is a recipient of the prestigious 2013 Pew Fellowship in the Arts, which is awarded each year to 12 Philadelphia artists who are of exemplary talent. Abou-afach began his musical studies at the age of seven and received his first degree in cello and oud performance in the music preparatory program of the Arabic Institute of Music in Damascus. He completed a Bachelors degree in cello performance with a minor in oud performance from the Higher Institute of Music in Damascus. He has performed as a soloist with various orchestras in the Arab region and participated in master-classes with Francoise Baduell, Federico Romano, Yo-Yo Ma, and members of Alban Berg Quartet. Abou-afach moved to Chicago in 2000 to obtain his master’s degree at the DePaul University School of Music. He studied under Stephen Balderston, assistant principal of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s cello section, and was a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago for several years. Abou-afach is also an active composer, writing music influenced by Eastern and Western traditions. Some of his film scores include original soundtracks “The Long Night” by Hatem Ali; “Where We Stood” by Blake Beckstrom; and for the Theater/Dance “Jondo Portraits” by choreographer Wendy Clinard. Most recently he composed “Roads to Damascus,” a 52-minute composition commissioned by Al-Bustan and premiered in February 2013 at the Arab Music Concert Series in Philadelphia. More about Abou-afach on his website.