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Son of the Sheik:
«Sparkling finale: "Orient meets Occident" combines
a silent movie, dance and music in a strong total experience. If you missed this, you missed
something superb: The final performance of
"Orient meets Occident" … enchanted the audience. The Europasaal is sold out, the atmosphere is
terrific … And how they play! The chamber orchestra unleashes a sumptuous abundance of colors … »
Frank Piontek, Nordbayerischer Kurier (Germany), 28.08.2014

acred Bridges

«For decades, the Bavarian Bulgarian Vladimir Ivanoff, with his Ensemble Sarband, has been amongst the leading mediators between Oriental and Western Classical music.» Jens Voskamp, NN, 05.08.14

 

 

 





 

Top 3

«Wresting Bach's Music From Its Western Moorings.
You could hardly have hoped for a finale better suited
to the theme than «Passio-Compassio», the Ensemble
Sarband concert that closed the festival on Saturday
evening at Alice Tully Hall. The Sarband approch is
elegant, though not timid in its wresting of  Bach's
music from  its Western moorings, but Vladimir Ivanoff,
the group's director and arranger, has an unfailing
instinct for finding musical ground where his
transformations seem natural.» Allan Kozinn,
The New York Times (USA), 21.11.2011

Our Father Abraham: «… For many years now,
Sarband have been building breathtaking bridges
between cultures and religions …. Their performances
count among the most exciting and beautiful concerts
in the entire, extensive Early Music scene …
The texts were not only projected via video, but also illustrated with graphic art.Thus ears, eyes, hearts and
minds of the enthralled audience were equally touched
and enchanted.» Franz Szabo, Kritisches Journal
der Alten Musik (Austria), 6-2012

«Passio-Compassio, to be exact: Passio transformed
into Compassio: Emotion translated and transcended
into the language of art or religion.Sentiments that are
being conveyed into a new form. It is part of the
artistry of musical director Vladimir Ivanoff to leave it
up to the audience to choose whether they want to
read the events on stage in a religious or an artistic
way. One is grateful for this. Genuine art subsists
on the freedom of its interpreters.» Kersten Knipp,
NDR Kultur (Germany), 18.09.2010

Performance

 

The Perfect Light: «Ensemble Sarband connects
Christian with Muslim music
- 90 worthwhile minutes
- Saturday night in the abbey, Sarband did its
name proud. "Sarband" means connection.
The artists not only succeeded in combining
Christian and Muslim Music in a seamless way,
but also connected with the audience.
The applause, lasting for minutes, was the reward
for the group, which took the audience on a
journey of more than 1 ½ hours …
A transcultural dialogue, full of respect,
with music, not words.
The group captivated the listeners from the
first minute on …»
Sven Holler, Die Rheinpfalz, 30.09.2014

Red Apple - Black Earth
«Sarband revealed the profound sensuality of these
love songs, dances and harvest chants …
accompanied by sonorous and high spirited arrangements and spectacular improvisations -
especially the bard Kemal Dinç showed entrancing
encounters between Oriental scales and
Western harmony.»
MW, Kronenzeitung (Austria), 22.04.2014

acred Bridges

 



Voice of the Blood: «Ensemble Sarband makes a strong impression. That all features of a concert are perfect, that just everything is perfect, is a rare experience.
Such a great moment was actually granted to the
listeners of the program "Voice of the Blood" …
The harmonious and thrilling repertoire selection,
the musicological expertise of the artists, coupled
with contagious natural musicianship,
the stylistically confident and charming
performance that never betrayed the deeply
religious significance of the works, the very high musical level, united with interpretative ardor,
allowed the audience a spellbound immersion into
geographically and chronologically alien worlds
and created an uplifting experience.
For a long time, Sarband, under the direction of
Vladimir Ivanoff, belongs to the top early music
ensembles, however takes a special position,
apart from customary comparableness … »
wit, Wiesbadener Kurier (Germany), 16.08.2013

Jaca

Arabian Passion:
«Those who heard and saw the Arabian Passion
according to J. S. Bach on Saturday evening in the
imperial palace, shining in changing light,
could not avoid the impression of listening to some
kind of «music of the future». Music of a kind
never heard before,music that leaves traces …
These moments of surprise are not only witty,
but also performed in such a powerful way
they deserve a review of their own. The Arabian
Passion was at first a feast for the senses, with
images,  colours and incredibly powerful sounds.»
Ulla Meyer, Neue Westfälische (Germany), 04.10.2011

Vox Feminae / Voice of the Blood:
«Ensemble Sarband plays and sings the stars out
of the sky.» Danielle de Regt, De Standaard
(Belgium), 11.02.2008

