Simon Shaheen (internationally acclaimed oud and violin virtuoso). He studied privately Jazz piano with Mr. Michael Cochrane and Leanne Ledgerwood. He also studies regularly oud with Mr.
Bassam Saba (Simon Shaheen, Marcel Khalife, Fairuz) and theory with Dr. Ali Jihad Racy at the Classical Arabic music retreat in Mount Holyok. Ben-Simhon also plays several percussion instruments after studying with Mr. Glen Velez and Souran Baronian.
Ben-Simhon is the founder and composer of the "Sultana Ensemble," which is comprised of musicians and a dancer from Arab, American and Israeli descent. He has recorded two CDs¹ with his ensemble and was recorded as a guest musician on other CDs¹. His latest CD with the Sultana Ensemble is getting aired on radio stations all over the world. He also co-produced and arranged the music for two CD recordings for the Ladino-fusion band "Sarah Aroeste," in which he plays and sings.
He was the featured oud player on a soundtrack for the 2002 New York Fashion Show, and on a Focus Features movie ³Vanity Fair². Ben-Simhon composed music for movies such as: "Concert Joe," "Shaheed," and "A Job To Win" and has orchestrated the music for the off-Broadway musical "God of Vengeance". As an expert on Judeo-Arab music, Ben-Simhon was interviewed with the acclaimed Andalusian singer Emil Zrihan by Sarah Fishco for WNYC (NPR). He was also featured on the acclaimed WNYC¹s ³Sound Check² program by John Schafer, as well as on several radio interviews such as WBAI and WFMU.
He has appeared also on TV, Chicago¹s channel 5 and was featured in the Chicago Tribune, and Haaretz newspapers, to name just a few. Ben-Simhon is the musical director of the avant-guard Jewish theater company Storahtelling, and a musician in residence at the Bnei Jeshurun synagogue. Ben-Simhon was an oud soloist, playing with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (0ne of the top 10 best orchestras in the world), under the direction of Lucas Richman. Ben-Simhon also gave workshops, master classes and lectures in music schools and universities on various music topics.
He had performed at numerous venues throughout the US and Europe, including Seville-Spain, Theatro Manzoni-La Scala in Milan Italy, Lincoln Center Festival, the United Nations General Assembly Hall, Celebrate Brooklyn Festival, the Jewish Museum, Chicago Cultural Center, The HotHouse Chicago, and in New York¹s main music scenes; Symphony Space, Metropolitan Museum, The Jewish Museum, Joe¹s Pub, Knitting Factory, Satalla, and Makor. He had performed with internationally known artists such as Yossi Fine, George Mgrdichian, Howard Levi, Rachid Halihal, Yair Dalal, Dr. Avi Eilam-Amzallag and memebers of the Israeli Andalusian Orchestra, Lior Elmalich, Gerard Ederi, Bassam Saba, Haig Manokian, Souran Baronian, Abdelftah Bennis, Frank London, Matisyahu, Kenny Muhammad, Greg Taubman, Dany Maseng, and Yosi Piamenta to name just a few. Ben Simhon has had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Simon Shaheen, Korin Alal, Riki Gal, Arkadi Duchin, Shlomo Gronich, and David Daor.
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