Bushra El-Turk's music of '...ironic...', '...arresting...' and 'limitless imagination' forebears the influence of her Lebanese roots and straddles Eastern and Western idioms all the while leaning towards the absurd and theatrical.
Selected by the BBC as one of the most inspiring 100 Women, globally, Bushra has written various works for the concert hall, dance, theatre and multi-media, both performed and broadcast on radio and television (most notably: BBC Radio 3 (UK), Portuguese Classical Music Radio, (Portugal). Warsaw Classical Radio, (Poland), LBC International and Tele Liban (Lebanon) in the UK, Europe, the Middle-East, the Americas and Australia. Her pieces have been performed by ensembles including the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO Panufnik Scheme 2012), BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Royal Opera House (ROH2), London Sinfonietta, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG), Manchester Camerata, Opera Holland Park, OrchestUtopica (Portugal), Hermes Ensemble (Belgium), Orchestre National de Lorraine (France), Ensemble Nox (Argentina), Atlas Ensemble, Ensemble Zerafin, Orkest de ereprijs (Holland), Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra, Lunatics at Large (USA) and Wissam Boustany. Performances have been at venues including the Lincoln Centre (New York), Bridgewater Hall (Manchester), Birmingham Symphony Hall, Cadogan Hall, the Southbank and the Barbican (London).
Her string quartet, Eating Clouds, was among the five selected pieces in the Aberdeen International Music Prize and was performed by members of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in April 2007.
She has attended masterclasses with Sentieri Selvaggi (Julia Wolfe), 13th Young Composer's Meeting in Holland with Louis Andriessen, Martijn Padding, Richard Ayres and Mary Finsterer, Acanthes in France with Hugues Dufourt, Ivan Fedele and Bruno Montovani and IRCAM’s Manifeste.
With the pianist Tala Tutunji, she established the Chelsea Music Academy, a centre for music education, inter-cultural events and research specialising in Middle-Eastern and Western idioms, which was launched at the start of 2010.
She is now artistic director and leader of Ensemble Zar, which is a fresh and fearless cross-genre ensemble whose mission is to express the Middle Eastern artistic temperament in its rawest form, and experiment with new sounds in the process. It’s musicians are well-versed in both Eastern and Western idioms, equally at home performing complex written contemporary music as well as masters of improvisation, relishing in the spontaneous nature of Oriental music. Ensemble Zar has performed for the Metta Theatre production of ‘Arab Nights’ (dir. Poppy Burton-Morgan, Soho Theatre production). It has also, most notably, played the live score to the world’s first feature-length silent film animation, The Adventures of Prince Achmed at the Southbank (part of Women of the World Festival - WOW) and Barbican as a Birds Eye View Film Festival commission, for which it received critical acclaim. 2014 saw a performance at Birmingham Symphony Hall and a recording of feature animation film, The Prophet, produced by Salma Hayek Pinault, with music by Gabriel Yared.
Born in 1982, Bushra studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Julian Philips, where she graduated with a Bachelor and then gained a Master in Composition with Distinction, supported by a PRS Foundation Scholarship. She has recently accepted an Arts and Humanities Research Council Award to do a PhD in Musical Composition with Michael Zev Gordon at Birmingham University.
She is currently commissioned to write a piece for the Latvian Radio Choir and Saraband Ensemble as part of the ‘Song of Songs‘ project.
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