MDC Live Arts Presents an Andalusian Night in Miami

Arab Classical Music meets Flamenco & beyond with the National Arab Orchestra and special guests

Miami, April 30, 2018 – Miami Dade College’s (MDC) MDC Live Arts, Miami’s most eclectic performing arts series, closes its 2017-18 season with a gala event: Layali al-Andalus at 8 p.m., on Saturday, May 12, at the Olympia Theater featuring the National Arab Orchestra and special guests. A pre-concert reception will celebrate the season, offering complimentary Mediterranean hors d’oeuvres and refreshments for all concert goers.

MDC Live Arts’ Ojalá/ Inshallah season was named for the Spanish word for “I wish” and the Arabic phrase for “God willing” as a reminder of the Moorish impact on the Spanish language and Hispanic identity shared by so many greater Miami residents. This final performance, Layali al-Andalus, or Andalusian Nights, embodies the Arab-Hispanic connection, conjuring the romanticized historical place and time of cultural co-existence and exchange in an enchanting evening of Arab Classical music, flamenco and more.

Dedicated to performing and preserving the classical and contemporary traditions of Arab music, the 24-member National Arab Orchestra features violins and cellos alongside traditional instruments, such as oudqanun (zither), nay (reed flute) and a percussion section including riqq (Arab tambourine). The ensemble will be joined by esteemed Flamenco guitarist Jose Luis de la Paz, Flamenco dancer Niurca Marquez Flamenco singer Alejandro El Gambimbas (direct from Spain!); Arabic singers Marian Layousse, Abdallah Moussa, and Sephardic singer Susana Behar.

“MDC Live Arts is thrilled to bring this extraordinary orchestra to Miami for the first time, offering music lovers of all kinds the opportunity to experience a full Arabic orchestra with a flamenco twist, said Kathryn Garcia, MDC Live Arts’ executive director. “It’s sure to be a beautiful night of cross-cultural collaborations in the spirit of our Ojalá/Inshallah season!”

The National Arab Orchestra (NAO) is a nonprofit organization that that aims to preserve and integrate Arab culture through music education, outreach, and performance. Founded in 2009 and established in 2010, the National Arab Orchestra is home to the NAO Orchestra, the National Arab Orchestra Takht Ensemble (NAOTE), and the National Arab Orchestra Community Choir (NAOCC). The NAO is dedicated to preserving and performing the classical and contemporary traditions of Arab music, and provides opportunities that will bridge social and cultural barriers through music.

Its Founder and Music Director, Michael Ibrahim, is a dynamic conductor and a recognized innovator in the Arab music circuit.  A Metro-Detroit native, he was born into a Syrian immigrant family of humble origins.  He began his musical studies on the ‘Ud, and later studying the Bassoon and Nay as his musical training progressed. Ibrahim studied under renowned musicians Simon Shaheen, Johnny Sarweh, Nadeem Dlaikan, Douglas Bianchi, Anthony Iannacconne, Dr. David Pierce, Robert Williams, and Victoria King.  He earned a bachelor degree in music from Eastern Michigan University, and a Master of Music degree in conducting from Wayne State University.

Ibrahim’s background and unique approach to composition and improvisation—fusing Western and Arab music idioms— has led to performances in concert halls and venues the world over, features on a number of recordings and film scores, and opportunities to share the stage with some of the most influential figures in Western and Arab music.

His role as an educator, providing instrumental and ensemble instruction, lectures and demonstrations on Arab music,  privately and in the classroom, at university and grade school levels, ultimately brought him to founding the NAO, where he currently serves as Music Director. Ibrahim hopes that through his performances and educational efforts,  he can  instill a wider appreciation for Arab music and its heritage.

WHAT:             MDC Live Arts presents Layali al-Andalus: National Arab Orchestra and guests

WHEN:             Saturday, May 12, at 8 p.m.

WHERE:           Olympia Theater | 174 E. Flagler St.

TICKETS:         $65, $48, $35 at |

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To purchase tickets, and learn more about the 2017-18 MDC Live Arts Season, call 305-237-3010, or visit

MDC Live Arts is Miami’s most eclectic performing arts series. Created in 1990 as Cultura del Lobo, MDC Live Arts has a celebrated history of bringing extraordinary national and international performing artists to Miami. The annual series presents today’s most exciting artists and designs meaningful engagement between these artists, the students of MDC, and the greater community. MDC Live Arts seeks artists from across the globe who push boundaries and honor traditions relevant to Miami’s diverse community, and aims to offer audiences opportunities to discover new ideas, perspectives and forms of expression. For more information, please visit

Ojalá/Inshallah: Wishes From The Muslim World is made possible by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art’s Building Bridges Program. The Building Bridges Program is the grant-making arm of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, which is an extension of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The program supports national efforts to advance relationships, increase understanding, and reduce bias between Muslim and non-Muslim communities. The mission of DDFIA is to promote the study, understanding and appreciation of Muslim arts and cultures. For more information, please visit

The programs of MDC Live Arts are additionally made possible with the generous support of:

Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council; the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners; the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture; the National Endowment for the Arts; and National Performance Network (NPN). MDC Live Arts is a Partner of the National Performance Network (NPN). Major NPN contributors include the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Amal is a National Performance Network/Visual Artists Network (NPN/VAN) Creation & Development Fund Project co-commissioned by MDC Live Arts in partnership with Su Teatro, MACLA and NPN/VAN. For more information:

MDC Live Arts Contacts: Alexa Burneikis, Marketing Manager, 305-237-7733,

Select requests: JWI PR, Juliana Gutierrez 786.991.4259.