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August 23rd, 2000
Arab and Jewish Duo Present True Musical Harmony

To celebrate the cultural heritage of the Middle East and "spread the message of peace and harmony through music," cellist Ohad "Udi" Bar-David will join violinist and oud-virtuoso Simon Shaheen, and members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, in a spectacular and thought-provoking performance of Jewish and Arab melodies on Wednesday night, September 27, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the Philadelphia Museum of Art's Van Pelt Auditorium. Developed by Mr. Bar-David, with featured works composed by Mr. Shaheen, this Arab Jewish Musical Dialogue has fascinated and inspired audiences throughout the world. The concert is free after Museum admission, and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. For additional information, call (215) 684-7860.

"There are many points of overlap in Jewish and Arab musical traditions. Israeli folk music, for example, often blends Eastern European motifs with Arab melodies," says Mr. Bar-David, who began to study cello at age seven in Tel Aviv, and later attended the Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music. He is an acclaimed soloist in Israel, was a member of the Concerto Soloists in Philadelphia, and joined the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1987.

A virtuoso on both the oud (a Middle Eastern instrument that resembles a lute) and the violin, Mr. Shaheen was born to a musical family of Palestinian origin in the Galilee region. He has played the oud since he was five, studied at the Rubin Conservatory (Haifa), the Academy of Music (Jerusalem), the Manhattan School of Music, and Columbia University. He composes and performs traditional and contemporary Arab music, has released a series of major recordings, and creates scores for theater and films.

Arab Jewish Musical Dialogue is the centerpiece of a special Wednesday Night at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Presenting an irresistible mix of sights, sounds, tastes, and movement from around the world, every Wednesday Night features a film, performances, tours, and even a Chef's Special menu inspired by the evening's theme. Wednesday Nights at the Philadelphia Museum of Art begin at 5:00 and continue to 8:45 p.m. Gallery Talks are given at 6:00 and 7:00 p.m.-on September 27, the topic is "Communication: A Contrast in Styles." Admission to the Museum is $8 for adults and $5 for children age 5 to 17, students with valid I.D., and senior citizens age 62 and over. Unless otherwise noted, all activities are free after Museum admission. Call (215) 684-7860 for information, and (215) 684-7506 for a free brochure.

The Arab Jewish Musical Dialogue is sponsored, in part, by Carole Haas Gravagno.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the largest museums in the United States, with a collection of more than 227,000 works of art and more than 200 galleries presenting painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, decorative arts, textiles, and architectural settings from Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States. Its facilities include its landmark Main Building on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Perelman Building, located nearby on Pennsylvania Avenue, the Rodin Museum on the 2200 block of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and two 18th-century houses in Fairmount Park, Mount Pleasant and Cedar Grove. The Museum offers a wide variety of activities for public audiences, including special exhibitions, programs for children and families, lectures, concerts and films.

For additional information, contact the Marketing and Communications Department of the Philadelphia Museum of Art at (215) 684-7860. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For general information, call (215) 763-8100, or visit the Museum's website at www.philamuseum.org.

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