MEET THE ARTISTS


Tarek Yamani

Born and raised in Beirut, Tarek is a Lebanese-American award winning composer and a jazz pianist who taught himself jazz the age of 19.

Since the release of his debut “Ashur” in 2012, Tarek has been reinventing classical Arabic music within the framework of Black American Music in a genre often dubbed “Afro-Tarab” and most evident in his second album “Lisan Al Tarab: Jazz Conceptions in Classical Arabic”.

Following the commission by the Abu Dhabi Festival, Tarek went on to research and write new music based on the largely unexplored rhythms of the Arabian Peninsula. The new work entitled “Peninsular” was released to critical acclaim and described as “a world-jazz heard nowhere else” (TSF Jazz), “luminous music anchored in jazz harmony and Arab traditions” (Télérama), “striking, rather atypical, rich, varied… to urgently insert into your playlists” (Jazz Magazine) and “the most beautiful surprise of the beginning of this year” (Jazz News).

Winner of the prestigious “Thelonious Monk Int’l Jazz Composers Competition” for his composition “Sama’i Yamani”, Tarek has been part of three all-star global concerts of the International Jazz Day and shared the stage with luminaries such as Wayne Shorter, Richard Bona, Zakir Hussein, Esperanza Spalding, Antonio Sanchez, Brian Blade and Vinnie Coliauta.

He performed around the world in venues such as the Smithsonian Institute (Washington, DC), Barcelona Cathedral at La Merce (Spain), David Rubenstein Atrium (Lincoln Center, NY), Boulez Saal (Berlin), Dizzy’s Cub Coca Cola (Jazz at Lincoln Center), MuCEM museum (FR), the United Nations Assembly Hall (NY), Gran Teatro de la Habana (Cuba), Melbourne Arts Center, New York University (Abu Dhabi Festival), the Blue Whale (Los Angeles), the Detroit Institute of Arts, New Morning (Paris), Aaron Davis Hall (NY), and King’s Place (UK) to name a few.

Since moving to NYC in 2011, Tarek has played as a leader or sideman in New York’s most renowned jazz clubs such as the Lenox Lounge, Iridium, Smoke, Smalls, Cornelia Street Cafe, Bill’s Place, The Stone, Le Poisson Rouge, Shapeshifter Lab, Nublu & 55 Bar.

Tarek holds a BS in Computer Science from the American University of Beirut and a BA in Jazz Piano from the Prins Claus Conservatory of Groningen.

Spektral Quartet

Multi-Grammy nominees, the Spektral Quartet actively pursues a vivid conversation between exhilarating works of the traditional repertoire and those written this decade, this year, or this week. Since its inception in 2010, Spektral is known for creating seamless connections across centuries, drawing in the listener with charismatic deliveries, interactive concert formats, an up-close atmosphere, and bold, inquisitive programming.

With a tour schedule including some of the country’s most notable concert venues such as the Kennedy Center, Miller Theater, Library of Congress, and NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts, the quartet also takes great pride in its home city of Chicago: championing the work of local composers, bridging social and aesthetic partitions, and cultivating its ongoing collaborations and residencies in the Chicago region. For the 20/21 Season, Spektral is pleased to announce its Digital Artist Residency at University Musical Society (UMS) with Lebanese-born Afro-Tarab/jazz innovator Tarek Yamani.

Named “Chicagoans of the Year” by the Chicago Tribune in 2017, Spektral Quartet is most highly regarded for its creative and stylistic versatility: presenting seasons in which, for instance, a thematic program circling Beethoven seamlessly coexists with an improvised sonic meditation at sunrise, a talent show featuring Spektral fans, and the co-release of a jazz album traversing the folk traditions of Puerto Rico.



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