This event has been postponed.
Amir ElSaffar at the Hop
Live Arts
[Postponed]

Amir ElSaffar

and Rivers of Sound Orchestra
April 21

This event has been postponed.

19/20 Hop Presents

In light of urgent public health concerns, the Hop has postponed or canceled all Hop events scheduled to take place through May 31, 2020. You can find the list of postponed events, as well as the status of all upcoming Hop performances on our Event Status page. To learn more, please visit our Spring 2020 FAQ page.

ElSaffar and his 17-piece ensemble find ecstatic common ground among the scales, grooves and instruments of Arabic music and jazz.  

An American teen prodigy in both jazz and classical trumpet, ElSaffar spent his early 20s in his ancestral home of Iraq, immersing himself in Arabic musical traditions. In Rivers of Sound, western brass, strings and percussion meet Arabic ouds, violin and drums. After giving Hop audiences a taste of his music as the composer and lead instrumentalist of Ragamala Dance Company's Written in Water in fall 2018, ElSaffar takes center stage with his own compelling vision.

Deeply rooted in the musical traditions of Iraq, this ensemble honors those origins while speaking the language of swing and improvisation. Distinct from other contemporary musical fusions, ElSaffar's group incorporates microtones rarely heard on the trumpet, as well as innovative strides in the maqam modal system performed on the santur (hammered dulcimer), which ElSaffar learned to play during his sojourn in Iraq.

This event occurred as part of the 19/20 Hop Presents season. This is an archived view.

“Gorgeous, invigorating and accessible.”

NPR Music

“The band navigates ElSaffar’s still-fresh fusion of jazz and maqam with such masterful technical power and vivid lyrical imagination that you almost immediately forget to be engrossed by the novelty of the sound.”

Chicago Reader

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