Los Angeles Times

Simon Shaheen and Chicago Sinfonietta

For more than three decades, Palestinian oud virtuoso Simon Shaheen has relentlessly championed his soft-spoken instrument across America and beyond. He has penned solo works, pieces for oud with wind quintet and string quartet, and compositions for his jazz-tinged band Qantara. And he has brought traditional Arabic music to listeners who otherwise wouldn't have encountered it, with his Near Eastern Music Ensemble. But Shaheen has made perhaps his boldest gesture along these genre-crossing lines by composing a Concerto for Oud and Orchestra in C Minor, which will receive its Chicago-area premiere Friday at the Harris Theater and Saturday at North Central College's Wentz Concert Hall in Naperville, in a performance featuring Shaheen and the Chicago Sinfonietta. 7:30 p.m. Friday at Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph Dr.; 8 p.m. Saturday at Wentz Concert Hall, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville; $26-$50 at the Harris; 312-334-7777; $40-$50 at Wentz; 630-637-7469; chicagosinfonietta.org
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