Message



The Perfect Light: «Church song as a liaison
between religions
- Ensemble Sarband captivated the audience
with Christian and Muslim chants
- the German-Oriental performance by Sarband,
directed by Dr. Vladimir Ivanoff, was a special treat
in the program of the festival. The audience listened
entranced, and allowed the ensemble only to
leave home after two encores.
A magical atmosphere emerged in the soft light
of the abbey, which certainly also would have
pleased Robin Hood, Emperor Barbarossa or
Emir Saladin. The whirling dervish in the
background, turning in trance, was the icing
on the cake. A striking performance …»
Martin Köhler, Rhein-Zeitung, 01.10.2014

West Eastern Divan:
«Praise of drunkenness - Enchanting homage to
Hafiz and Rumi - An exhilarating, downright
intoxicating experience at sunset, under the
open sky, with no hangover the morning after»
Reinhald Kalb, HFN (Germany), 06.08.14

«Intoxicating poetry and timeless music created
an exhilarating sound space, enriched by the
twittering of birds, swooshing of leaves
and some raindrops. The composition of traditional
Franconian atmosphere, Turkish and Persian tradition
and German romanticism enchanted the audience.»
Jens Voskamp, NN (Germany), 05.08.14

 

 

 

 




Sacred Bridges: «Sarband's music speaks for itself -
their message of intercultural understanding does not need any explanations.» Frank Heindl,
DAZ (Germany), 11.11.2009

acred Bridges

The Perfect Light:
«Building bridges is easier said than done - on the
concert stage it worked out perfectly! 
A perfectly
performed choreography, a stringently woven golden
thread: recitations and music telling the births
of Jesus and Mohammed are interwoven
without gaps into a diversified and entertaining
program.»
Marion Aigl, Wiener Zeitung, 23.12.2009

Dream of the Orient:
«An immense ode to peace.» Alain Maestracci,
Nice Matin (France), 10.08.2003

ream of the Orient

Selection

Passio-Compassio:
«Between Orient & Occident -
Concert by Sarband at the Beethovenfest Bonn -
Orient met Occident, Christion Baroque music
encountered Turkish and Syrian-Orthodox chants,
performed by Sarband, directed by Vladimir Ivanoff
… A remarkable experiment … The key to the
successful blend was the alienation effect.
And the voices of the flexible, excellent Fadia El-Hage and Dogan Dikmen, who supported the alliance.
The result levitated between the different traditions, shaped a bridge between Orient and Occident, summarily dissolved the boundaries between the religions and aesthetics. Beautiful the haunting "Aljawm", with an elegant solo violin and a strong
vocal performance. The much-needed bridging
worked well. Comprehension and awareness were
created by music. Quite a few could learn from this
example.»
Thomas Kölsch, Rheinzeitung (Germany), 16.09.2014

From Russia with Love:
«No cough, no noise - attentively, the audience
listened to the sounds of strings, piano and voice …
Appropriate for American Independence Day,
"Sarband and Friends" explored the relationship of
Russia and Europe with the USA. It was a colorful
soundscape of the 20th century. Vladimir Ivanoff,
musical director of Sarband, guided his listeners
through a voyage from Dmitri Shostakovich and
Igor Stravinsky to Kurt Weill, Elvis Presley and
songs from James Bond movies. Whether and how
much Shostakovich was connected with Stalinist
leadership and how he expressed this in his music -
the stories behind the music were thrilling,
informative and witty. » Susanne Träupmann,
General-Anzeiger Bonn (Germany), 05.07.2013

Sacred Bridges:
«With his Ensemble Sarband, Vladimir Ivanoff 
has deeply immersed himself into the culture of Orient
and Occident, bringing to light the most amazing connections.» Babette Kaiserkern,
Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten
(Germany), 26.11.2012

Music for Emperors & Sultans: «Across all differences in form and sound, parallels and kinships could be
discovered. Turkey was not an exporting country in a
musical sense, but, in turn, absorbed Western
currentsy» Karsten Blüthgen, Sächsische Zeitung
(Germany), 30.01.2012

Sefarad: «With their programs, Sarband often open up
whole new musical levels to the listener, levels which
had hitherto been unrecognizably wrapped in the
veils of folklore … a flamboyant tone painting,
whose intense hues were a blend of Spanish lyricism
and the Romance Ladino language. The enchanting
intonation served the texts which told of love and
jealousy, of fame and longing.»  Jan-Gert Wolff,
Main-Spitze (Germany), 11.08.2011

