Syrian Music preservation initiative

The Syrian Music Preservation Initiative (SMPI) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization committed to preserving the classical music of Syria and the historical traditions of Aleppo, the musical capital of Syria. Due to the catastrophic destruction and ongoing conflict in Aleppo, virtually all musical expression, art creation and preservation of traditions have been superseded by the basic instincts of survival. With mass evacuations and an exodus unlike any seen since WWII, the time to act is now to keep the music from becoming historical relic. Our organization was founded to help preserve and protect the musical traditions that formed the origins and foundations of what we know today as "Classical Arabic Music". Verbal histories of many cultures have been transcribed and translated, and by these efforts, have helped rescue these oral accounts for posterity. The vast majority of Syrian musical histories have not been transcribed, are mostly in Arabic, and have mostly gone unrecorded. The "greatest hits" of classical Arabic music do not fully represent the complete music and cultural heritage that needs to be rescued. Due to the horrific bombing and destruction of Aleppo, and its many music schools, all of its musical scholars have scattered across the globe. As a result, most of these records are in jeopardy, and limited in their availability to students, researchers, historians and conservationists.

The importance of studying, documenting and preserving this crucial importance of musical cultural development is therefore a foregone conclusion. Having acknowledged that, there has been a stark dearth of effort accomplishing such. The mission of SMPI is to alleviate such hereto deficiency. We seek to systematize the collection of existing documentation, as well as unearth hereto neglected resources. In achieving this, we hope to make accessible such gathered knowledge in a coherent, reference worthy manner, enabling educational outreach and academic discourse which would facilitate ending the current existing stagnation.

Through archiving and performance, the project aims to celebrate classical Syrian music while simultaneously serving as a source of pride for all Arab-Americans. Pride is an essential element that draws a new generation inwards. With this work, we not only preserve Syrian culture but we also place the Syrian American experience in context with the greater American narrative, a narrative of striving immigrants building new lives and contributing to a new country while cherishing and preserving their cultural identity.

We are fortunate to pursue our goals in the heart of New York, the world's melting pot. The input of the local artistic scene will only enrich this vital project. We seek collaboration with other artists and musicians, allowing us to attain new paths efficiently. 

SMPI seeks your collaboration and support. Kindly send inquiries to:

If you donate, your contribution will be tax-exempt.

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Background Photo: Awj Ensemble @ Danish Institute (Beit Al-Aqqad) - Old City of Damascus, Syria, 2010

Copyright © 2019 Syrian Music Preservation Initiative Corp. a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization