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Sun. 17 Mar. 2019

2: 30 PM //

East of the River

Sultana: Music of the Sephardic Diaspora

In association with Town Hall Seattle
With Support from the Seattle Sephardic Network
Founded by woodwind virtuosos Nina Stern and Daphna Mor, East of the River braids together the rich musical traditions of the Sephardic diaspora, inflecting the music with infectious Eastern rhythms, and steeping their performance in the art of improvisation.

Langston Hughes Performing Arts seating chart

2:30 PM Matinee Sold Out.

Kosher Lunch // 12:30 PM
Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center
Join Early Music Seattle Board Members and the Seattle Sephardic Network for lunch before the 2:30 PM performance. Call 206.325.7066 for reservations. Cost $20

In association with Town Hall Seattle
March 17 | 7:30 PM
Temple Beth Am


"It was most enjoyable hearing music so different but so well revealed by players who could hardly have been exceeded by anyone exploring these historic eastern cultures in this manner" -Nuvo, Indianapolis

More Information

Program Length

2 hours with one intermission


Ein K’eloheinu Sephardic Liturgical Song
Mosé salió de Misrayim/Rotta Sephardic Song/ Stern Mor
Volviendo de Casablanca Sephardic Song, Tangier
Bayn L’barah Wilyoum Traditional Moroccan/Andalusian
Coplas de Purim Sephardic Liturgical Song, Tangier
Constantinople and The Ottoman Empire
Hicaz- Saz Samai Yusuf Pasa (19th century)
Hicaz Sirto Rasid Efendi (19th century)
Porke Llorach Sepharadic Song
El Rey the Francia Sepharadic Song
Tzur Mishelo/los Bilbilicos Sepharadic Liturgical Song
Ygdal Sepharadic Liturgical Song (Constantinople)
Longa Nehavand Traditional Turkish
The Balkans
Sandansko Horo Traditional Bulgarian
Makedonsko Sedenka (Kopanica) Traditional Macedonia
Percussion Solo Shane Shanahan
Siete Hijos Tiene Hanna Traditional Sephardic
Bucimis Traditional Bulgarian
Yo M’enamori D’un Aire Traditional Sephardic
Shir ha Shirim Songs of Songs, Cantorial, Salonica
A la Una yo Naci Sepharadic Song, Sarajevo

About East of the River

East of the River was founded by internationally renowned recorder players Nina Stern and Daphna Mor. The project explores gems of the European classical repertory together with haunting melodies and virtuosic dances of traditions to the East, arranged and interpreted by musicians whose backgrounds include classical, jazz, and world music. Together they create the unique blend that is East of the River. Stern and Mor have appeared as a duo with groups as varied as The New York Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and world music ensemble Pharoah’s Daughter and in venues including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and the Music Before 1800 concert series. East of the River has performed at venues including Bargemusic, Joe’s Pub, and Le Poisson Rouge, on concert series such as Early Music Now (Milwaukee), San Francisco Early Music Festival Concert Series, The Academy of Early Music (Ann Arbor), and The Five Boroughs Music Festival as well as on many university campuses. Festival appearances include Connecticut Early Music, Madison Early Music, and Indianapolis Early Music. East of the River was invited to create a special solstice concert for the prestigious PEAK Performances at Montclair State University and was invited for three consecutive years to perform for WQXR/WNYC’s “Live at the Greene Space.” The ensemble has released two albums: “East of the River” and “Levantera.” Both highly regarded for their educational initiatives, Stern and Mor have made outreach to the community and musical education a centerpiece of the East of the River mission. When traveling to perform, the group is eager to reach out to the local community by engaging in workshops and performing in schools, community centers, and cultural organizations. www.eastoftherivermusic.com.


Nina Stern, recorders and chalumeau
Daphna Mor, recorders, voice, ney
Shane Shanahan, percussion
Jesse Kotansky, violin
Kane Mathis, oud and harp


Nina Stern (recorders and chalumeau) has carved a unique and astonishingly diverse career for herself as a world-class classical clarinetist and recorder player. She has performed widely as a soloist and as a principal player with the finest orchestras and ensembles including The New York Philharmonic, American Classical Orchestra, Opera Lafayette, Trinity Baroque Orchestra, Clarion Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque, Hesperion XX, and Tafelmusik. She has recorded for Erato, Harmonia Mundi, Sony Classics, Newport Classics, Wildboar, Telarc, Smithsonian, and MSR Classics. Nina Stern’s recent projects include performances and recordings of traditional music of Eastern Europe, Armenia, and The Middle East with her ensembles East of the River (Daphna Mor, co-director) and Rose of the Compass. In recent years, Rose of the Compass has collaborated annually with the conductor Kent Tritle and the Choir of St. John the Divine in creating programs for the “Great Music in a Great Space” concert series at the Cathedral. That collaboration resulted in the release of the album “The Four Quarters of Jerusalem” on the Pro Organo label in 2015. Her latest album, The Crane, was released in January on the Good Child Music label.

