Jazz at Lincoln Center Announces Middle East Meditations Featuring Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and Naseer Shamma

Jazz at Lincoln Center today announces Middle East Meditations, a milestone concert event and U.S. tour featuring the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and Naseer Shamma, the eminent Iraqi oud virtuoso-composer-educator. Marking the JLCO’s first collaboration with an Iraqi artist, the orchestra will premiere new works with Shamma at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater on January 20-21 at 8:00pm then tour throughout select U.S. cities from January 24-February 4, 2023.

The Middle East Meditations Tour includes a residency in Chicago (January 26-27, 2023) and concerts in Omaha, Nebraska; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Madison, Wisconsin (see complete tour dates below).

“We’re coming together for a collaboration with the brilliant musician, composer, and musicologist Naseer Shamma. He comes from a whole world of music of which he is a master. As a virtuoso and teacher, he has transformed the presence of the oud,” said Marsalis. “Playing with Naseer is what makes being a musician –all the hours and years spent practicing and trying to be serious –worth it. We look forward to coming together to interpret his music.”

Revered as being one of the world’s greatest oud virtuosos –the oud being a centuries-old Middle Eastern short-necked lute-type stringed instrument– the acclaimed Naseer Shamma is equally known for his humanitarian work, including serving as the UNESCO Artist for Peace.

Shamma and Marsalis first met at the behest of the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Festival in 2010, which led to more than a revelatory musical meeting of the minds, but to a shared belief in the power of music and collaboration to bring cultures and people together, beyond politics and religion. They reunited later that year for a concert in Marciac, France, where reviews called the collaboration an “unprecedented fusion between jazz and the oud instrument.”

Middle East Meditations continues the orchestra’s season of cross-cultural offerings that illuminate, actualize, and reaffirm the notion of jazz as a global language and the music’s power to bridge divides and coalesce distinct communities.

For additional information and to purchase tickets, visit For live streaming information, visit

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and Naseer Shamma
2023 Middle East Meditations U.S. Tour

  • Friday, January 20 | New York, NY – Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater
  • Saturday, January 21 | New York, NY – Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater
  • Sunday, January 22 | Philadelphia, PA – Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts – Academy of Music
  • Thursday, January 26 | Urbana, IL – Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
  • Friday, January 27 | Chicago, IL – Chicago Symphony Center
  • Saturday, January 28 | Chicago, IL – Chicago Symphony Center – featuring JLCO only
  • Sunday, January 29 | St. Louis, MO – Sheldon Concert Hall
  • Wednesday, February 1 | Omaha, NE – Holland Performing Arts Center
  • Friday, February 3 | Appleton, WI – Lawrence University – Lawrence Memorial Chapel
  • Saturday, February 4 | Madison, WI – Overture Center for the Arts
  • Thursday, February 2 | Milwaukee, WI – Marcus Performing Arts Center

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