Jeffrey Werbock will give a presentation of traditional Azerbaijani mugham improvisations on various native stringed instruments. Mr. Werbock has been giving these presentations for 37 years to audiences all over the world. His primary work is giving lecture demonstrations at colleges, universities, academies and museums, mainly in America and Europe. He has also given solo concerts in Azerbaijan, where he is widely known for his passionate love of their traditional music.
The instruments are:
The Turkish style oud, derived from the Arabic ud, which is an adaptation of the ancient Azerbaijani barbat, a fretless wood faced lute type string instrument plucked with a plectrum. The oud has a soft, deep muted sound with low sustain.
The tar, a double chambered skin faced fretted lute type stringed instrument plucked by a plectrum. The tar has both a deep and bright sound with strong sustain.
The kamancha, a vertically held spike fiddle, with a round skin faced resonator, played with a bow, that produces a very vocal quality sound.
Mugham evolved from earlier forms of ancient eastern art music, including Arabic maqqam, the Islamic call to prayer, and ancient oriental Hebraic chant. There are also elements of Indian raga, and the structure of mugham melodies is influenced by the ancient tradition of the bard / minstrel reciting from memory the great epic legends of the Caucasus and other neighboring localities.
Jeffrey Werbock will present a program of instrumental solo improvisations based on traditional Azerbaijani mugham, played on oud – fretless wood face short neck lute; tar – fretted skin face long neck lute; and kamancha – skin face spike fiddle.
Azerbaijani mugham is monophonic modal music, highly microtonal, meter free, densely ornamented, composed of complex melodic lines that are somewhat improvised according to the eastern tradition of theme and variation, and convey a mix of sorrow and joy, exhaltation and lament, and an overall sense of both antiquity and otherworldiness.
Mr. Werbock has been giving presentations for well over three decades and has performed often at Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, Asia Society, World Music Institute, and presents lecture demonstrations at colleges and universities all over the English speaking world. He has been awarded an honorary degree by the National Music Conservatory of Azerbaijan, in Baku, and was recently sponsored by the Ministry of Culture of Azerbaijan to perform a solo concert.
Admission is FREE
Jeffrey Werbock Performances
Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC (5 times)
Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston MA
American Museum of Natural History, NYC (22 times)
Smithsonian Museum’s Silk Road Festival, Washington DC
Merkin Hall, Lincoln Center, NYC (4 times)
World Music Institute, NYC (12 times)
Dartmouth University, Hanover NH (2 times)
Tufts University, Fletcher School of International Affairs, Cambridge MA (2 times)
Berklee College of Music, Boston MA
West Point Military Academy, NY
Salon de Musique, Basel Switzerland (4 times)
Academy of Music, Basel Switzerland (3 times)
Radio France’s Large Auditorium, Paris France
London Society of Azerbaijan (3 times)
George P Schultz Foreign Service Training Center, Arlington VA (8 times)
Temple University, Philadelphia, PA (10 times)
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia PA
International House at Columbia University, NYC (3 times)
International House, Philadelphia PA (2 times)
University of Wisconsin, Madison WI
University of Montana, Missoula MT (3 times)
City University of New York (2 times)
State University of Colorado
State University of New York at Potsdam
Towson University, Towson MD
Rashid Behbutov Mahne Teatre, Baku Az
Opera House, Baku Az
Kapplehaus, Baku Az
Institute of Languages, Baku Az
Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy (3 times)
Mugham Club, Baku A
The ethnic dispersion of the musical seed has forced tradition to redefine itself again and again. This sowing of cultures has brought to the world a sound filled with tradition, and at the same time reinvents the genre.
World music, however vague of a genre, is constantly fusing its classical conventions with an ever-growing palette of American cultural impressions. While The Diaspora Series showcases the most innovative music of this anthropological voyage, it is the social and community gathering that the series denotes. Bringing many communities together to share the spirit of dispersed folklore through song and dance.
For the past three years, The Diaspora Series has presented a curatorial exploration of sound and creative vision. The inclusion of visual arts and education into the program initiates an exchange of ideas throughout the performances and guide the audience to understand where the music came from, and where the music is going.