Dubrovačke ljetne igre
Dubrovnik Summer Festival
10/7 - 25/8 2024

Jordi Savall & Hespèrion XXI

11. July / Thursday / 21:30h
Rector's Palace Atrium
Jordi Savall & Hespèrion XXI


WAED BOUHASSOUN,  voice & oud

Lior Elmaleh (Israel), voice

Katerina Papadopoulou (Greece), voice

Pierre Hamon (France), recorder

Nedyalko Nedyalkov (Bulgaria), kaval

Yurdal Tokcan (Turkey), oud

Hakan Güngör (Turkey), kanun

Driss el Maloumi (Morocco), oud

Dimitri Psonis (Greece), santur & Moorish guitar

David Mayoral (Israel),  percussion


Jordi Savall, direction


With a repertoire that encompasses the period between the 10th and 18th centuries, Hespèrion XXI searches continuously for new points of union between the East and West, with a clear desire for integration and for the recovery of international musical heritage, especially that of the Mediterranean basin and with links to the New World. The founder of the ensemble is the legendary Jordi Savall, one of the the most versatile musical personalities of his generation, a Grammy winner who has been working for over five decades to rescue valuable musical gems from the obscurity of neglect and oblivion and give them back for all to enjoy. Besides being a tireless researcher of early music, he interprets and performs the repertoire both as a gambist and as a conductor.




A dialogue between Christian, Sephardic, Ottoman and Arabo-Andalusian music from around the Mediterranean


Alba – Berber tradition


Qamti be-Ishon Layla Improvisation on The Song of Songs


In Damas – Lyrics from: Qays ibn al-Moullawwah (Majnoun Layla)


Saltarello – Alphonso X the Wise


Dillirga / Tillirkotissa –  Turkish & Greek song & dance


La Moledet shuvi roni – Asher Mizrahi (Jerusalem)


Ego krasi den epina – Orthodox traditional song


Lamento di Tristano –  Trecento mss.


Al-mâ'iyya, al-mâ'iyyaArab song & dance


Shuvi nav shi - Yossef ibn Sulai


Makām-ı Uzzäl Sakîl „Turna" Semâ’î / Mss. D. Cantemir, 324


Hal asmar –Traditional song from Damascus


Koniali – Turkish & Greek song & dance


Apo xeno meros






Durme, hermosa donzella (instr.)


Ghazali tal jàhri (All together)



Notes by Dina Puhovski

Here is how French-Lebanese author Amin Maalouf has described the Mare Nostrum project by Hespèrion XXI i Jordi Savall:


Listening to this selection of music from East and West in the context of the Mare Nostrum, so ingeniously put together by Jordi Savall, is no ordinary experience. In addition to the aesthetic emotion, we feel another that is even more intense – a sense of magical communion with reconciled humanity.

One can’t help feeling that, with the simultaneous demise of both Sepharad and Al-Andalus in the second half of the 15th century, only forty years after the fall of Byzantium, some part of the human soul was also lost. Those events led to the destruction of intellectual and spiritual bridges between East and West that have never since been repaired. Once the fertile hub of our cultural universe, the Mediterranean became a battlefield and a barrier between peoples.

Nowadays, our common sea marks the site of an invisible Wall which divides the planet into terror-gripped North and despairing South, into world communities which have grown accustomed to distrusting and distancing themselves from “the Other”. Arab and Jew seem to have forgotten their former, life-giving family ties, while Muslim East and Christian West appear to be locked into a confrontation from which there is no way out.

If our disoriented humanity is to regain some shred of hope, we must go far beyond a dialogue between cultures and beliefs to engage in a dialogue between souls. At the beginning of the 21st century, that is the indispensable mission of art. And that is exactly what we feel we are listening to in this superb collection of music from diverse eras and lands. Suddenly, we discover – or rediscover – that the civilizations we had thought of as remote or even inimical to one another, are in fact surprisingly close, with an astonishing degree of mutual interdependence.

Throughout this journey in time and space, we constantly find ourselves wondering whether the conflicts to which we have become accustomed are perhaps mere delusions, and the true nature of peoples and cultures is rather to be found in this dialogue of instruments, chords, cadences, expression and inspiration. Then we feel welling up in us a profound joy born of an act of faith: diversity does not have to produce adversaries; our cultures are not sealed inside impermeable shells; our world is not doomed to be endlessly torn apart; it can still be saved...

And hasn’t that always, from the very dawn of the human adventure, been the primary purpose of art?

Translated by Jacqueline Minett


„Ancient music’s most important value stems from its ability as a universal artistic language to transmit feelings, emotions and ancestral ideas that even today can enthral the contemporary listener.” With a repertoire that encompasses the period between the 10th and 18th centuries, Hespèrion XXI searches continuously for new points of union between the East and West, with a clear desire for integration and for the recovery of international musical heritage, especially that of the Mediterranean basin and with links to the New World.