Sefarad

Sacred Bridges: «Politically explosive even today.
This moving, aesthetically and philosophically unique
performance proved all the more relevant.
Virtuoso ritual singer Mustafa Dogan Dikmen passed
over an exotic bridge of sound accompanied by
Byzantine instruments. After this seamless exchange
of Oriental mono- and Occidental polyphony,
Bach's hymn «Wenn ich einmal soll scheiden»
had the final say.» Die Welt (Germany), 01.08.2011

«The 13-part concert programme «Tonfolgen» was
simply breathtaking. It abducted the audience also
into the aeroplane hangar at Hangelar and onto an
«Oriental journey», as the performance was titled.
The engine shed at Gummersbach was used as a
«Destination of longing». In five places between
Windeck, Bonn and Bergisch Gladbach, Ensemble
Sarband embarked on a «Journey of the soul» …
It was a splendid experience made possible by the
members of  Sarband within such a short period of
time in unusual performance venues.» Gisela Schwarz,
Rhein-Berg Online (Germany) , 13.07.2011

Tonfolgen 2011

«Moving Arabian Passion. Impressive performance
at the end of this year's Bach Festival at Arnstadt …
It was an incredibly exciting, intense listening
experience. Parts form the St. Matthew's Passion,
rendered instrumentally and vocally, were arranged
to become a new, valuable whole …
Spare images from the Arab world currently in turmoil,
projected to a large screen, naturally underlined
the plea «and tear me outof my fears, by way of your
fear and torture!». And the well-worn notion of
authenticity suddenly stood in a whole new context …
The «Arabian Passion» was a deeply moving and
therefore invigorating Bach experience.»
Ursula Mielke, Thüringer Allgemeine
(Germany) , 29.03.2011

The Arabian Passion:
«The bold construction proved sustainable … »
Marc Hoppler, Der Landbote
(Switzerland),  01.02.2011

Passio-Compassio:
«Bach, musical spearhead of Christianity,
in sounding symbiosis with Arabic and Turkish reed flutes, fiddles and psalteries, mingled with exotic
rhythms, oriental-style coloured singing and whirling
dervishes. If this circle can be squared, many
misunderstandings in the Christian-Muslim relations
could be cleared up.Vladimir Ivanoff, musical spiritus
rector of this enterprise, consciously does not touch upon the core points of religious difference, but
rather concentrates on the centre of the Passion,
in which Jesus, feeling forsaken by God, presents
himself as a mere human being stripped of his divine
mantle. To this end, Ivanoff contrasted the Bachian
contributions with chants from the Byzantine, Syriac
and Arabic Christmas and Passion liturgies, which are
able, intheir profound religiosity, spiritual power and
great humanity, to build bridges between cultures.
Also the dance ritual of the five dervishes shows the
Orient from a mystical perspective that points to the
religions' common roots. The colourful cast allowed
exciting arrangements of well-known hymns such as
«Wenn ich einmal soll scheiden».
While Fadia el-Hage turnsthe hauntingly plain
melody into live wire with powerful emotion, oriental
embellishment and sliding intonation, the polished,
crystal-clear a-cappella rendition by the young choir
from Cologne represents Western vocal art in pure
beauty. In their gripping effect both performances
meet without whitewashing the differencesbetween
their glorious traditions. At the end of the day, this
is not about whitewashing of cultural identities, but
about respect for the greatness of two cultures,
which – at least in music – are closerto each other in
their human content than everyday headlines let us
believe. Seen from this angle, «Passio - Compassio»
surely belongs to the thematically most interesting
contributions to the current Triennale. Enthusiastic
applause for all participants.» Pedro Obiera,
Giessener Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany) , 22.09.2010

Ruhrtriennale 2010

Passio–Compassio: « brought cultures in touch
with each other in the Bochum industry cathedral.
Bach plays music to the dervishes' dance:
Passio-Compassio» at the Ruhrtriennal. …
The approaches to merging Orient and Occident
presented here were certainly original and creative.
…. All this brought to light interfaces as well as
pointsof friction between two highly complex 
systems of  thought and music ... Passio-Compassio
supplieda textual superstructure: Biblical passages
united with source quotations from the early Islamic
and Christian world. And as a climax an intense,
aural as well as visual trance arose. Seven Sufi
dervishes from the Golden Horn, clad in flowing
white garments, found their way into their circling,
meditative movements.In this moment, the word
"trance" did justice to its proper meaning: trans-ire:
transition into a higher stage of rapture.»
Stefan Pieper, nmz (Germany), 19.09.2010

