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Charlotte Symphony concert honoring MLK features a world premiere 10 years in the making

Jan 11, 2023

By Adam Bell, The Charlotte Observer -- 

For pianist and composer Malek Jandali, the Queens University of Charlotte motto holds special significance. It's "non ministrari sed ministrare," or for non-Latin speakers, "not to be served, but to serve." The Queens alumnus and its first composer-in-residence said that motto "has been embedded in my musical journey."

The German-born man Jandali was raised in Syria. And as war continues to ravage his beloved country, Jandali has dedicated his career to preserving and celebrating Syrian and Mesopotamian culture through music. That includes an orchestral piece he wrote in 2013 called "Elegy," based on an ancient Syrian melody, a call and response format of Arabic music known as tahmila.

That work finally will get its world premiere as part of the Charlotte Symphony's "Together We Rise" concert honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The concert will be held at Queens on Jan. 18, just two days after the federal MLK Day holiday. "Together We Rise" will feature music from several composers exploring the themes of freedom, strength, and justice in observance of MLK Day, according to the symphony.

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