May 2020

Letters from Iraq: Rahim AlHaj with NZSQ

Love and loss. Home and hope. Iraqi-American composer and oud player, Rahim AlHaj and percussionist Nicholas Baker joins NZSQ and double bassist, Joan Perarnau Garriga, with Letters from Iraq.

AlHaj’s musical response expressing the love and pain of lives lived by the people of war-torn Iraq. Actual mailed letters and their stories are transposed into eight gripping programmatic compositions.

AlHaj, a man with first-hand knowledge of oppression under Saddam Hussein’s regime and a deep love for the people of his native Iraq, tells a specific tale with each piece. To listen is to experience the reality of a nation, to feel heartbreak, loss, and the day-to-day journeys of so many Iraqi citizens. An inspired and loving tribute to people in dire conditions, but who still press forward.

He says,

Music can make us laugh, make us cry, make us march into war. I want to make music to make us realize peace. 

These works are of deep emotion and great beauty, melding mastery of Iraqi and Western classical genres alike to form something entirely new.

“Music can make us laugh, make us cry, make us march into war. I want to make music to make us realize peace.”

Rahim AlHaj

TOUR DATES AND VENUES

DATE LOCATION VENUE TIME PROGRAMME
Sat 2 May Hamilton: Rahim AlHaj with NZSQ Gallagher Centre for Performing Arts 7:30pm Rahim Alhaj with NZSQ
Sun 3 May Auckland: Rahim AlHaj with NZSQ Concert Chamber, Auckland Town Hall 5:00pm Rahim Alhaj with NZSQ
Tue 5 May Wellington: Rahim AlHaj with NZSQ The Public Trust Building 7:30pm Rahim Alhaj with NZSQ
Thu 7 May Nelson: Rahim AlHaj with NZSQ Nelson Centre for Musical Arts 7:30pm Rahim Alhaj with NZSQ
Fri 8 May Christchurch: Rahim AlHaj with NZSQ The Piano 7:30pm Rahim Alhaj with NZSQ
Sun 10 May Invercargill: Rahim AlHaj with NZSQ Victoria Room, Civic Theatre 5:00pm Rahim Alhaj with NZSQ
Mon 11 May Dunedin: Rahim AlHaj with NZSQ Glenroy Auditorium 7:30pm Rahim Alhaj with NZSQ

PROGRAMMES

Rahim Alhaj with NZSQ

BARBER
String Quartet in B minor, Op. 11

RAHIM ALHAJ’S ‘LETTERS FROM IRAQ’
Letter 1. Eastern Love – Sinan
Letter 2. Forbidden Attraction – Tiama
Letter 3. Running Boy – Fuad
Letter 4. The Last Time We Will Fly Birds – Riyadh
Letter 5. Going Home – Rahim
Letter 6. Unspoken Word – Laila
Letter 7. Fly Home – Fatima
Letter 8. Voices to Remember – Zainab

The New Zealand String Quartet gratefully acknowledges its sponsors and funders