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Session 2 of the American Sephardi Music Festival runs February 24-26 2019

American Sephardi Music Festival 2.2 2019

Session 2 of the American Sephardi Music Festival runs February 24-26, 2019

Dynamic and diverse performances by world-class artists will be heard at the second American Sephardi Music Festival (2nd session), presented by The American Sephardi Federation at The Center for Jewish History (15 W 16th Street, New York City).

« The first and second editions of the festival that I have had the pleasure to direct and create were smashed hits with some of the greats of Sephardi music: Gerard Edery, Francoise Atlan, Itamar Borochov, Yemen Blues, Lara Bello, and more. Dividing the festival into several sessions to keep the experience of this unique festival all year long, I am honored to bring you more artists, from Pablo Zinger & Nicole Murad, who will perform a variety of Jewish Tangos from all over the world to Cantor Shiree Kidron who will perform Sefardi songs, Jeffrey Werbock who will perform Azerbaijani Mugham music, and finally one of the most renowned Moroccan singers and musicians, Rachid Halihall, who will perform with his Andalusian Orchestra (followed by an After Party). This large variety, from the ancient to the modern, perfectly showcases the diversity of culture throughout the Greater Sephardic diaspora. I am deeply honored to bring this unforgettable experience to you." said David Serero, Artistic Director and Co-Founder of the American Sephardi Music Festival.

"The American Sephardi Music Festival showcases the vibrant variety of Sephardi sounds, ranging from Andalusian ballads and Ladino love songs to the latest Yemen-Israeli blues fusion. David has done a masterful job building the ASMF into a cultural force, attracting the world's top talent, and creating incredible opportunities for the N.Y. public to experience the music of Greater Sephardi communities. The ASMF is joining the N.Y. Sephardic Jewish Film Festival as another signature, annual event of the ASF," said Jason Guberman-P., Executive Director of the American Sephardi Federation.

The ASMF is a proud partner of the renowned Festival des Andalousies Atlantiques in Essaouira, Morocco.


February 24, 2019:


8 pm: Cantor SHIREE KIDRON - Musical Pearl of Sefarad

February 25, 2019, at 8 pm: JEFFREY WERBOCK - Traditional Azerbaijani Instrumental Mugham Music - In Memory of the Khojaly Tragedy.

February 26, 2019, at 8 pm: Moroccan star RACHID HALIHAL and his Andalusian Orchestra (Followed by After Party).

Tickets are from $20 to $30 (VIP)

Passes are from $75 to $100 (VIP)

(VIP tickets include Gold seating and access to the After Party).

Tickets: or 1.800.838.3006



Performing together since 2016, The Murad-Zinger Duo infuses the Sephardim and the Ashkenazim songs with Tango, classical, Spanish, and Latin American music. Their programs incorporate informative, entertaining, and humorous commentary by the artists.

Nicole Murad is a dulcet-toned, classically trained singer who traces her Sephardic lineage back to 1492 in Toledo, Spain. A student of the great Marni Nixon, she has performed Ladino songs of love, death, and nostalgia in synagogues, concert halls, community centers, and festivals.

Pablo Zinger, born in Uruguay to Polish-Ukrainian Jewish immigrants, is an internationally acclaimed pianist, conductor, and composer who partnered with such greats as Plácido Domingo, Paquito D Rivera, and Astor Piazzolla.

Recent performances: Palisades Synagogue (N.J.), Staten Island JCC, Teaneck Public Library, Westchester Ethical Culture Society, St. Peters Lutheran Church (NYC), Metropolitan Playhouse (NYC)

Tango Shalom will feature Jewish Tangos from Many Lands: tangos in Yiddish, Ladino, English, Polish, French, and Hebrew, composed by Jewish composers or made famous by great Jewish stars.


Cantor Shiree Kidron will present « Musical Pearls of Sefarad.» From medieval Spain to modern Israel, this profoundly moving program includes selections of classical music with a Spanish influence and some of the most beloved Ladino songs, Piyutim, and popular Israeli songs composed with Sephardic flair.

Cantor Shiree Kidron is a unique and versatile vocalist who appears locally and internationally as a classical singer, oratorio, and Jewish classical and folk music performer. Shiree received her Master of Music from the Manhattan School of Music and her Bachelor in Music from the Rubin High Academy of Music and Dance in Jerusalem. Israeli-born Ms. Kidron was praised by the New York Times for her title role of Beauty in Spohr's Opera Beauty and the Beast. Shiree is a proud member of the Cantors Assembly. She is currently the Cantor at Or Olam, The 55th Street Synagogue in New York City, leading services and musical programs. Recent engagements include an appearance on "Kol Be'isha Arev - A Voice of a Woman," an international religious music documentary sharing the story of Israeli female cantors worldwide. Other recent engagements include: soloist with the Odesa Philharmonic Orchestra in Ukraine, soloist with the Ludwig Symphony in Atlanta, and several appearances with the

Pacific Opera group in Carnegie Hall and leading roles in operas and festivals worldwide. Shiree Kidron is the lead singer for the Sheba Ensemble, an innovative all-female Jewish music group that tours worldwide and shows inspirational concerts.


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. This concert will be in tribute to the Khojaly tragedy with the presence of important officials.

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, exaltation and lament, and an overall sense of both antiquity and otherworldliness.

Mr. Werbock has been giving presentations for well over three decades. He has performed often at Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, the Asia Society, and the World Music Institute. He 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. He was recently sponsored by the Ministry of Culture of Azerbaijan to perform a solo concert.


