This February, Amir ElSaffar’s Rivers of Sound Orchestra hits the road! The seventeen musicians embark on a three-city tour that includes Chicago’s Symphony Center, the Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City, and NYU Skirball. They will perform music from their double-LP, Not Tworeleased last year on New Amsterdam Records.

For more information on these and other tour dates, please click here.

some of the most sensuously beautiful large-ensemble work being created today.” – Howard Reich, The Chicago Tribune

It is elevating to the spirit to encounter music and philosophy characterized by such warmth and amenity.” – Jordan Penney, PopMatters

“In Rivers of Sound, Mr. ElSaffar’s 17-piece ensemble, rhythm is a load-bearing vehicle, steadily carrying his compositions across land and sea. The pulse changes hands often, Mr. ElSaffar’s trumpet working in an exchange with the tabla and the guitar and the buzuq, a stringed instrument from the eastern Mediterranean. Rivers of Sound brings together virtuosos from Middle Eastern, South Asian and Western jazz traditions, and its music has a liquid quality: It’s full of momentum, but not in the way of a single moving thing. Instead, it seems to flow and spill across bounds.” – Giovanni Rusonello, The New York Times

    ★ Rivers of Sound flows in a flux of ever-shifting colors, with bold brass fanfares giving way to classically Middle Eastern sounding strings and sinuous reed melodies evolving patiently over unhurried, swinging rhythms that are accented by the dieting tonality of frame drum and dumbek…with Not Two [ElSaffar] has moved beyond building bridges; his music has become the river.” – Bill Meyer, Downbeat Magazine.

a towering statement of purpose—wise to many traditions, even while it remains accessible to anyone” – Seth Colter Walls, Pitchfork Magazine.

Rivers of Sound is a large ensemble of instrumentalists from Western and Middle Eastern traditions, exploring the confluences of a musical language that transcends notions of tradition and style. In performing Not Two, an original composition by Amir ElSaffar, each musician interacts with the group through both improvised and composed material to create a novel composite sound.

Amir ElSaffar Unleashes a River of Sound at Lincoln Center (New York Music Daily)

“Refrains build and fall, textured timbres churn, trance like waves swell and crest. The rivers motif is fitting — there’s something liquid about these breaking waves of sound, a liquidity to these cascading drops of simple repeating melodic fragments.”
– The National, Abu Dhabi.

For information on the Rivers of Sound Orchestra, please click here.


Check out a full list of Amir ElSaffar’s tour dates here.