«Although it sounds like a daring venture to mix
Bach's compositions with the spontaneity of Arabic
music, Jazz and borrowings from Sufi mysticism:
«Passio-Compassio» will be remembered as
one of the most felicitous and unified programmes
of the Ruhrtriennale. The connection between
the world religions Christianity and Islam, the issues
of sorrow and empathy, love and passion – this
programme got right to the heart of it with irresistible
wisdom and rare harmony ... German, Turkish, Arabic
and Aramaic texts floated above the music in
harmonious exchange. The hypnotically whirling
dance of the dervishes and words of the great Sufi
mystic Rumi, projected to the large screen, made clear
on a different level than that of the rational mind what
this means: a love divine.» Max Florian Kühlem,
Ruhrnachrichten (Germany), 19.9.2010

The Arabian Passion: «A stirring oratorio for inter-
religious coexistence ... a uniqueprogramme ...
Vladimir Ivanoff
, percussionist and musical director o
f Sarband, set up the programme wisely, avoiding the
major mistake that could have been made:
the pastiche. The result, subtlybalanced, convinces
and captivates..» Javier Losilla,
El Periodico de Aragon (Spain), 09.08.2010

In the Realm of the Golden Apple:
«… one of the most interesting programs at the
styriarte festival: humorous, entertaining, with
exciting content.» M. Gasser,
Kronenzeitung (Austria), 18.07.2010

Mohammed's Birth & Dream Voyage to Heaven: 
«Ensemble Sarband prove that 15th-century Sufi
music can be exciting and relevant to Western
listeners. Every performance of Sarband is an
experience … Before Jordi Savall became famous with
it, Ivanoff was already committed to the vision 
that
the separation between Orient and Occident did not
make sense in Early Music … 

What makes Sarband
so unique is Ivanoff's persistent effort to make
Oriental music accessible to Western listeners..» 

Stefan Grondelaers, De Standaard
(Belgium), 25.05.2010

Sacred Bridges: «Astonishing how well the different
elements matched each other. In many instances the
passage from one religion to another wasn't perceptible
at all.» Andreas Schröter, Ruhrnachrichten
(Germany), 12.05.2010

Hortus conclusus / The Enclosed Gardens of Paradise: 
«On the eroticism of faith. Vladimir Ivanoff and his
Ensemble Sarband enchanted with treasures of the
medieval Orient and Occidentat the Graz Easter
festival. 
Vladimir Ivanoff is a sophisticated
cartographerof the exceptional. Delightful array of
voices … 
The projected texts, displayed onto images
of Gregorian notation, miniatures from the Bible or
Oriental carpets,
were a work of art in their own right.
In a nutshell: seamless enjoyment.»
Michael Tschida,
Kleine Zeitung (Austria), 31.03.2010

The Perfect Light:
«Building bridges is easier said than done - on the
concert stage it worked out perfectly! 
A perfectly
performed choreography, a stringently woven golden
thread: recitations and music telling the births
of Jesus and Mohammed are interwoven
without gaps into a diversified and entertaining
program.»
Marion Aigl, Wiener Zeitung, 23.12.2009

Ruhrtriennale 2010

The Arabian Passion: 
«Bach's Passions, arab music,
jazz elements and images of suffering in the Middle
East are joined 
to a monumental work of art…
All of a sudden, the listener is taken from his passive
role and transported 
into the tale of the suffering of
Jesus Christ and of many people in the Middle East.
After intense waves of enthusiasm, not only the
audience, 
but also the artists leave the Stadtkirche
in a state of deep emotion.»Der Neue Tag
(Germany), 31.08.2009

The Waltz:
«Sarband in the most delightful musical contention
with Ensemble Resonanz … 
On a second stage to
the side, two whirling dervishes created an
impressive contrast 
to the virtuoso artistry of
Catolina Aguero and Yaroslav Ivanenko's
couple dancing.
 An entertaining and witty opening
of the two very different cultures to each other … » 
Jürgen Gahre, Bonner Generalanzeiger
(Germany), 01.08.2009

The Arabian Passion: «… a sublime act of balance
between Ethno, sound adventure and art music …
powerfully absorbing and suggestive scenes …
emotional climaxes that make the listener hold his
breath.» 
Jürgen Scharf, Oberbadisches Volksblatt
(Germany), 10.07.2009

Fountain of Youth:
«Refreshing »Fountain of Youth«at the Styriarte. …
medieval fantasies of love and violence:
overwhelming the Ensemble Sarband
around mastermind Vladimir Ivanoff.»

