Babylon ORCHESTRA

Babylon ORCHESTRA, founded in 2016, is a Berlin-based urban fusion ensemble that combines European and Middle Eastern music with the sound of a big band and contemporary orchestra. Our aim is to promote intercultural artistic cooperation and thus to give different musical traditions and cultures a place in a new shared and unique sound world of the present. We bring people with their stories, songs, instruments, rhythms in the hope of providing creative impulses for new musical works.

By combining and juxtaposing classical and traditional instruments, such as oud and guitar, ney and flute, kamanche and violin, or other exciting combinations, we also aim to foster a deeper understanding of non-European cultures.

The orchestra also sees itself as a platform for exceptional musicians who do not want to squeeze their art into classical or popular musical forms and instead want to find an expression for the specificity of their countries of origin.

In 2021, the ensemble performed with the Rundfunksinfonieorchester Berlin, the Dortmund Philharmonic Orchestra, at the Office of the German Federal President, the Konzerthaus Berlin and the ODEON Göppingen, among others. In 2022, the ensemble performs in Greece and at several German festivals, releases an EP and makes its debut in Switzerland.

VIDEO

PRESS

“This is where the happy pigeonholing fails.”

concerti, 15th of November 2021

“A fascinating fusion concert that breaks all musical expectations as well as the fourth wall.”

Tagesspiegel Berlin, 18th of June 2019

“Babylon Orchestra is the wonder of world music.”

Berliner Kurier, 22th of November 2018

SELECTION OF PROJECTS 2023/24

Availability upon request
Echoes of the Mediterannean

“Echoes of Mediterranean” is a project by Babylon ORCHESTRA which presents love songs, ballads, personal stories and newly written vocal pieces based on texts by authors who lived in the countries around the Mediterranean or have a relationship to it. Hence, the listener encounters a performance taking him through the history of the Mediterranean cultures. Two to three singers from Greece, Syria and Turkey and 7 to 16 musicians from various countries of the Middle East and Europe are performing together as a mixed ensemble with traditional and modern instruments. By using combinations of composed and improvised elements, acoustic and electric as well as electronic instruments, the ensemble creates a lively and dramatic, almost scenic performance showcasing the richness of this cultural heritage. Sephardic, Arabic, Turkish and Greek folk songs with new arrangements (like f.e. Smirneiko Minore from 1909 from Smyrna or Morena me liaman from Sephardic Jewish tradition in Spain) make the core of this concert program.

Availability upon request
Beethoven REMIKS
with Hani Mojtahedy (Kurdistan), singer

Mischa Tangian: Pieces on themes by L. v. Beethoven, u.a.

Babylon ORCHESTRA - Beethoven REMIKS 9 (variation)

REmikS (part 1) - by Tangian / Beethoven - Babylon ORCHESTRA @Musikbrauerei

Ludwig's Remix (part 4) - Santoor Scherzo

Availability on request
COOPERATION WITH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

Programme example:
Johann Sebastian Bach: Suite No. 3 in C major, BWV 1009, Bourrée I and II
Heitor Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasileiras No. 9 for string orchestra, W 449
Ludwig van Beethoven: Leonoren Ouverture No. 3, Op. 72b
Babylon/Hani Mojtahedy: Improvisation
Antonín Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, B. 178, 2d movement “Largo” Mischa Tangian: The forgotten
Layale Chaker (Arr. L. Chaker/M. Tangian): Frah el Donniye
Hani Mojtahedy and Mischa Tangian (Arr. M. Tangian): Nour
Osama Abdulrasol: Sumerian harp
Isaac Albeniz (Arr. M. Tangian): Suite Española No. 5 “Asturias”
César Guerra-Peixe (Arr. M. Tangian): Mourão
Hermeto Pascoal (Arr. M. Tangian): O Ovo
Johann Sebastian Bach (Arr. M. Tangian): Flute Sonata in E-Flat major, BWV 1031: II, Siciliano
Charbel Rohana (Arr. M. Tangian): Sama’i Bayati

Excerpt from the concert of October 14, 2021 / Mensch – Musik – Über Brücken / Babylon Orchestra with the RSB

DOWNLOADS

Aga Khan Music Programme

Aga Khan Music Programme was established by Karim Aga Khan with the aim of supporting outstanding musicians and music teachers in preserving and communicating their musical heritage, developing it in contemporary forms and disseminating it worldwide through concerts and recordings. The programme initiates and implements country-specific action programmes to support the revitalisation and preservation of cultural heritage. Under this premise, special programme series in which outstanding renowned artists present new compositions, improvisations and arrangements of a repertoire strongly inspired by the respective tradition are developed, among other things. The programmes always represent artistic encounters between time-honoured traditions and contemporary forms, as a new generation of top-class musicians further develops and varies old musical traditions. The encounter of different cultures thus gives rise to a unique musical creativity.

The Aga Khan Music Programme strives with top-class musicians from the Near and Far East, Africa and the countries of the former Soviet Union to preserve the rich and varied heritage of classical music traditions from around the world and introduce them in Europe. From 15th to 17th February 2019, the Aga Khan Music Programme visited Germany for the first time, presenting the multi-faceted classical music of the Silk Road in four concerts at the Konzerthaus Dortmund, including a school concert. Renowned musicians, such as the Chinese pipa player Wu Ma, the Syrian composer and musician Basel Rajoub or Dutar and tanbur player Sirojiddin Juraev, combined music traditions of their countries with improvisation and borrowings from the Western jazz tradition in their performances. The multimedia concert Qyrq Qyz – Forty Girls reflected both musically and figuratively a centuries-old saga of Central Asia that could possibly change the Western view of women’s images of the East.

VIDEO

PRESS

„Es ist nachhaltig beeindruckend zu sehen, welch schwindelerregend intellektuelle Leistungen klassischen Musikern in der Türkei, in Thailand und Java abverlangt werden.”

Michael Church, Old and New Music from the Ends of the Silk Route, 2016, 2

„Ein musikalisch hoch eindrucksvoller Abend, nicht zuletzt, um sich über das Fremde im Anderen und im eigenen Wesen klarzuwerden”

Eva-Maria Reuther im Volksfreund, 12.08.2019

DOWNLOADS