In 1974, Jordi Savall and Montserrat Figueras, together with Lorenzo Alpert and Hopkinson Smith, founded the ancient music ensemble Hespèrion XX in Basel as a way of recovering and disseminating the rich and fascinating musical repertoire prior to the 19th century on the basis of historical criteria and the use of original instruments. The name Hespèrion means “an inhabitant of Hesperia”, which in ancient Greek referred to the two most westerly peninsulas in Europe: the Iberian and the Italian. It was also the name given to the planet Venus as it appeared in the west. At the turn of the 21st century Hespèrion XX became known as Hespèrion XXI.

Today, Hespèrion XXI is central to the understanding of the music of the period between the Middle Ages and the Baroque. Their labours to recover works, scores, instruments and unpublished documents have a double and incalculable value. On one hand, their rigorous research provides new information and understanding about the historical knowledge of the period, and on the other hand, the exquisite performances enable people to freely enjoy the aesthetic and spiritual delicacy of the works of this period.

Right from the beginning Hespèrion XXI set out on a clearly innovative and artistic course that would lead to the establishment of a school in the field of ancient music because they conceived, and continue to conceive, ancient music as an experimental musical tool and with it they seek the maximum beauty and expressiveness in their performances. Any musician in the field of ancient music will have a commitment to the original spirit of each work and has to learn to connect with it by studying the composer, the instruments of the period, the work itself and the circumstances surrounding it. But as a craftsman in the art of music, he is also obliged to make decisions about the piece being played: a musician’s capacity to connect the past with the present and to connect culture with its dissemination depend on his skill, creativity and capacity to transmit emotions.

Hespèrion XXI’s repertoire includes, amongst others, the music of the Sephardi Jews, Castilian romances, pieces from the Spanish Golden Age, and Europa de les Nacions. Some of their most celebrated concert programmes are Les Cantigues de Santa Maria d’Alfons X El Savi, La Diàspora Sefardí, the music of Jerusalem, Istanbul, Armenia and the Folías Criollas. Thanks to the outstanding work of numerous musicians and collaborators who have worked with the ensemble over all these years Hespèrion XXI still plays a key role in the recovery and reappraisal of the musical heritage, and one that has great resonance throughout the world. The group has published more than 60 CDs and performs concerts for the whole world, appearing regularly at the great international festivals of ancient music.


“Jordi Savall testifies to a common cultural inheritance of infinite variety. He is a man for our time” (The Guardian)

Jordi Savall is one of the most versatile musical personalities of his generation. For more than fifty years, he has rescued musical gems from the obscurity of neglect and oblivion and given them back for all to enjoy. A tireless researcher into early music, he interprets and performs the repertory both as a gambist and a conductor. His activities as a concert performer, teacher, researcher and creator of new musical and cultural projects have made him a leading figure in the reappraisal of historical music. Together with Montserrat Figueras, he founded the ensembles Hespèrion XXI (1974), La Capella Reial de Catalunya (1987) and Le Concert des Nations (1989), with whom he explores and creates a world of emotion and beauty shared with millions of early music enthusiasts around the world.

With his key participation in Alain Corneau’s film Tous les Matins du Monde (awarded the César Cinema Prize for the best soundtrack), his intense concert activity (about 140 concerts per year), his record releases (6 recordings per year) and the creation in 1998, together with Montserrat Figueras, of his own record label, Alia Vox, Jordi Savall has shown that early music does not have to be elitist, but rather that it appeals to an increasingly wide and diverse audience of all age groups.

Jordi Savall has recorded and released more than 230 discs covering the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and Classical music repertories, with a special focus on the Hispanic and Mediterranean musical heritage, receiving many awards and distinctions such as the Midem Classical Award, the International Classical Music Award and the Grammy Award. His concert programmes have made music an instrument of mediation to achieve understanding and peace between different and sometimes warring peoples and cultures. Accordingly, guest artists appearing with his ensembles include Arab, Israeli, Turkish, Greek, Armenian, Afghan, Mexican and North American musicians. In 2008 Jordi Savall was appointed European Union Ambassador for intercultural dialogue and, together with Montserrat Figueras, was named “Artist for Peace” under the UNESCO “Good Will Ambassadors” programme.

Between 2020 and 2021, to mark Ludwig van Beethoven’s 250th anniversary, he conducted the complete symphonies with Le Concert des Nations and recorded them in 2 CDs entitled Beethoven Révolution. The impact they have had in the record market worldwide has been defined as “a miracle” (Fanfare), and volume II has been distinguished with the Schallplattenkritik Prize for the best orchestral record.

Jordi Savall’s prolific musical career has brought him the highest national and international distinctions, including honorary doctorates from the Universities of Evora (Portugal), Barcelona (Catalonia), Louvain (Belgium) and Basel (Switzerland), the order of Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur (France), the Praetorius Music Prize awarded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of Lower Saxony, the Gold Medal of the Generalitat of Catalonia, the Helena Vaz da Silva Award and the prestigious Léonie Sonning Prize, which is considered the Nobel prize of the music world. This year, he has been elected Honorary Member by the Royal Philharmonic Society, the Royal Swedish Academy of Music and la Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.

