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Session 2 of the American Sephardi Music Festival runs February 24-26 2019

American Sephardi Music Festival 2019

Session 2 of the American Sephardi Music Festival runs February 24-26 2019

Dynamic and diverse performances by world-class artists will be heard at the second American Sephardi Music Festival (2nd session), presented by The American Sephardi Federation at The Center for the Jewish History (15 W 16th Street, New York City).

« The first and second editions of the festival that I have had the pleasure to direct and create were smash hits with some of the greats of Sephardi music : Gerard Edery, Francoise Atlan, Itamar Borochov, Yemen Blues, Lara Bello and more. Dividing the festival into several sessions in order to keep the experience of this unique festival all year long, I am honored to bring you more artists, from Pablo Zinger & Nicole Murad who will perform a variety of Jewish Tangos from all over the world to Cantor Shiree Kidron who will perform Sefardi songs, Jeffrey Werbock who will perform Azerbaijani Mugham music, and finally one of the most renowned Moroccan singers and musicians, Rachid Halihall, who will perform with his Andalusian Orchestra (followed by an After Party). This large variety from the ancient to the modern, showcases perfectly the diversity of culture throughout the Greater Sephardic diaspora. I am deeply honored to bring this unforgettable experience to you." said David Serero, Artistic Director and Co-Founder of the American Sephardi Music Festival.

"The American Sephardi Music Festival showcases the vibrant variety of Sephardi sounds, ranging from Andalusian ballads and Ladino love songs to the latest Yemen-Israeli blues fusion. David has done a masterful job building the ASMF into a cultural force, attracting the world's top talent and creating incredible opportunities for the NY public to experience the music of Greater Sephardi communities. The ASMF is joining the NY Sephardic Jewish Film Festival as another signature, annual event of the ASF," said Jason Guberman-P., Executive Director of the American Sephardi Federation.

The ASMF is a proud partner of the renowned Festival des Andalousies Atlantiques in Essaouira, Morocco.


February 24th 2019:


8pm: Cantor SHIREE KIDRON - Musical Pearl of Sefarad

February 25th 2019 at 8pm: JEFFREY WERBOCK - Traditional Azerbaijani Instrumental Mugham Music - In Memory of the Khojaly Tragedy.

February 26th 2019 at 8pm: Moroccan star RACHID HALIHAL and his Andalusian Orchestra (Followed by After Party).

Tickets are from $20 to $30 (VIP)

Passes are from $75 to $100 (VIP)

(VIP tickets include Gold seating and access to the After Party).

Tickets: or 1.800.838.3006



Performing together since 2016, The Murad-Zinger Duo infuses the songs of the Sephardim and the Ashkenazim with Tango, classical, Spanish and Latin American music. Their programs incorporate informative, entertaining and humorous commentary by the artists.

Nicole Murad is a dulcet toned, classically trained singer, who traces her Sephardic lineage back to 1492 Toledo, Spain. A student of the great Marni Nixon, she has performed Ladino songs of love, death and nostalgia in synagogues, concert halls, community centers and festivals.

Pablo Zinger, born in Uruguay from Polish-Ukrainian Jewish immigrants, is an internationally acclaimed pianist, conductor and composer who partnered such greats as Plácido Domingo, Paquito D Rivera and Astor Piazzolla.

Recent performances: Palisades Synagogue (NJ), Staten Island JCC, Teaneck Public Library, Westchester Ethical Culture Society, St. Peters Lutheran Church (NYC), Metropolitan Playhouse (NYC)

Tango Shalom will feature Jewish Tangos from Many Lands: tangos in Yiddish, Ladino, English, Polish, French and Hebrew, composed by Jewish composers or made famous by great Jewish stars.


Cantor Shiree Kidron will present « Musical Pearls of Sefarad ». From medieval Spain to modern Israel, this deeply moving program includes selections of classical music with a Spanish influence as well as some of the most beloved ladino songs, Piyutim, and popular Israeli songs composed with Sephardic flair.

Cantor Shiree Kidron is a unique and versatile vocalist who appears locally and internationally as a classical singer, as well as oratorio and as a Jewish classical and folk music performer. Shiree received her Master of Music from the Manhattan School of Music and her Bachelor in Music from the Rubin High Academy of Music and Dance in Jerusalem. Israeli born, Ms. Kidron was praised by the New York Times for her title role of Beauty in Spohr's Opera Beauty and the Beast. Shiree is a proud member of the Cantors Assembly. She is currently the Cantor at Or Olam, The 55th Street Synagogue in New York City leading services and musical programs. Recent engagements include an appearance on "Kol Be'isha Arev - A Voice of a Woman," an international religious music documentary sharing the story of Israeli female cantors around the world. Other recent engagements include: soloist with the Odessa Philharmonic Orchestra in Ukraine, soloist with the Ludwig Symphony in Atlanta and several appearances with the

Pacific Opera group in Carnegie Hall and leading roles in operas and festivals throughout the world. Shiree Kidron is the lead singer for the Sheba Ensemble, an innovative all female Jewish music group that tours worldwide and leads inspirational concerts.


Jeffrey Werbock will present a program of instrumental solo improvisations based on traditional Azerbaijani Mugham, played on oud - fretless wood face short neck lute; tar - fretted skin face long neck lute; and kamancha - skin face spike fiddle. This concert will be in tribute of the Khojaly tragedy with the presence of important officials.

Azerbaijani Mugham is monophonic modal music, highly microtonal, meter free, densely ornamented, composed of complex melodic lines that are somewhat improvised according to the eastern tradition of theme and variation, and convey a mix of sorrow and joy, exaltation and lament, and an overall sense of both antiquity and other worldliness.

