Cinema Jenin – A Symphony

Musical tribute to Cinema Jenin

The cinema in the West Bank city of Jenin reopened in August 2010 for the first time since suffering heavy damage during the first intifada in 1987. With two other movie houses in Ramallah and Nablus, the cinema in Jenin is now the third public cinema in the entire West Bank. The director Marcus Vetter hit upon the idea of resurrecting the cinema while filming his now award-winning documentary “Heart of Jenin”. Together with Ismael Khatib, he initiated the reconstruction work and captured each stage of the process on film until it was completed. He then used the film material to make the documentary “Cinema Jenin” which began showing at German cinemas on 28 June 2012.
In October 2011, the Dresdner Sinfoniker, conducted by Andrea Molino, performed the world premiere of “Cinema Jenin – A Symphony”, which was written by the Iranian composer Kayhan Kalhor in honour of the Jenin cinema and the courage and tenacity of those who rescued it. In his work, Kalhor integrates elements of traditional Persian music, Kurdish folk music and folklore from various regions. Kalhor’s harmonically rich improvisations interweave beautifully with the classical European orchestra sound and form a fascinating acoustic symbiosis of Eastern and Western musical traditions. The composer, who happens to be one of the most famous kamancheh players in the world, displayed his mastery of various Middle Eastern instruments together with four other musicians in a concert in Hellerau. The music was accompanied by scenes taken from the documentary “Cinema Jenin” by Marcus Vetter. The event also officially kicked off the Dresden TonLagen Festival.

Artistic director: Andrea Molino (CH)
Artists: Dresdner Sinfoniker, Kayhan Kalhor (Kamancheh), Kamil Shajrawi (Oud), Ali Bahrami (Santur), Sa‘ad Mohamed Hassan (Arabic Violin), Shane Shanahan (Percussion)
Venue and schedule: Dresden, Hellerau - European Centre for the Arts, 1 Oct. 2011

Symphony for Palestine

It was a long-cherished plan: the Dresdner Sinfoniker travelled to Israel and the West Bank at the end of May 2013 to perform "Symphony for Palestine" by the Iranian composer Kayhan Kalhor together with Palestinian and Azerbaijani soloists. The work is dedicated to Juliano Mer-Khamis, the murdered director of Jenin’s Freedom Theatre, as well as to the eleven-year old boy Ahmed Khatib, shot dead in 2005 by an Israeli soldier, who mistook his water pistol for an armed weapon. His story went around the world, because his parents donated Ahmed’s organs to five Israeli children.

Inspired by these tragic events, the Iranian composer Kayhan Kalhor combined traditional Persian melodies and elements of Arabic folk music with the sound of a European string orchestra and traditional Oriental instruments. For many years now, the Dresdner Sinfoniker have been strongly involved with contemporary Oriental culture and this ambitious project saw them take on the role of cultural mediators.

Artistic director: Andrea Molino
Dresdner Sinfoniker with Mehri Asadullayeva (Kamancheh), Kamil Shajrawi (Arabic violin), Nermin Hasanova (Qanun), Emil Bishara (Oud), Maen Ghoul (Percussion)

"Symphony for Palestine" was funded by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes, the city of Dresden (department of culture and heritage), the Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen as well as the Kulturstiftung Dresden der Dresdner Bank and is a co-production of the Dresdner Sinfoniker and Ben Deiß.

Tour Dates:
30th May- Ramallah, Cultural Palace
1st June-Jerusalem, Al Hakawati Palestinian National Theatre
2nd June 2013- Jenin, Cinema Jenin


Dresdner Sinfoniker

Bärensteiner Straße 30

01277 Dresden (external link, opens in a new window)