Takht Al-Nagham

Takht Al-Nagham is a New York-based ensemble founded by Syrian violinist Samer Ali, that is committed to the preservation of the classical music of Aleppo. The ensemble treasures the sound of an Arabic Takht (Arabic chamber group) and performs the classical Syrian repertoire with traditional and acoustic instruments. The word “Nagham” means melody in Arabic, but is also used as a synonym to the Arabic Maqam system, which is the foundation of all classical Arabic Music. Takht Al-Nagham includes the following musicians: 

Violin I: Samer Ali

Violin II: Muhammad Abdullah

Oud: Muhammad Qadri Dalal

Qanun: Firas Zreik

Riq: Johnny Farraj

Tabla: Rami el-Asser

Frame drum: Nezih Antakli

Double bass: John Murchison

Chorus: Fouad Salloum, Emad Botros, Salah Zane


Awj Ensemble

Awj Ensemble was founded by Samer Ali & Wassim Mukdad in Damascus, Syria 2007. Awj was an eight piece ensemble that focused on the traditional Syrian and Egyptian instrumental music. The word "Awj" means peak/summit/prosperity in Arabic, and is also used as a name of the "B half flat" note (the seventh note in the Rast Maqam) in the Arabic Maqam system. The group was Damascus-based and performed regularly at the Danish Institute (Beit Al-Aqqad) in the old city, but also performed all over the Syrian geography: Aleppo, Latakia, and Tartus, etc. Due to the unfortunate civil war in our beloved Syria, Awj musical activities had to stop.  Awj had the following musicians:

Samer Ali (Violin),

Wassim Mukdad (Oud),

Rami Al-Jundi (Riq),

Omar Husni (Viola),

Somar Ashkar (Cello),

Ali Ahmad (Tabla/Framedrum),

Majd Bilal (Qanun), and

Ahmad Daowd (Double Bass).


This project presents a group of Syrian poets and musicians collaborating with visual artists to present poetry as a multi-sensory experience; readings and art with musical accompaniment. The multifaceted nature of this experience invites all three creative forms to transcend imposed creative boundaries and offer new experiential nuances.

Ta'sheeq was launched in Boston in May 2016. In the debut event, poets Hussam Jefee and Alma Nizam, accompanied by violinist Samer Ali, and works by visual artist Tammam Azzam, were all merged to create a new sensory experience in which poetry can be presented and received.