Philip Simmons and Samir Hadzalic
So many of us have worked so hard for this event, yet it is just the beginning. The celebration will be on Saturday, November 22, 7:00 PM, at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. Free parking is available at 3701 W. Bryn Mawr in lot F, or in the nearby parking structure. If you already have your tickets we look forward to seeing you there. A limited number of seats are available for purchase at the door. Please join us.
On the printed program cover is a picture of the Old Mostar Bridge. We chose this symbol for many reasons. It is certainly one of the most recognizable features of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with great aesthetic value in its own right. As the bridge goes back to medieval times, and has been destroyed and rebuilt it has a timeless quality, drawing us to think about the future. It is a link between two sides of the city: two cultures, two separate sets of values. We have come together before as a community. This remains our goal: at the upcoming event and beyond.
Those attending the November 22 concert will hear the world premiere of a newly commissioned piece of music, â€œSevdah Medleyâ€. When we first began discussing what it would require to take Bosnian folk music and present it in a concert work for full orchestra, we realized what an important task we were undertaking. This is the first time that Sevdah music will be performed in such a manner, and at such a prestigious event. Yes, it will be entertaining. But it is also history, a permanent record of both our folk traditions and integration into the American community. It happened first in Chicago.
Whom did we call upon for this task? Ilya Levinson, a gifted composer born in Moscow who came to the United States for the same reasons as many of us and our ancestors: to escape persecution and find a better life.
American Music Festivals plans to take the â€œSevdah Medleyâ€ to Sarajevo, and later perform it all over the Balkans and throughout the world. When we will go, our visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina will not just be about cultural exchange. It will include humanitarian efforts, business initiatives, and the possibility of political reconciliation. This is our vision for after the 2008 event, which is only the beginning.