Alidz Agbabian Brings Together Young Artists for a Performance at the Getty Center

LOS ANGELES–Storyteller Alidz Agbabian and the Tellers from the Mountain will perform "Echoes from the Desert" at the Getty Center on February 24 as part of a Family Festival inspired by the Getty Museum’s exhibition Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons from Sinai. "Echoes from the Desert" will be performed at 12:15 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. in the Museum Lecture Hall and feature fables of witty and wily desert animals of Sinai and legends and songs from several Middle Eastern traditions. Agbabian and the Tellers are part of the Getty’s day-long celebration that will feature performances and activities to help families explore the lands of Egypt, Byzantium, and the Eastern Mediterranean. The Family Festival complemen’s the Getty’s exhibition Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons from Sinai, which features a selection of artistic treasures from the Holy Monastery of Saint Catherine at Mount Sinai, Egypt, the oldest continuously operating Christian monastery in existence. Icons from Sinai is on view at the Getty Center through March 4, 2007. Agbabian, who is also an author and publisher of children’s books, said teaming up with young talents from the community has given her a fresh perspective and helped enhance the storytelling experience. "I have always been fascinated by the idea of a converging point between generations of storytellers, and I’m very proud to be collaborating with these young artists," she explained. "They inspire and energize me, and bring a whole new quality to the performance in terms of range, texture, rhythm, and vocal coloration." The Tellers from the Mountain are Mher Vahakn, Ari Agbabian, and Areni Agbabian. A well-regarded percussionist and photographer, Mher Vahakn is the leader of the rock band Tallulah Sound Experiment and co-founder of Songs and Flight, a nonprofit organization that helps promote emerging musicians. He holds a degree in photography from the Art Center College of Design and lives and works in Los Angeles. Ari Agbabian studied acting and dramaturgy at the New York University’s Tisch School of Arts. His Master’s-degree thesis on medieval Egyptian shadow puppet shows has helped him acquire fresh insight into the storyteller’s craft, bridging medieval and contemporary storytelling traditions. He currently lives and works in New York, where he is interning with the Civilians Theater Group, a company renowned for its experimental projects. After earning a degree in piano performance from UCLA, Areni Agbabian, now a CalArts student, is working on her Master’s degree in piano recital with an emphasis on works by Eliot Carter, Olivier Messiaen, and John Adams, as well as vocal and instrumental improvisational music inspired by the Armenian musical tradition. In the fall of 2006, Areni Agbabian performed in the vocal ensemble of Michael Gordon’s latest opera, What to Wear, at the RedCat in Disney Hall. The all-day Family Festival at the Getty Center will feature music, dance, storytelling and art-making workshops designed to explore the artistic traditions of the eastern Mediterranean and Middle East. The program will include artist Elmira Adamian’s "Icons of Peace," a workshop in which children will be encouraged to make modern-day icons using recycled materials, inspired by those on view in Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons from Sinai. According to the Getty, Icons from Sinai reveals the central role of icons in Byzantine spiritual practice and conveys their vital function in religious celebrations. It also shows how the Holy Monastery of Saint Catherine at Mount Sinai’s geographic and historical position as a major pilgrimage destination engendered its extraordinary collection of icons and books. Icons from Sinai is on view through March 4, 2007 at the Getty Museum at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. For more information, please visit www.getty.edu or call (310) 440-7300.

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