SONIC RELIEF – Fundraising Concert to Aid Syrian Refugees: Wed Dec 16th 2015



Curated and organized by musicians Gabriela Martina (CH), Sophie Maricq (ESP/UK/BE) and Jussi Reijonen (FIN) in collaboration with Berklee College of Music’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion, SONIC RELIEF is a humanitarian fundraising concert to gather donations and raise awareness to aid refugees of the war in Syria. Now in its fifth year, the war has cost the lives of more than 250,000 people, and displaced over 11 million people, creating a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented scale.

This concert brings together musicians from around the world who will perform classical repertoire of their respective traditions to promote social awareness of the Syrian humanitarian crisis. Performing onstage will be world-renowned Arabic oud (11-string fretless lute) and violin virtuoso Simon Shaheen, as well as the Lee Swensen Katz Trio with Cleveland Quartet founding member and Grammy-award winning cellist Paul Katz. All artists are forgoing their performance fees to support the cause.

All proceeds will be donated towards humanitarian aid in refugee camps and conflict-affected areas in Syria and Jordan via Questscope, an international 501(c)(3) organization based in Jordan. All gifts to Questscope qualify as charitable contributions and are 100% tax-deductible.

Questscope Trailer from Questscope on Vimeo.


Also appearing as guest speaker and sharing his experience as a Syrian displaced by the conflict will be Mr. Razek Siriani from Aleppo, as well as Ms. Nadia Rhodes Schroeder from Questscope giving a presentation on the organization’s work in the conflict-affected areas.

“Syrians are people just like us: educated, linked into their communities, schools, businesses – solidly upright middle class people – but now suffering from war and conflict in their country that threatens to completely destroy them,” says Questscope’s Curtis Rhodes. “They are a phenomenal human resource that we can provide support and assistance to in partnerships that alleviate their sufferings and increase their abilities to rebuild their lives.”

Since 1988, Questscope in the Middle East ensures that disadvantaged and refugee youth get second chances with a mentor, for a relevant education, and with support to grow as leaders. The unprecedented crisis of violence in Syria increased outreach to include water and sanitation assistance, shelter provision, food distribution, and trauma counseling, all by Syrian young people in 100 locations in Syria, and education and youth-empowerment initiatives in 60 locations in Jordan.

Razek Siriani is a former relief and humanitarian aid program coordinator in Aleppo-Syria. Over the past ten years, he has been coordinating relief work to Iraqi refugees who were in transit in Syria before their final re-settlements in Western countries. His work involved emergency relief packages, psycho-social support, education for children and adults, as well as training and education on small businesses. When the crisis began in Syria, he began doing relief work for Syrian citizens who were displaced by providing monthly relief emergency packages, as well as education and sheltering for children. He remained in Syria until he could no longer fathom a way to remain and ensure the future of his family. In late 2013, he moved to USA with his family seeking safety and security. He is an advocate of charity and humanitarian work.


939 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02115

WEDNESDAY, DEC 16th 2015 at 7:30 pm

TICKETS: $50 minimum donation

ADVANCE TICKETS: 617-747-2261



SimonShaheen1_PressReleaseSIMON SHAHEEN is one of the most significant Arab musicians, performers, and composers of his generation. His work incorporates and reflects a legacy of Arabic music, while it forges ahead to new frontiers, embracing many different styles in the process. This unique contribution to the world of arts was recognized in 1994 when Shaheen was honored with the prestigious National Heritage Award at the White House. In the 1990s he released four albums of his own: Saltanah, Turath, Taqasim, and Simon Shaheen: The Music of Mohamed Abdel Wahab, and has composed the entire soundtrack for the United Nations-sponsored documentary, For Everyone Everywhere. Broadcast globally in December 1998, this film celebrated the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Human Rights Charter. But perhaps his greatest success has come with Blue Flame, where he leads his group, Qantara, on a labyrinthian journey through the world of fusion music to discover the heart of the Middle East. The album has been nominated for eleven Grammy Awards, and the band’s performances have been called “glorious.” Shaheen is currently a Professor at Berklee College of Music.

Pei-Shan Lee, piano; Ian Swensen, violin; Paul Katz, cello


PAUL KATZ is known to concert-goers the world over as cellist of the Grammy Award-winning Cleveland Quartet, which, during an international career of 26 years, made more than 2,500 appearances on four continents. As a member of this celebrated ensemble from 1969 to 1995, Katz performed at the White House and on many television shows, including CBS Sunday Morning, NBC’s Today Show, and the 1973 Grammy Awards (the first classical musicians invited to appear on that show). His recordings include the String Quintet of Schubert for 2 cellos with Yo-Yo Ma, and award winning performances with legendary pianists Alfred Brendel and Emmanuel Ax. Pianist PEI-SHAN LEE’s active concert career has taken her to The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher and Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Taiwan’s National Concert Hall, and tours of Europe and the Middle East. Among others, she has collaborated with world-renown artists Ani Kavafian, Joseph Silverstein, Donald Weilerstein, Kim Kashkashian, Jeanne Baxtresser and Pieter Wispelwey; her chamber music partners have included the Ariel, Jupiter, and Harlem String Quartets, members of the Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit, San Diego Symphony Orchestras and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Violinist IAN SWENSEN, winner of the coveted Naumburg Competition, maintains an active schedule as soloist and chamber musician, appearing regularly at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society, Music@Menlo and others. He has performed with members of the Juilliard, Cleveland, Emerson, Takács, Concord and Tokyo Quartets, as well as Menahem Pressler, Gilbert Kalish, Mark O’Connor and Yo-Yo Ma.