We will be performing a special multi-media concert piece that I have composed which draws inspiration from an imagined restoration of the recently decimated minaret of the 11th Century Syrian Umayyad Mosque. The destruction of mosques and minaret towers from which the traditional call to prayer is broadcasted has muted the spirit of the Syrian people. Neil's composition will be a “call to action” to the audience to comprehend the enormity of this humanitarian crisis. He is a video created by Troy Marshall that reflects this inspiration.
Rafea, winner of the 2010 “Best Composer Award” at the Dubai International Film Festival (Muhr Arab) for the film “September Rain,” is Chair of the Arabic Music Department at High Institute of Music in Damascus and the principal conductor of Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music. An active composer and arranger for television and theater, Rafea has made several solo appearances with the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra and has performed throughout the world. In March of 2013, he was invited to the United States to direct the Middle Eastern Music Ensemble and give a series of presentations and performances at the Northern Illinois University School of Music. Rafea currently resides in Illinois and continues to perform, compose, and teach.