Reinhold Reiterer, Kleine Zeitung
(Austria), Graz, 13.07.2008

Sacred Bridges: «Apart from its equally exciting and
symbolically strong concept, the performance was
also musically convincing … 
A concert a long way
fromany crossover randomness.» Stä,
Hamburger Abendblatt (Germany), 28.01.2008

Sheherazade: A Great Love:

«Enchantingly sweet bridgings …
Dilek Geçer''s many shaded, lyrically sweet soprano 

was the connecting element … indeed amazing as a
stylistic balancing act … 
Director Vladimir Ivanoff
preserved this evening's narcotic sweetness.» 

Matthias Wagner, Kronenzeitung,
Graz (Austria), 15.07.2007

Sefarad:
«… This symbiosis made an exceptional
master concert a successfully integrated work of art
with a highly instructive background.»
B. Hoeltzenbein, Neue Westfälische
(Germany), 03.11.2006

The Waltz: «You can literally see the envoys'
stagecoaches rattle back and forth between Vienna
and Istanbul, 
so skillfully interlaced are the
compositions from both cultures … 
These different
characters are excellently underlined by the two
ensembles.» 
Anja-Rosa Thöming, FAZ
(Germany), 03.12.2005

Sacred Bridges:
 «… Ivanoff effortlessly connected
on the concert stage what is utopian on the global
stage: 
that nothing stands between Christians and
Jews and Muslims. Except for «and».» 

Michael Tschida,Kronen Zeitung
(Austria), 04.06.2006

The Waltz:
«Concerto Köln and Sarband built a
bridge on the stage of the Festspielhaus in Bregenz,
a strong bridge 
between Orient & Occident.»
Vorarlberg Online (Austria), 18.05.2006

The Arabian Passion:
«It is Vladimir Ivanoff's
strong point, to join cultures and to build musical
bridges between Orient and Occident. 
With the
«Arabian Passion» … he succeeded in a brilliant
way. Heart, mind, gesture and communication with
the other artists were merged into an intensive whole.
…  I could not have imagined more beautiful music
for Good Friday.» 
Franz Szabo, Salzburger
Nachrichten (Austria), 4/2006

Sacred Bridges:
«… this was more than an ordinary
concert, this was a ritual celebration of bridge-
building 
that joined people and religions …
fascinating unityof voices, instruments and physical
expression … 
completely rounded, amazing and full
of hope how people can come together, independent
of their origin, religious tradition 
or even detachment
from religion … The Psalms of David are a quite stable
roof for understanding.» 
Reinhold Lindner,
Freie Presse (Germany), 19.07.2005


Sacred Bridges:
«Exciting bridge-building
with musical depth … perfectly natural merging
of two sound worlds …» 
Susanne Dietz,
Maintal Tagesanzeiger (Germany), 18.07.2005

Sefarad:
«... a magic evening -
extraordinarily fascinating works, full of colours
and warmth …» 
Renato della Torre,
Messagero Veneto (Italy), 17.07.2004

Satie en Orient / Danse Gothique:

«… The choice of repertoire, the congenial
orchestration and the empathetic, imaginative
musical performance turned this evening not only
into an exceptional experience,
but also into balm
for the soul. The audience felt greatly enriched.»
Klaus Winterberg, Kölner Stadtanzeiger
(Germany), 20.02.2003

Son of the Sheik:
«There, at the borders of Europe,
where our eurocentric sciences and arts stop,
Vladimir Ivanoff just takes off … » Thomas Muttray-
Kraus, Oberbayerisches Volksblatt, 03.02.2001

Satie en Orient / Danse Gothique: «Ivanoff crosses
borders and thus finds a new music which transfers
our dreams about the Orient into a soundscape.»
Franzpeter Messmer, Fono Forum 11/2000


Sefarad:
« ... a particularly delicious program, as
much for the refinement and accomplishment of the
ensemble's players as for the experience of hearing
music that is unquestionably «other», yet somehow
familiar. 
There's much to take away from such a
concert.» Michael Mann, Montréal
(Canada), 22.02.2000

 

