Amir ElSaffar

Rivers of Sound Spring 2016 Tour

This month, Amir ElSaffar will led his 17 member improvising orchestra Rivers of Sound with performances in Philadelphia (Kimmel Center), Cleveland (Cleveland Museum of Art), and Abu Dhabi (NYU Abu Dhabi).

Rivers of Sound presents 17 musicians from a broad spectrum of traditions, from Iraqi maqam to American jazz. Using resonance as its governing principle, the music incorporates elements of maqam modal music of the Middle East with jazz and other contemporary musical practices to create a unique microtonal musical environment that moves beyond the notions of style and tradition into a realm of uninhibited musical communication. As pitches and rhythms become fluid, so do cultural boundaries: elements that traditionally divide musicians and genre-specific modes are re-contextualized in a fresh transcultural soundscape.

The debut double album by Rivers of Sound will be released Fall 2016. Check out a full list of tour dates here.


“★★★★★…what ElSaffar is doing on Crisis is unique in music…from a political and historical vantage point, the task of narrating complex global events through instrumental music is more than challenging. ElSaffar has not only commendably told this personal and globally important story but has produced a masterpiece of a recording in doing so.” – Karl Ackermann, All About Jazz . 

Amir ElSaffar and Two Rivers “CRISIS” EPK