Mr. Werbock has been giving presentations for well over three decades and has performed often at Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, Asia Society, World Music Institute, and presents lecture demonstrations at colleges and universities all over the English speaking world. He has been awarded an honorary degree by the National Music Conservatory of Azerbaijan, in Baku, and was recently sponsored by the Ministry of Culture of Azerbaijan to perform a solo concert.


As a world-class musician, Rachid Halihal brings to the community the true character and spirit of musics from the classical Egyptian repertoire which is much loved throughout the Middle East; from the Fertile Crescent; from diverse regions of Morocco and North Africa; and also the mesmerizing music of the Arabian Gulf.

As a child, growing up in Fez, Morocco, Rachid played the nei and sang, imitating the famous singers of the time. At age fourteen he entered "Dar Aadyil" the Conservatory of Music in Fez. At first he studied Western classical and Andalus music on piano and violin. He soon expanded to include a variety of other instruments in order to better express his native music. In addition to his voice, which is best featured in the Andalus style, his strongest instruments are the oud (similar to a lute without frets) and the violin, which he plays in both the classical manner and upright resting on the knee for Moroccan folkloric music.

Until 1986, Rachid played in an Andalus orchestra in Fez, and at various occasions throughout Casablanca. Then, over a span of fourteen years, he presented his music to a more varied audience. This included an extended stay in the Ivory Coast; one year in Sweden; one year in Finland, where he and his seven piece band played at the Helsinki International Music Festival sharing the bill with Cheb Khaled; and in the coastal city of Agadir, Morocco, Rachid fully managed a night club, its musicians, and folkloric troupe for seven of those years, playing his music every night for the clubs primarily touristic and Arabian clientele. On his violin, he accompanied many of Morocco's well known singers who toured to Agadir. On many occasions he played with Mohammed Abdo, one of the Arabian Gulf's most loved singers. During two years, Rachid was invited numerous times to the Arabian Gulf as a singer and oud player in his own right.

In Summer 2004 Rachid toured the USA with The Chicago Classical Oriental Ensemble playing Moroccan Andalus music with Abdelfattah Bennis, including Genesis at the Crossroads Festival in Chicago. He was presented at Columbia University in concert with visiting Israeli singer, Michel Cohen, with Moroccan singer Pinhas in New York and Miami, as well as other ethnic concerts and events throughout New York City. In 2003-4, Rachid was presented with his band at Denver's Global Groove World Music Festival, with Nawang Kechong in Aspen, in two separate Mid-East Dance concerts at the Boulder Theater, Colorado, with Souhail Kaspar in Denver, Boulder, Portland, and Los Angeles. Rachid also played at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for the inaugural King Tut exhibit in the US on June 15, 05. In Summer of '05 Rachid toured the USA and Canada with Rachid Taha (Algerian/French) Rai-rock band.

The music which Rachid Halihal presents is soulful and poetic as well as very danceable to the point that not an empty spot can be found on the dance floor wherever he plays. A few bars into a song and you feel immediately that this is an extraordinary musician. Even at an early age, Rachid Halihal received serious respect from his extended family as if he were an elder musician.

Relocating from Morocco to the United States in the new millennium, he makes his home base both in Denver and New York City. Rachid Halihal brings forth the true character of musics from diverse regions of Morocco, the Andalus, Sufi spiritual tradition; the full classical and pop Egyptian repertoire; and also the mezmerizing music of the Arabian Gulf.

Rachid was presented at MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) in Manhattan, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, as well as Columbia, Yale, and Stanford Universities, U of Northern Florida, and CU Boulder, CO; and one tour with the late Rachid Taha.

He had the honor of directing ASWAT, Arabic music orchestra of San Francisco comprised of American and Arab-American musicians. He taught them new songs to play with him at the Tutankhamun exhibit at De Young Museum, and conducted ASWAT in a concert at College of San Mateo Theater. Rachid has led his previous band, Layali el Andalus playing in Revels, at the Kennedy Center, and recently at Revels in CA.

Rachid teaches at various ethnic music & dance workshops throughout mainland US and Hawaii, teaching melody as well as those elusive North African rhythms.

About the Artistic Director/Producer DAVID SERERO:

French opera singer and actor, David Serero has performed over 1,800 concerts worldwide, recorded over 20 albums and played in more than 100 films and TV series. His repertoire ranges from Opera, Musicals, and World Music. He enjoys bringing his Sephardic origins in Classics. Over the last seasons, he starred as Shylock and Othello's title role both adapted in a Sephardi style, Cyrano (Rostand's Cyrano of Bergerac) and Don Giovanni (Mozart's opera). Among his various recorded albums, he has released "Sephardi", an album of Sephardi music and recently « Baritone Opera Arias ». Next engagements with the ASF are Verdi's Nabucco (May 2019), Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (June 2019), Mozart's Marriage of Figaro (July 2019) and U.S Premiere of the musical Anne Frank written by Jean Pierre Hadida (September 2019).


The American Sephardi Federation, a Partner of the landmark Center for Jewish History, proudly preserves and promotes the history, traditions, and rich mosaic culture of Greater Sephardic communities as an integral part of the Jewish experience. ASF hosts high-profile events and exhibitions, produces widely-read online (Sephardi World Weekly and Sephardi Ideas Monthly) and print (The Sephardi Report) publications, supports research, scholarship, the Institute of Jewish Experience, and the National Sephardic Library & Archives, as well as represents the Sephardi voice in diplomatic and Jewish communal affairs as a member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and World Jewish Congress.

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WHEN: February 24th, 25th and 26th 2019

WHERE: Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York NY 10011.

Tickets: or 1.800.838.3006

Media Contact:



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