«Ensemble Sarband makes a strong impression. That all features of a concert are perfect, that just everything is perfect, is a rare experience. Such a great moment was actually granted to the listeners of the program "Voice of the Blood" … The harmonious and thrilling repertoire selection, the musicological expertise of the artists, coupled with contagious natural musicianship, the stylistically confident and charming performance that never betrayed the deeply religious significance of the works, the very high musical level, united with interpretative ardor, allowed the audience a spellbound immersion into geographically and chronologically alien worlds and created an uplifting experience. For a long time, Sarband, under the direction of Vladimir Ivanoff, belongs to the top early music ensembles, however takes a special position, apart from customary comparableness … While Miriam Andersén with her diamond-clear soprano soars up to ethereal heights, Fadia El-Hage delights with a stunning voice range, sultry and mellow, down to full-bodied male profundity, and made the unaccompanied Aramaic chants highlights of the concert. Vladimir Ivanoff supported the appreciation of the audience with instructive elucidations and accompanied most of the songs with frame drum and lute. The lute developed a wonderful interplay with the harp in the sefardic ballad "Una tarde de verano", that, with Fadia El-Hage's devoted performance, was the climax of the concert, apart from Miriam Andersén's masterful rendering of the apocalyptic vanitas chant "Audi pontus"» wit, Wiesbadener Kurier (Germany), 16.08.2013 «Sacred Bridges reach across boundaries:
Ensemble Sarband and Company of Music excited
the audience with their program «Sacred Bridges» …
An incredibly homogenous sound was created, which
made forget perceived differences and actually built
not only bridges, but tore down walls … 
an extraordinary enjoyment. Perfectly intoned,
intelligently phrased and performed with passionate
intensity.» Michael Wruss, Oberösterreichische Nachrichten (Austria) , 11.07.2012

Our Father Abraham: «With this program, Ensemble Sarband - highly praised regular at the Styriarte and Psalm Festival since many years - enthralled its audience in the List-Halle. Under the artistic direction
of Vladimir Ivanoff, the multicultural group performed with intense focus, depth and vitality … Thus,
Ensemble Sarband succeeded in creating what had
been announced in the playbill: art connecting peoples.» Eva Schulz, Kleine Zeitung
(Austria) , 01.07.2012

Our Father Abraham: «Brothers, ardor, ornaments.
A virtuoso authenic performance ensemble from four
mediterranean countries centered around German-
Bulgarian director Vladimir Ivanoff sketched a colorful
Muslim-Jewish double portrait of the forefather
Abraham. …incredibly sensitive and musical …» Matthias Wagner, Kronenzeitung
(Austria) , 01.07.2012

«Ensemble Sarband demonstrated impressively, how beautiful music from times gone by can be…
Under the title «Vox Feminae», the wonderful voices of Miriam Andersén and Fadia el-Hage sounded in the church … a concert, which many will remember for a long time, as the applause made very obvious.»
Dorit Schlemermeyer, Weser-Kurier
(Germany), 19.03.2012

Vox Feminae:
«Understanding unnecessary: goosebump-inducing voices suffice! Enthralled their audience: Sarband!
The two brilliant soloists Miriam Andersén and
Fadia el-Hage sing in Aramaic … as well as in their respective native languages. Their powerful and emotional renditions comprise songs from the early Christian Oriental repertoire, plainchant by Hildegard von Bingen and Birgitta of Sweden, spiritual songs
from rural Sweden and pieces from the 13th-century Codex Las Huelgas. Although hardly anybody in the audience understood the pieces' contents,
the excellent singers presented an enchanting,
even affecting concert … In the end, the applause was incessant… A very successful performance with great acoustics in the beautiful atmosphere of the church.» Pia Zarsteck, Kreiszeitung (Germany) , 19.03.2012

Music for Emperors & Sultans:
«Under the direction of Markus Poschner,
the orchestra [Dresden Philharmonic] performed with the multinational ensemble Sarband, in a way both
sensitive and stirring. ... a subtle dialogue, atmospherically evocative ... a delight for audience and musicians. The audience has rarely ever applauded so persistently and so cordially» Karsten Blüthgen, Sächsische Zeitung (Germany) , 30.01.2012

Sacred Bridges:
«Performing masterly on fiddle, kanun (psaltery), reed flute and frame drum, the group around Ivanoff supported vocal soloist Mustafa Doğan Dikmen, improvising emotionally absorbing meditative
as well as rhythmically lively interludes and accompanied the vigorous chorus with unfamiliar yet captivating creations. … Three gracefully rendered psalm motets … by Dutch composer Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck topped off this unusual concert which was celebrated by the audience with applause
lasting several minutes.» Landeszeitung
(Austria) , 31.07.2011

The Arabian Passion:
«… with their natural interplay they lent to
Bach's music an intensity that is unfortunately all too seldom heard. Already after a few minutes
the exoticism of the performance made way for a
feeling of musical sincerity …
And it was a feast for the senses
to listen to this conversation: Gilbert Yammine's
scintillant qanun soli took turns with the tantalising
singing of Fadia el-Hage, who enchanted the audience
with her velvety yet extremely expressive voice …»
Marc Hoppler, Der Landbote (Switzerland), 01.02.2011

