JANUARY 23, 2014, 5:00 PM Comment
Robert Browning to Present New Series of ConcertsBy ALLAN KOZINN
Robert Browning, the entrepreneur who almost single-handedly created and filled New Yorkers’ passion for world music, had an idea in 2011 that it might be fitting to retire. He was 70, and had presented over 1,800 concerts of virtually every imaginable variety of ethnic music, first for the Alternative Center (which was later called the Alternative Museum) and later at the World Music Institute, which he founded in 1986.
But sitting on the sidelines has not suited him, so Mr. Browning has started a new concert presenting group, Robert Browning Associates, and plans to pick up where he left off.
Mr. Browning’s first post-retirement effort, which he announced on Thursday, is “Music from the Mediterranean to Asia,” a four-concert series at Roulette. The concerts, one a month between February and May, will be preceded by talks with the performers. The first offering is a program by Alam Khan (the son of the sarod master Ali Akbar Khan) and Nitin Mitta, a tabla player, with music of North India (Feb. 15).
The three remaining concerts are devoted to Middle Eastern music. Simon Shaheen, a violinist and oud (Arabic lute) player, will be joined by the vocalist Rima Khcheich in “Arab Music from Al-Andalus to the Golden Age,” which includes music from the Arabic courts of Spain before the 16th century, as well as works by Egyptian and Lebanese composers of the 1940s and 1950s (March 1). Amir Nojan and the Nava Ensemble will perform a program of mystical Persian music (April 26), and Omar Faruk Tekbilek, a singer and performer on the ney (a bamboo flute) will be joined by his son, Murat Tekbilek, a percussionist, for a concert of Turkish Sufi music (May 3).
Mr. Browning’s new group is also presenting a tour by the Asif Ali Khan Qawwali Ensemble, a Pakistani troupe that specializes in qawwali, an ecstatic Sufi vocal music. The group will perform at Zankel Hall on March 22, and will also perform in Cleveland; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Savannah, Ga.; Amherst, Mass.; Boston; Stanford, Calf.; and Santa Barbara, Calif.