Opening Concert

The prelude to the thirteenth edition of the Morgenland Festival Osnabrück will be given by Rima Khcheich and her ensemble. At home in the Lebanon she is a celebrity and is considered to be one of the most successful singers of her generation. With her clear, warm voice Khcheich sings about love, religion, immigration and revolution – all themes of considerable interest, especially to the young Arabic generation.

Many of her texts were written in cooperation with the Lebanese artist and director Rabih Mroué who has been a guest at the Documenta, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the HAU Berlin.

Khcheich will be accompanied in Osnabrück by an ensemble comprised of four top-class jazz musicians from the Netherlands and Germany, with whom she has worked together for many years. The blending of traditional Arabic music, with its complex rhythms and characteristic melodies, together with harmonies and improvisation from European music, creates sound landscapes which are at times very familiar, and at others quite foreign, always full of excitement, longing, optimism and sadness – in short, everything which makes us human.

  • Rima Khcheich - Vocals
  • Maarten Ornstein - Clarinet
  • Maarten van der Grinten - Guitar
  • Tony Overwater – Double Bass
  • Ruven Ruppik - Percussion

The opening concert of the Morgenland Festival Osnabrück is traditionally held in St Marien. This year, for the first time, the church organ will have an exceptional role to play. It will be played by the prize-winning jazz pianist Florian Weber, who has worked with musicians such as Lee Konitz, Markus Stockhausen and Albert Mangelsdorf, and is head of the jazz department of the Osnabrück Institut für Musik.

Three additional musicians will join him for the second half of the opening concert. The saxophonist Anna-Lena Schnabel – who is currently being celebrated as the “shooting star” of the jazz scene, the Syrian ney player Moslem Rahal – undeniably one of the best players of the end-blown flute – as well as the internationally renowned Lebanese singer Rabih Laoud.

There will also be a guest appearance of the 60-strong project choir “Salam Syria”, which was formed jointly by the Morgenland Festival and the Elbphilharmonie, where they gave an enthusiastically received debut in March. The choir will sing Arabian music as well as a composition by Florian Weber.

For the quartet this evening will be a premiere – for the audience it will be a never-to-forgotten musical experience.

  • Rabih Lahoud – Vocals
  • Moslem Rahal – Ney
  • Anna-Lena Schnabel – Saxophone
  • Florian Weber – Organ, Piano