AKMI, AKU-ISMC and AKTC Present "Inspired by Maqam"

New Music from Syria and Tajikistan

June 22, 2019
7:00 pm-10:00 pm | London

Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations

For the culmination of a series of ten public events co-presented by the Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, interrogating how heritage and contemporary creativity enhance and affect both quality of life and sustainability in a range of Muslim contexts, the Aga Khan Music Initiative brings to Art Night a concert featuring a trio of master musicians from Syria and Tajikistan. "Inspired by Maqam" features Sirojiddin Juraev, Basel Rajoub and Feras Charestan who perform their own compositions and arrangements rooted in and inspired by maqam - a vast domain of sophisticated art song and instrumental music that evolved over at least a millenium in the Eastern Mediterranean, Iraq, Iran, Azerbaijan, North Africa and Central Asia.

The Aga Khan Music Initiative is an interregional music and arts education programme with worldwide performance, outreach, mentoring and artistic production activities. Launched to support talented musicians and music educators, it works to preserve, transmit and further develop their musical heritage in contemporary forms.


Master Musicians of the Aga Khan Music Initiative is a collective of artists who create new music inspired by their own deep roots in the cultural heritage of the Middle East and Mediterranean Basin, South Asia, Central Asia, and China. These masters are the Aga Khan Music Initiative’s leading artistic collaborators—venerated performers and composer-arrangers who appear on the world’s most prestigious stages while also serving as teachers, mentors and curators who enrich the Music Initiative’s interregional network of education programmes. Linking countries and continents, and present and past through explorations of diverse forms of classical, folk, jazz, and contemporary concert music, the ensemble contributes strongly to the Music Initiative’s mission to invigorate cultural and intellectual pluralism in the nations it serves.

Sirojiddin Juraev is a master performer on long-necked lutes from Central Asia. Born and raised near the ancient city of Khujand, in northern Tajikistan, Sirojiddin learned to play the two-stringed dutar as a child and later studied with the great Uzbek master Turgun Alimatov. As a student at the Dushanbe Academy of Maqom, created by the Aga Khan Music Initiative in 2003, Sirojiddin also studied tanbur and sato (bowed tanbur) with ustad Abduvali Abdurashidov. Sirojiddin is active as a composer and arranger, and has created a body of new virtuoso works for dutar, tanbur, and sato. He performs both as a soloist and as a member of several ensembles, including Soriana Project, the Master Musicians of the Aga Khan Music Initiative, the Academy of Maqom, and Tajikistan’s State Shashmaqom Ensemble.

Basel Rajoub is a saxophonist and composer-improviser whose inspirations include traditional Middle Eastern rhythms and melodies as well as jazz. Born in Aleppo, Syria, he graduated from the Damascus High Institute of Music and creates new music that brings together musicians from the Middle East, North Africa, Asia, and Europe. A winner of Radio Monte Carlo’s Moyen-Orient Music Award, Basel Rajoub divides his time between performing, teaching, composing, and recording. Basel performs as a member of several ensembles, including the Master Musicians of the Aga Khan Music Initiative, and is the founding member of the Soriana Project.

Feras Charestan is from the city of Al-Hasakeh, in the northeast of Syria, and studied qanun at the High Institute of Music in Damascus. He has performed as a qanun soloist with symphony orchestras and has been a member of popular bands as well as contemporary music ensembles, such as the Master Musicians of the Aga Khan Music Initiative, creating new music rooted in Middle Eastern traditions. Feras Charestan currently lives in Stockholm, Sweden.

Director: Fairouz Nishanova

Senior consultant: Theodore Levin

Regional coordinator and tour manager: Kirill Kuzmin

Technical director: Joseph Jabbour

Presented by the Aga Khan Music Initiative, a program of the Aga Khan Development Network, Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.

This event is part of Art Night Open programme. Art Night is London’s largest free contemporary art festival, this year taking place in extraordinary spaces around Walthamstow and King’s Cross on 22nd June. 


This event is free but booking is essential. Book as soon as possible.

*Please note that this is a free event and we therefore cannot guarantee admission for all ticket holders. Seats will be allocated on a first come first served basis so please arrive in good time.


Atrium Conference Room
Aga Khan Centre
10 Handyside Street