As a world-class musician, Rachid Halihal brings to the community the true character and spirit of music from the classical Egyptian repertoire, which is much loved throughout the Middle East from the Fertile Crescent, from diverse regions of Morocco and North Africa, and also the mesmerizing music of the Arabian Gulf.

As a child growing up in Fez, Morocco, Rachid played the nei and sang, imitating the famous singers of the time. At age fourteen, he entered "Dar Aadyil," the Conservatory of Music in Fez. At first, he studied Western classical and Andalus music on piano and violin. He soon expanded to include a variety of other instruments to express his native music better. In addition to his voice, which is best featured in the Andalus style, his most robust instruments are the oud (similar to a lute without frets) and the violin, which he plays in both the classical manner and upright, resting on the knee for Moroccan folkloric music.

Until 1986, Rachid played in an Andalus orchestra in Fez and various occasions throughout Casablanca. Then, over fourteen years, he presented his music to a more varied audience. This included an extended stay in the Ivory Coast, one year in Sweden, one year in Finland, where he and his seven-piece band played at the Helsinki International Music Festival, sharing the bill with Cheb Khaled, and in the coastal city of Agadir, Morocco, Rachid fully managed a night club, its musicians, and folkloric troupe for seven of those years, playing his music every night for the clubs primarily touristic and Arabian clientele. On his violin, he accompanied many of Morocco's well-known singers who toured Agadir. On many occasions, he played with Mohammed Abdo, one of the Arabian Gulf's most loved singers. During two years, Rachid was invited numerous times to the Arabian Gulf as a singer and oud player in his own right.

In the Summer of 2004, Rachid toured the USA with The Chicago Classical Oriental Ensemble, playing Moroccan Andalus music with Abdelfattah Bennis, including Genesis at the Crossroads Festival in Chicago. He was presented at Columbia University in concert with visiting Israeli singer Michel Cohen and Moroccan singer Pinhas in New York and Miami and other ethnic concerts and events throughout New York City. In 2003-4, Rachid was presented with his band at Denver's Global Groove World Music Festival, with Nawang Kechong in Aspen, in two separate Mid-East Dance concerts at the Boulder Theater, Colorado, with Souhail Kaspar in Denver, Boulder, Portland, and Los Angeles. Rachid also played at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for the inaugural King Tut exhibit in the U.S. on June 15, 05. In the Summer of 2005, Rachid toured the USA and Canada with Rachid Taha (Algerian/French), the Rai-rock band.

The music that Rachid Halihal presents is soulful, poetic, and very danceable to the point that not an empty spot can be found on the dance floor wherever he plays. A few bars into a song, you immediately feel that this is an extraordinary musician. Even at an early age, Rachid Halihal received profound respect from his extended family as if he were an older musician.

Relocating from Morocco to the United States in the new millennium, he made his home base in Denver and New York City. Rachid Halihal brings forth the true character of music from diverse regions of Morocco, the Andalus, Sufi spiritual tradition, the whole classical and pop Egyptian repertoire, and the mesmerizing music of the Arabian Gulf.

Rachid was presented at MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) in Manhattan and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, as well as Columbia, Yale, and Stanford Universities, U of Northern Florida, and C.U. Boulder, CO; and one tour with the late Rachid Taha.

He had the honor of directing ASWAT, the Arabic music orchestra of San Francisco comprised of American and Arab-American musicians. He taught them new songs to play with him at the Tutankhamun exhibit at the De Young Museum and conducted ASWAT in a concert at the College of San Mateo Theater. Rachid has led his previous band, Layali el Andalus, playing in Revels at the Kennedy Center and recently at Revels in C.A.

Rachid teaches at various ethnic music & dance workshops throughout the mainland U.S. and Hawaii, teaching melody and elusive North African rhythms.

About the Artistic Director/Producer DAVID SERERO:

French opera singer and actor David Serero has performed over 1,800 concerts worldwide, recorded over 20 albums, and played in more than 100 films and T.V. series. His repertoire ranges from Opera, Musicals, and World Music. He enjoys bringing his Sephardic origins to Classics. Over the last seasons, he starred in Shylock and Othello's title roles, both adapted in a Sephardi style, Cyrano (Rostand's Cyrano of Bergerac) and Don Giovanni (Mozart's opera). Among his various recorded albums, he has released "Sephardi," an album of Sephardi music, and recently « Baritone Opera Arias.» Next engagements with the ASF are Verdi's Nabucco (May 2019), Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (June 2019), Mozart's Marriage of Figaro (July 2019), and the U.S. premiere of Anne Frank, a Musical written by Jean Pierre Hadida (September 2019).


The American Sephardi Federation, a Partner of the landmark Center for Jewish History, proudly preserves and promotes Greater Sephardic communities' history, traditions, and rich mosaic culture as an integral part of the Jewish experience. ASF hosts high-profile events and exhibitions, produces widely-read online (Sephardi World Weekly and Sephardi Ideas Monthly) and print (The Sephardi Report) publications, supports research, scholarship, the Institute of Jewish Experience, and the National Sephardic Library & Archives, as well as represents the Sephardi voice in diplomatic and Jewish communal affairs as a member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and World Jewish Congress.

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WHEN: February 24th, 25th, and 26th 2019

WHERE: Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York NY 10011.

Tickets: or 1.800.838.3006

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