Prismatic Arts Festival

Middle-Eastern Jazz Fusion

Middle-Eastern Jazz Fusion

August 23 630-10pm
Alderney Landing Mainstage

Four talented and dynamic musicians come together for an evocative evening of Middle-Eastern fusion, mixing intricate compositions with captivating improvisations.

Personnel: Dinuk Wijeratne (Piano), Daniel MacNeil (Oud), Nick Halley (Percussion), Chris Mitchell (Saxophone).


The Sri Lankan-born composer-conductor-pianist Dinuk Wijeratne has been  described by the Toronto Star as ‘an artist who reflects a positive vision of  our cultural future’. His boundary-crossing work sees him equally at home in  collaborations with symphony orchestras and string quartets, Tabla players  and DJs, and takes him to international venues as poles apart as the Berlin  Philharmonie and the North Sea Jazz Festival. Dinuk has also appeared at the  Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Opera Bastille, and across Sri Lanka, Japan,  the UK, and the Middle East. Season highlights include the US premiere of  Dinuk’s Percussion Quartet Concerto Invisible Cities; the new CD Spin  Cycle with the Afiara String Quartet and DJ Skratch Bastid; Valdrada given  by the Toronto Symphony; and performances of Dinuk’s Masterworks-  nominated Tabla Concerto by the orchestras of Illinois, Windsor and  Victoria. Dinuk grew up in Dubai and took up initial composition studies at the Royal Northern College of Music (UK), later studying with Oscar-winning composer John Corigliano at the Juilliard School. Dinuk has composed specially for almost all of the artists and ensembles with whom he has performed; to name a few: Suzie LeBlanc, Joseph Petric, David Jalbert, Bev Johnston, Kinan Azmeh, Zakir Hussain, Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, Sandeep Das, Tim Garland, Nick Halley, Ed Thigpen, Ramesh Misra, Ed Hanley, Eric Vloeimans, Buck 65, the Apollo Saxophone Quartet, TorQ Percussion, the New Juilliard Ensemble, the Cecelia String Quartet, and the Symphonies of Vancouver, Thunder Bay, and Nova Scotia. His music and collaborative work embrace the great diversity of his international background and influences.

Daniel MacNeilDaniel is a Multi-Discipline Instrumentalist (Oud, Guitar, Percussion), Composer, Educator, and Arranger based in Halifax who due to his creativity, professionalism and ability to collaborate is becoming more and more in demand.  He is the founder and Director of Halifax, Nova Scotia’s Premiere Middle Eastern Music Chamber Ensemble “Nafas”, in which he also performs Oud and Percussion (dumbek, riq, tar). Daniel has composed, arranged, and performed in concert with Symphony Nova Scotia, the Victoria Symphony and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.  All concerts have had huge success with rave reviews.  Additional artists and ensembles, to name just a few, from past collaborations in performance, and in nearly all cases composition or arranging as well, include: Dinuk Wijeratne, Maria Mezcle, Soprano Nicole Jordan, Norman Adams, Miguel Tellez, Maria Osende, Nick Halley, Josephine Nithya, Compañia Azul, and Miguel de la Bastide.  Known for his work in many genres of “world music” including: Flamenco, Middle Eastern, Indian, and Brazilian, Daniel also works professionally and intimately in Western Classical, Contemporary, Fusion, Improv. and in collaboration for dance accompaniment.  Specialized training includes Classical Middle Eastern Music (Oud & Dumbek) with renowned Arab musicians,  and Classical Indian music (Pakhawaj/Tabla in the style of Odissi) in India with Padma Charan Dehury.  He has studied Flamenco with world class artists in Spain between 2007-2010, including studies at the renowned flamenco school of dance and music “Amor De Dios”.  Daniel has been awarded the “Teachers Gold Medal Award” from the Royal Conservatory of Canada four consecutive years (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014) for teaching Eastern Canada gold medal winners in the classical guitar examination competition, and regularly teaches music classes and private lessons in a wide variety of styles.

nick-halley-cropped-portrait-1 Nick Halley is a drummer/percussionist, keyboardist, composer, and  conductor. As a drummer and world percussionist, Nick has performed and  recorded internationally with a wide range of musicians including James  Taylor, Oscar Castro-Neves, Maucha Adnet, David McGuinness & Revenge of  the Folk Singers, Concerto Caledonia, Jefferson Hamer & Eamon O’Leary,  Old Man Luedecke & Tim O’Brien, the Chris Norman Ensemble, various Paul  Halley ensembles, Suzie LeBlanc, Theresa Thomason, Diomira with Dinuk  Wijeratne & Joseph Petric, Matt Brewer, and occasionally the Nick Halley  Band. The recording Barnum Hill (2008) features Nick and his ensemble  performing some of Nick’s original compositions.

Nick is the founder and Artistic Director of the Capella Regalis Men and Boys  Choir in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  He is the founder and Director of The King’s Chorus, a choir for members of the King’s and Dalhousie University communities in Halifax.  Nick is also the Assistant Director of the acclaimed University of King’s College Chapel Choir directed by his father, Paul Halley.  He is Cantor and Director for the chapel’s male Compline choir.  In 2012, Nick was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his contribution to Canada and Nova Scotia through the arts, particularly for his work with Capella Regalis Men and Boys Choir.  Nick was the Host of CBC’s Choral Concert for the 2013-14 season.

Chris Mitchell is an engaging and innovative saxophonist. Heralded as one of Canada’s finest instrumentalists, Chris has contributed to the music scene in a number of diverse and exciting ways. A versatile player,Chris is a sought after talent across a variety of genres performing with a myriad of artist’s including David Foster, Natalie Cole, Lionel Richie, Ray Charles, Rosemary Clooney, Phil Woods, Kenny Wheeler, Jackie Richardson and Doug Riley to name a few. Chris is currently touring with The Afro Cuban Jazz and BeyondQuintet which features Ignacio Berroa, Hilario Duran, Roberto Occhipinti and JorgeLuis Torres. Chris has toured extensively in North America, Europe and in Asia and has also performed with a numerous symphony orchestras across Canada.

His extensive experience as a performer, composer and arranger has culminated in the production of four solo instrumental albums to date. As a result of his 1997 release “The Witches of Redbeard” featuring jazzicon Phil Woods The Chris Mitchell Quintet was the recipient of the prestigious “Prix De Jazz DuMaurier” performing at the 1999 Montreal Jazz Festival.

As a sideman Chris has also recorded with numerous Juno and ECMA winning artists. Chris’ talents include a keen ability to understand product advertising and promotion. He runs his own successful production company – MitchMusic.

Chris’ understanding of multimedia presentation has resulted in compelling commercial music and marketing materials for a number of clients including both the public and private sectors. Currently active in various musical groups, Chris also holds the Associate Director of Music position at the Fountain School of Performing Arts, Dalhousie University in Halifax.