Middle East Music Ensemble celebrates 25th anniversary season

Middle East Music Ensemble graphic


The University of Chicago's Middle East Music Ensemble, directed by Wanees Zarour, closes the 25th anniversary season with two special events and an exhibit by calligrapher Nihad Dukhan. Join us as we celebrate the work of all those involved in making and sharing this incredible music with the community. 

The Arab Concert

Middle East Music Ensemble

May 20, 2023 | 7:00PM
Logan Center Performance Hall
915 E 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

The Middle East Music Ensemble celebrates the end of its 25th anniversary season with the annual Arab concert. The program highlights the Arabic vocalist aesthetic, with an emphasis on compositions rich in the exploration of maqam.

Free admission.
Donations requested at the door: $10 general, $5 students/children

Sculpting in Two Dimensions: Arabic Calligraphy by Nihad Dukhan

Saying of Prophet Mohammed: Virtue of Staying Silent, Calligraphy Style : Jaly Taliq, Ink, Gold and Color on Sized Ahar Paper, Border by Zahara Masoumi, 2015.

On View May 1 - 31
Logan Center for the Arts
South Entrance cases
915 E 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

Nihad Dukhan was born in central Gaza, Palestine, and arrived in Toledo, Ohio in August 1983. He received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Toledo in 1996. He worked in Chicago and at the University of Puerto Rico. He is currently a professor of mechanical engineering at University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, Michigan. 

His interest in Arabic calligraphy began when he was in the sixth grade. To polish his training in the classical styles of Arabic/Islamic calligraphy, he started studying with the noted Istanbul grand master calligrapher Hasan Çelebi (pronounced Chalabi) in Thuluth and Naskh styles in 1998, and received his Ijazah (master of calligraphy degree) after 11 years of study. He also studied with master calligrapher Mohamed Zakariya in Taliq style, and received his other Ijazah in 2013, after seven years of study.

His modern designs do not conform to the strict rules of classical Arabic calligraphy. They are highly stylized, but remain legible with tremendous simplicity. Dukhan started pursuing and refining his personal modern form around 1989. His work has been exhibited in major US cities, and sold in the US, Europe, the Middle East and Japan. His commissioned designs include company logos, book covers, CD jackets, wedding invitations, and others.

Professor Dukhan is active in promoting Arabic and Islamic calligraphy and increasing people’s awareness of its cultural significance through exhibits, lectures and workshops. His intent is not only to attract the Arabic speaking audience, but to penetrate barriers and touch other languages and cultures. 

This exhibit is co-sponsored by The Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, the Middle East Music Ensemble, the Department of Music, the Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures, and the Old Town School of Folk Music 

Artwork: Saying of Prophet Mohammed: Virtue of Staying Silent, Calligraphy Style : Jaly Taliq, Ink, Gold and Color on Sized Ahar Paper, Border by Zahara Masoumi, 2015.

Emblem Of A Civilization: Prologue To The Art Of Arabic/Islamic Calligraphy

Nihad Dukhan headshot

May 21, 2023 | 2PM
Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures
1155 E 58th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

Join ISAC for a special Sunday lecture as Master Calligrapher, Nihad Dukhan explores the history, development, techniques and styles of the art of Arabic calligraphy. Dukhan will also touch on the philosophical aspect of the art form, and its intimate relationship to Qur’anic writing before embarking on an aesthetic appreciation of its intricate geometry, rhythm, and visual impact.

Dukhan will present on the techniques for Arabic calligraphy writing, including the tools to cut and trim the reed pen, the ink, the inkwell with natural-silk leeqa and the carefully-prepared classical Arabic calligraphy (muqahhar) paper. The extraordinary master-pupil relationship in teaching/learning the art, as well as the calligraphic Ijazah, are both highlighted.

The presentation includes numerous examples of different styles of calligraphy from diverse periods and geographical regions.

This lecture is co-sponsored by the Department of Music, ISAC, The Middle East Music Ensemble, the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, and the Old Town School of Folk Music.