ENAS MASSALHA - SOPRANO
Enas Massalha is an award-winning London-based Palestinian opera and concert soprano who has performed in Europe, the Middle East, and the USA.
On the operatic stage she has appeared at the Teatro alla Scala and Berlin Staatsoper unter den Linden under the baton of Maestro Daniel Barenboim. Enas has also appeared in many festivals and gala concerts around the world including the Salzburg Music Festival together with Maestro Barenboim, most notably in the Veneto Festival, Tanglewood Music Festival, and Carnegie Hall New York.
For the last few years, she has had the privilege of touring the following programs, of which she is also the artistic director: Song and Prayer, a cross-cultural concert based on religious texts of various credal traditions, interspersed with spoken narration and readings in Arabic. Women's Songs: a program of Western art song for classical voice and piano based on the theme of female experience, incorporating works by female composers.
Life and death: Commissioned a new orchestral/vocal work using texts by Arab writers including Mahmoud Darwish, for full orchestra, two female singers, choir and piano solo - composed by Noam Sivan.
Enas has been awarded many scholarships and prizes from foundations such as the Edward Said Foundation, Liz Mohn Foundation, the Apple hill, Qattan foundation amongst others.
Enas just started her vocal studio in North London where she teaches different singing techniques, mainly operatic .
The Silk Moth one-woman opera was her debut performance in London.
TOBY PURSER - CONDUCTOR AND MUSICAL DIRECTOR
Toby Purser first came to prominence following recognition in the 2002 Leeds Conducting Competition, and was appointed Assistant Conductor of L'Ensemble Orchestral de Paris for 2007 following his participation in the Vendome Academy with Janos Furst and John Nelson. Orchestras he has conducted include the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, London Concert Orchestra, L’Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Kotorart Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra of Opera North, the Orpheus Sinfonia, Oxford University Orchestra, Sinfonia Viva, Kammerphilharmonie Graz, St Petersburg Camerata and the St Petersburg Festival Orchestra. From 2002 until 2011 he was principal conductor of the London International Orchestra. A CD a Bel Canto arias recorded with Mexican tenor Jesús León and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic has just been released.
In November 2014, he made his company debut at ENO conducting two performances of The Marriage of Figaro. He is a regular guest at Grange Park Opera where he has conducted Madama Butterfly, Eugene Onegin, Rigoletto and Fortunio, which was also performed at the Buxton Festival. Recent engagements also include Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld and Donizetti’s The Daughter of the Regiment for Opera Della Luna at Iford Arts, Haydn’s Lo Speziale and La Canterina for Bampton Classical Opera, Sister Act for Pimlico Opera, and concerts at Cadogan Hall, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Royal Festival Hall and Symphony Hall,
Working for Pimlico Opera each winter since 2008, he has conducted productions in various prisons, with a cast of inmates performing alongside professionals in repertoire include Carmen the Musical, Les Misérables, Sugar, SweeneyTodd and West Side Story.
Having studied himself with George Hurst, Ilya Musin, and at the Royal Academy of Music with Colin Metters, he was invited in 2010 by the Aberystwyth International MusicFest to direct its first conductors' class, following which the class is now established as an annual event. He was assistant to the late George Hurst at the Canford Summer School of Music, where he remains a tutor, and was co-director of the Graz Conductors' Summer School 2008-9.
ENSEMBLE ZAR boasts extraordinary versatility as its musicians are well-versed in both Eastern and Western idioms, and equally at home performing complex written contemporary music as well as arrangements of the world’s traditional musics. Zar’s musicians are also masters of improvisation, relishing in the spontaneous nature of Oriental music. Ensemble Zar has performed in the concert hall, for theatre, live and recorded music for film. Venues have included the Southbank’s Purcell Room, Barbican, Birmingham Symphony Hall. Most notably, the Arabic section of the ensemble recently recorded the Oscar-winning film composer, Gabriel Yared's film score for the new feature animation film, The Prophet, at Abbey Road Studios in March 2014.