Stern was appointed to the faculty of Juiliard’s Historical Performance department in 2012 and has served on the faculties of the Mannes College of Music, the Civica Scuola di Musica (Milan) and Oberlin Conservatory. She is the founder and Artistic Director of S’Cool Sounds, an award- winning music education project and has traveled throughout the U.S., in Europe, east Africa and Jordan to introduce her innovative music program to school children and their teachers. (www.ninastern.com)

Daphna Mor (recorders, voice) has performed throughout Europe and the United States as a soloist and ensemble player. Mor’s “astonishing virtuosity” (Chicago Tribune) has been heard in solo recitals in the United States, Croatia, Germany, and Switzerland. She has performed as a soloist with the New York Collegium, The New York Early Music Ensemble, and Little Orchestra Society, as a member of the orchestra with the New York Philharmonic, New York City Opera, Orchestra of St. Luke’s and Apollo’s Fire, and as a chamber player with Tenet, Piffaro, Peabody Consort, and Hesperus. Mor appeared in a duo with Joyce DiDonato on the singer’s promotional tour of the album “In War and Peace”. Devoted to new music, Mor has recorded on John Zorn’s Tzadik label and has performed the world premiere of David Bruce’s “Tears, Puffes, Jumps, and Galliard” with the Metropolis Ensemble. She co-composed “WAVES” for recorders, voice, cello and a beat boxer for Carolyn Dorfman Dance which was performed at New York’s “Summer Stage” in 2017. Also active in the world music community, Mor has performed in festivals and on stages worldwide. She can be heard on Sting’s album “If On A Winter’s Night”, recorded for Deutsche Gramophone.

Mor serves as the Music Director of Beineinu, a New York initiative, dedicated to the modern cultivation of Jewish culture, and is a performer and teacher of liturgical music of the Jewish diaspora. Daphna is co-director, together with Nina Stern of the ensemble East of the River. She leads programs for the Education Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (www.daphnamor.com)

Jesse Kotansky (violin). Born to dancers Stephen and Susan Kotansky, Jesse was exposed to and surrounded by Balkan and Middle Eastern music from the time he was a very young child. Jesse has bridged many worlds of music as a professional recording artist and performer, together with Aerosmith, David Bowie, Teddy Thompson, Merita Halili, Raif Hyseni, J Mascis, and Ivan Milev. Jesse is the co-founder of Brooklyn-based Indi rock band Walking Shapes. He currently appears in the multiple Tony award-winning Broadway show “The Band’s Visit.”

Kane Mathis (oud). Performing on Turkish oud and the 21-string Mandinka Harp, Kane Mathis renders compelling interpretations of both of these traditions of music. Years of study with generous masters have given Kane a rare opportunity to share these traditions with other cultures. Kane’s oud study began in Mutlu Torun of the I.T.U. conservatory in Istanbul and continued with five and a half years of courses with oud virtuoso Münir Nurttin Beken. As a kora player, Kane began taking trips to The Gambia, West Africa in 1997 and has continued rigorous study of the Mandinka kora ever since. Over the past ten years his performances have earned him recognition by the Gambian president and minister of culture as well as both the national television and radio of The Gambia. Kane’s kora teachers are Malamini Jorateh and Moriba Kouyate. The Jobarteh family performs worldwide and remains one of The Gambia’s most important musical legacies.

Since completing his studies, Kane has been sought after internationally as a soloist and accompanist on both instruments. As a composer, Kane is generating new works for both instruments as well as experimental work for electronic fixed media and for film. He is currently based in Brooklyn, NY. (www.kanemathis.com)

Mathias Kunzli (Hand Percussion)
Hailing from Switzerland, multi-disciplined drummer/percussionist Mathias Kunzli has become ubiquitous in the New York City music scene and has recently made Los Angeles his second home. As a teenager, he became a drummer for the Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra, received two scholarships from Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music and moved to the United States in 1995.

Kunzli’s desire and ability to adapt to a wide range of musical styles have enabled him to tour extensively on six continents, appearing in some of the world’s most prestigious concert halls, arenas, and festivals including Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Sydney Opera House, Royal Festial Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Outside Lands Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival, and Monterey Jazz Festival. National TV appearances include Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Colbert Report, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Good Morning American, Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Late Night with Seth Meyers and Late Late Show with James Corden. Mathias can be heard on well over a hundred albums, and recently released his first solo album “Playground”, a live recording of an entirely improvised solo show in NYC. As a drummer and percussionist, Mathias has collaborated with artists as varied as Moby, Lauryn Hill, Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project, Vieux Farka Toure, John Zorn’s Electric Masada, Steff La Cheffe, Hal Crook, Jamey Haddad, The Paul Winter Consort, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Matt Dariau, Frank London, Mary Wilson, and Brooklyn Rider. Current projects include collaborations with Regina Spektor, Ljova and the Kontraband, Pharoah’s Daughter and Sarah Alden.

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