A West-Eastern Divan:
«Alternating with the musical performance, actor Dominique Horwitz enthusiastically reads excerpts
from various poetical works – from Baudelaire to Heine and to pieces from Goethe's collection «West-Eastern Divan». This soiree is about wine and passion, intoxication and ecstasy – but essentially about God and faith. Vladimir Ivanoff is the musical director, equally captivating as a percussionist as well as responsible for the choice of poetry and music.
Mustafa Doğan Dikmen enchants the audience with
his ney and his vocal art. Celaleddin Biçer, ney and kanun, and Ahmet Kadri Rizeli with his bowed string instrument Kemençe provided unique sounds.
The music is supplemented with Dominique Horwitz' singular recitation, whose passion and masterful mimic art turn this poetry into an extraordinary experience.»
Noreen Hirschfeld, Göttinger Tageblatt
(Germany), 23.09.2010

Passio-Compassio: «This brought about astonishing musical encounters ... the famous hymn «Wenn ich einmal soll scheiden»: Modern String Quartet 
introduced it, swinging to the cello's bass line,
Cologne-based choir Vocanima, Sarband and soloists Fadia el-Hage and Mustafa Doğan Dikmen joined in celestial concord..» Max Florian Kühlem, Ruhrnachrichten (Germany), 19.9.2010

Passio-Compassio: «Sitting with his back to the audience, Vladimir Ivanoff acted as conductor, giving tone and time to the ensemble, beating the frame drum with spare precision. The frame drum proved to be the connecting, driving force... The approaches to merging Orient and Occident presented here were certainly original and creative. Baroque melodies were enriched with "alien" legato passages on the flute ney.
It appeared in a mysterious light owing to Arabic
string glissandos on the solo violin. Lines of baroque counterpoint flowed seamlessly into artful Arabic maqams. Emphatic, Arab-style solo singing by powerful-voiced Fadia el-Hage from Beirout and Mustafa Doğan Dikmen (Istanbul) encountered
ethereal drones of vocal ensemble Vocanima from Cologne, which mainly typified European Early Music. … And as a climax an intense, aural as well as visual trance arose. Seven Sufi dervishes from the Golden Horn, clad in flowing white garments, found their way into their circling, meditative movements. In this moment, the word «trance» did justice to its proper meaning: trans-ire: transition into a higher stage of rapture.» Stefan Pieper, nmz (Germany), 19.09.2010

Vienna 1683:
«Perfectly collective musical performance
distinguished both ensembles from Orient
and Occident ... Visible and audible delight of all
musicians in the experience of collective
performance ... captivated the enthusiastic audience
in the Helmut-List-Halle, until they were allowed
to contribute their frenetic applause as the din
of  a peaceful battle. What an outstanding concert!»
Franz Szabo, Fastmail.fm (Germany), 7-2010

The Perfect Light:
«If the Stadtkirche was sold out for the opening show, the concert of Ensemble Sarband brought it to the limits of its capacity. More was impossible. …
This kind of music has not been heard here before.
The show was already intriguing because of the authenticity of performers and performance. …
Two brilliant soloists stood in the centre: The Swede Miriam Andersén, an almost mythical appearance, tall, slender with white-blonde long hair and a crystal clear soprano voice with dark timbre … Congenially at her side the Turk Mustafa Doğan Dikmen, whose vigorous voice filled the nave effortlessly with a variety of peculiarly Oriental guttural sounds. Warm and haunting sounded the Quran suras about Mary and the birth of Jesus. ... At the end, the audience remained in almost reverent awe, which then erupted into persistent applause for the musicians.» Hans-Dieter Speck,
Mitteldeutsche Zeitung (Germany), 20.06.2010

Mohammed's Birth & Dream Voyage to Heaven: 

« … 
Two singers had the leading role:
brilliant Mustafa Doğan Dikmen and astonishing
Bekir Büyükbas … 
The musical chemistry was visible on stage. 
That the members of Sarband grunted their approval to particularly beautiful phrases of the singer was the best proof of this.» 
Stefan Grondelaers,
De Standaard (Belgium), 25.05.2010

Sacred Bridges: 
«Hearing their expressive voices that sound like far-away places, Orient and adventure,
makes you want to cheer inwardly.

