The Amsterdam Andalusian Orchestra plays a diversity of music, stretching from Granada to Baghdad and embracing a variety of periods and styles – from the rich Arab-Andalusian tradition to mystical Middle-Eastern music, and from the refined improvisational music of the Arab world to the folk music of the Maghreb.

Our story

The Amsterdam Andalusian Orchestra (AAO) was founded in 2011 with the aim of connecting the artistic and cultural heritage of Al-Andalus with the present. The AAO not only brings this music back to Europe, but combines it with stories (both time-honoured and self-written), poems, and theatre. The eloquence of the music and the stories behind it are – in artistic and cultural terms – the connection between past and present. The exceptional Al-Andalusian repertoire has earned the AAO a unique place in Amsterdam’s cultural scene, both with its own productions and through a range of collaborations with other artists. Over the past decade this has helped us reach a diversity of audiences, both at home and abroad.

The orchestra

The versatility of AAO musicians has also expanded Amsterdam’s musical network – for ten years now, the AAO has been made up of musicians from both the Netherlands and abroad. Over the years, the orchestra has worked with renowned musicians from all genres, from Arab (Marcel Khalife and Sami Yusuf), to jazz (Metropole Orchestra), and flamenco (Estrella Morente).

A musical immersion

In addition to the Andalusian, mystical Sufi, and folk repertoires, the AAO dives deeply into other genres associated with the Andalusian tradition, such as malhoun (Sanaa Maharati), and flamenco (Estrella Morente). Besides these repertoires, the AAO also specialises in Middle Eastern sharqi music.

Due to the connections between the Arabo-Andalusian repertoire and other genres, the AAO has evolved into a musical creative platform that focuses on different repertoires, styles, and disciplines, ranging from Granada to Baghdad.

Collaborations with creators and musicians in Amsterdam have increasingly given the AAO its own unique Amsterdam signature, creating three focus areas:

  1. Maghreb & Andalusian: from flamenco to Arabo-Andalusian, and from gharnati to Sephardi-Ladino.
  2. Middle Eastern: the classical repertoire of Arab icons, such as with the AAO “A Tribute to…” series for Abdel Halim Hafez, Uum Kulthum, and Fairuz.
  3. Amsterdam & Contemporary: integrating jazz/world/classical musicians within the orchestra.

In doing this, we connect the AAO to different disciplines and genres in other Amsterdam cultural institutions. This, in turn, leads to more musical crossovers and further room for experiment.

A musical immersion

Jan van Schaffelaarplantsoen 2
1061 BS Amsterdam

For further information about AAO and our productions, please contact info@amsterdamsandalusischorkest.nl

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