Composition

Hussein's compositions explore the sonic intersections amonst peoples, the self, the Divine, nature, cities and spaces to understand ourselves differently and engage meaningfully in plural encounters. Hussein considers music compositions a pathway for inquiry, search and transformation. His compositions draw on life experiences and music from his own diverse background. Rooted in diverse sonic heritage he utilizes contemporary techniques to write music with universal appeal that all people, regardless of their backgrounds might be able to connect with. Hussein believes that it is through this connection that a common heart emerges awakening the possiblity of humanity mingling peacefully with each other and creation.

 

COMPOSITION

Hussein's professional work in music composition seeks to apply contemporary techniques to create a 'liminal space" where we can feel safe to mingle in each other's light; connect to our unifying human spirits; and find meaningful expression of the intersections of our diverse worlds. Specifically Hussein looks at sounds of the Muslim experience and how they find consonance and dissonance with sounds of everyday life. For example, the piece, Nur: Reflections on Light is a collection of miniatures and choral soundscapes exploring the ineffable nature of light. The music interweaves melodies from Ismaili Muslim mystical literature (ginans specifically), quranic recitation and classical Indian ragas into textures inspired by early and contemporary choral music. Hussein works to present the sonic experience of the Muslim world not as 'international food fair' style doses and tasters, but as viable, interesting, unique contemporary expressions which demonstrate the integral role we all play in shaping our worlds.

SUN ON WATER

2015 | Inspired by the winter sunrises on Toronto's Scarborough Bluffs

Conceived while in residence at Fool's Paradise through the Doris McCarthy Artist in Residence Program of the Ontario Heritage Trust | Written for the Amadeus Choir of Greater Toronto, Lydia Adams, Conductor | Premiere by the Amadeus Choir of Greater Toronto | Trinity St. Paul's Centre, Jeanne Lamon Hall | Saturday, April 11, 2015

NUR: REFLECTIONS ON LIGHT

2014 | Inspired by phsical and spiritual properties of Light

Commission by the Aga Khan Musuem for the opening of the Ismaili Centre Toronto | Lydia Adams, Conductor | Premiere by the Elmer Iseler Singers & Guest Ismaili Singers (Nafeesa Karim, Aleeza Ladhani, Zulfikar Nathoo, Saba Rawjani & Mehnaz Thawer | Ismaili Centre Toronto | September 12, 2014

NURUN ALA NUR: LIGHT UPON LIGHT

2010 | Inspired by Verse of Light (24:35) from the Quran

Through Canada Council for the Arts Grant to Professional Musicians | Premiere by the Elmer Iseler Singers | Lydia Adams, Conductor

MOMBASA MATATU MEDITATION

2005 | When Azan (Muslim call to prayer) Meets the City

Commission by The Esoterics | Eric Banks, Conductor | Premier by The Esoterics

GATHERINGS

2004 | With Russell Wallace | Lil'Wat Meets Muslim

Commission by Westcoast Sacred Arts | Premiere by Youth Peace Choir at Musical Tribute for His Holiness Dalai Lama | Hussein Janmohamed, Conductor

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LIKONI - In Memoriam

Jan & Feb 2015 | Composed in Residence | Scarborough, ON

Recent reminders of sea and Maritme journyes, combined with much reflection on the 1950 Likoni Ferry accident where 17 members of my mom's family lost their lives, inspires me to write this piece as a way to heal ancestral pain and find peace.

AKM Theme & Variations

Jan & Feb 2015 | Composed in Residence | Scarborough, ON

Recent visits to the Aga Khan Museum (Toronto) have brought to my sonic attention some really cool acoustic propertires of various spaces in the building. Acoustics in the central courtyard, the exit ramp to the parkade, and the parkade itself present inspiration for this piece. Musical material is inspired by Ismaili devotional melodies.

On Pentatonic

Jan & Feb 2015 | Composed in Residence | Scarborough, ON

Recent encounters with the pentatonic scale have inspired me to write this piece. A performance of Huun-Huur-Tu, a recitation of an Ismaili ginan (Kamru Rajan - 6 3 2 1, and my own pentatonic noodlings (specially based on a rhythmic piece taught to me by Ella Cooper) all have become inspiration for this piece.

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