Waed Bouhassoun comes from southern Syria and she was born in a village near Sweida into a family of music lovers: her father gave her a small ooud when she was only seven years old. She comes from the same region as the singers Asmahan and Farid El Atrache, and was exposed very early to forms of music other than those of her native country because, as a child, her parents took her to live for two years in Yemen where she discovered the local music at women’s gatherings. She continued to study her instrument and then entered the Damascus Conservatory, which was strongly influenced by Western music at the time. She drew on these diverse influences to create her personal style, while remaining faithful to the musical spirit of her country. Just like her first appearances in Aleppo, her talent was immediately recognized in the milieu: she performed in Paris, at the Maison des Cultures du Monde and then at the Arab World Institute in March 2006 where she enjoyed great success. Since then she has been performing throughout the Arab world, in Europe, in South Korea, in Canada.

In 2009, she recorded her first CD, The Voice of Love from the collection of the Arab World Institute, and in the same year she received the "Coup de Cœur" prize from the Académie Charles Cros. In 2014 she recorded her second CD with Buda Musique in Paris, The Soul of the Lute, for voice and oud, on which she performs her own compositions to poems of Adonis, Al Hallaj, Qays Ibn al-Mulawwah (called the Madman of Layla), Ibn Zaydun, Sohrawardi and Ibn Arabi. This album also won a "Coup de cœur" award from the Académie Charles Cros. September 2016 saw the release of "The Voice of Passion", her third CD, with Buda Musique. March 2019 saw the release of “Safar: rediscovered souls”, her fourth CD, with Buda Musique.

In addition to her solo career, Waed Bouhassoun works regularly with Jordi Savall and his ensemble Hespérion XXI, both for concerts and for the recording of CDs. In 2013 she took part in the recording of the CD "Orient Occident II – Tribute to Syria" and in 2016, the two CDs "Ramon Llull" and "Granada". Again with Jordi Savall, she contributes actively to the implementation of his project Europe Creative Orpheus XXI – Music for Life and Dignity, for the transmission of musical heritage to the new generations, and she leads music workshops for refugees and displaced children so that they are not cut off from their cultural roots.

In 2018, she was given the title of Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture. Waed Bouhassoun is currently living in Paris and working on her thesis in ethnomusicology.

Lior Elmaleh, a singer of Piutim (Jewish Liturgical Poems) was born in Israel in 1974. Since his early childhood, he has been drawn to the works by Andalusian poets. Lior got his musical education from the most influential poets headed by the well-known poet Nisim Shushan. By the age of thirteen, alongside with his musical lessons, Elmaleh had started performing in Israel and abroad, building his reputation as a popular cantorship poet in Spanish and Moroccan Jewish Communities all around the world.

In 1992, Elmaleh joined the Orchestra Andalou d'Israel where he is a lead soloist till the current day. Elmaleh won The Israel Music Prize for 2018, and is currently considered the world's leading poet in his field, one who connects ancient and new work.

The writer Ehoud Manor has written of Elmaleh: “His voice stands alone in the landscape of Israeli music, warm and oriental, exciting and unique, and with rare vocal capabilities.”

Katerina Papadopoulou was born in Athens. At eight years old, she entered the J. Tsiamoulis choir where she attended Byzantine music and folk singing lessons as well as Greek traditional dance. She participated in all the concerts and recordings of the choir until 1990. At the age of thirteen, she started oud lessons with H. Tsiamoulis. In 1991 she represented Greece at the world meeting of young artists in Paris (Jeunesses musicales de France), playing oud and singing.

From 1993 to 2001 she worked as an oud teacher at the Pallini experimental music high school. In 1995 she held workshops about Greek music and musical instruments in high schools and lyceums of Finland. She also worked for five years at the “Pireas music center”, teaching oud and playing in the Orchestra of Pireas municipality. In 2000 she acquired her Byzantine Music diploma after attending lessons with Y. Arvanitis.

Papadopoulou has sung in several music programs broadcast by Greek national TV about rebetiko and Greek traditional music. She has participated in several recordings of Greek traditional music as well as contemporary Greek music. In 2000 – after archival and personal research – she recorded a CD with songs from Meli in A. Minor, Ta Tragoudakia Mou Poulo, with S. Sinopoulos, P. Dimitrakopoulos and V. Karipis. The CD was voted best Greek traditional music CD in 2002 by the music magazine “Echo & artis”.

In 2007 she released the CD-single San Helidoni (Cantini), singing three songs of Sokratis Sinopoulos In 2008 she released Amygdalaki Tsakisa (Music Corner), an album with songs from different regions of Greece. In 2010, with Hristos Tsiamoulis and Sokratis Sinopoulos, she published Politiki Zygia (Legend), which was a live recording of a concert in Utrecht in 2008. In 2013 Amygdalaki Tsakisa was published in the United States of America by Golden Horn Records with the title Drawing in an Almond". Katerina Papadopoulou has worked with leadaing experts in Greek traditional music. She teaches Greek folk singing in the Conservatory of Athens 1871.


With the support of the Departament de Cultura de la Generalitat de Catalunya and the Ramon Llull Institute


Waed Bouhassoun (c) Herve Pouyfourcat


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