The University of Texas Middle Eastern Ensemble “Bereket” is a group comprised of UT students, faculty, staff and community members. “Bereket” is a word with cognates in Turkish, Arabic and Persian that translates as “abundance,” “fruitfulness” and “divine gift.” About half the members are from the Middle East, and all are interested in learning about the culture, history, religions and languages from these areas.
The ensemble has several goals: to gain experiential understanding of the music and cultures of the Near, Middle East, North Africa and former Ottoman territories; to foster community outreach; to work with UT language and other classes; and to create a sense of community around musical performance. Ensemble members learn to play basic melodic and rhythmic modes; to structure free-meter improvisations and semi-improvised heterophonic styles; vocal and instrumental compositions; and to organize repertoire into suite-like performance formats such as fasil, waslah and nawba.
Members meet once a week for general rehearsals with occasional sectionals and/or individual coaching. For more Middle Eastern Ensemble information, contact Professor Sonia Seeman or visit the ensemble's Facebook page or the Middle Eastern Ensemble website.