This was a very strong performance.»
Christopher Dömges, suite101.de (Germany), 13.05.2010

Sacred Bridges:
«With only three instrumentalists and one singer, Vladimir Ivanoff creates a whole universe
of sound 
in his encounter with the RIAS chamber choir.» Martin Wilkening, Berliner Zeitung (Germany), 26.04.2010

Vox Feminae:
«… voices that transport us to other worlds …»
Martin Caroso, ABC (USA), 27.10.2009 

Llibre Vermell de Montserrat: 
« … Ensemble Sarband performed on a high musical level. The Osnabrück Youth Choir was equally at ease 
with every musical style. The audience in the sold-out church demanded two encores.» 
Monika Everlin,
Haller Tagblatt (Germany), 23.06.2009

Mohammed's Birth & Dream Voyage to Heaven: «Intimate sounds full of concentrated energy: Once again, Ensemble Sarband's contribution was 
an indispensable enrichment … Sounds spreading and fanning out in highly developed monophony 
deeply moved the audience.» Herbert Schranz, Kleine Zeitung (Austria), 10.04.2009

Mohammed's Dream Voyage: «It is impossible to imagine the Easter concert series in Graz without Ensemble Sarband … 
Turkish classical music and spiritual songs from the Middle East were recited brilliantly and in an authentic way.»Wolfgang Stern, drehpunktkultur (Austria), 09.04.2009

Shéhérazade in Paris:
«Closeness and distance
were the two poles of this enchanting evening … 

With her colorfully shaded soprano, Dilek Geçer
lent great intesity to Callisto Guatelli Pasha's song settings. 
In the second half, the audience was simply enthralled by this erotically charged singing.
Celaleddin Biçer on ney and kanun, Ahmed Kadri Rizeli (kemençe) and Uğur Işık (violoncello) 
created magical moments in their joint improvisations.»
fg, Main Post (Germany), 30.12.2008

Cultures of Tolerance:
«On instruments hardly known in the West, witnesses of a 800-year-old and incredibly rich musical tradition 
are performed with astonishing depth, nuance and meditative calm …

Lebanese mezzo-soprano Fadia el-Hage's wonderfully warm voice sings splendidly ornamented
improvisations … 
her colleague Doğan Dikmen praises Allah; and Miriam Andersen's clear soprano tells
about the fates of crusaders.» 
Frank Heindl, Augsburger Allgemeine (Germany), 14.11.2008

Sindbad the Sailor:
«… a chinese-iraqi-japanese
meeting on three levels … a fascinating «jam session», 
based on instrumental perfection… cheerful
interaction … 
A lot of humour also in the
choreography of the Japanese dancer
Kazutomi Kozuki.» 
M. Wagner,
Kronenzeitung, 23.07.08

Water Roses: «Sublime music in a highly focussed performance by Vladimir Ivanoff and his ensemble Sarband.»
Walter Titz, Kleine Zeitung, Graz, 12.07.2008

Dream of the Orient: 
«Concerto Köln and Sarband fascinated with Turkish treasures, and the dance
of the Dervishes completed an evening 
that came up
to expectations. An inspiring night of fusion … 

The performance profited mostly from the five members of Sarband. 
Masters on their percussion and string instruments, … they played the key role in the realization 
of the Dream of the Orient in Vladimir
Ivanoff
's programme concept and arrangements.»
César López Rosell, El Periódico (Spain), 12.03.2008

Vox Feminae / Voice of the Blood:

«Sensational live music: Fadia el-Hage's voice
emerging from the innermost, and the crystal clear
voice of Swedish singer Miriam  Andersén …» 

Silvia Nagl, OÖNachrichten (Austria), 10.03.2008

Happy Birthday Dionysos, Jesus, Mohammed:
«When Fadia el-Hage raised her voice,
it was like Easter and Christmas at once.» 

C. Hartner, Kronenzeitung (Austria), 22.03.2008

Passions:
«…dreamlike tranquillity of the late medieval songs … great musical achievement» 
Kronen Zeitung, Graz (Austria), 12.4.2006

Son of the Sheik:
 «… right under Valentino's
bedroom glancethey not only illustrated the
silent movie, but also presented a real masterwork
of music …» Uwe Mitsching,
Bayerische Staatszeitung (Germany), 3.2.2006

Sacred Bridges: «The force with which their vocalist, Mustafa Dogan Dikmen, presented Ufki's settings was nothing short of astounding.» Tweedy Flanagan, Happenings in the Humanities (USA),
Fall/Winter 2005-06

Llibre Vermell de Montserrat:
«… the great moment for the expressively deep voice of Fadia el-Hage … impressive forcefulness 
of the Passion chant …
trance-like impact and deep meditation.
Mystical and full of genuine feeling …»
Kurt Witterstätter, Die Rheinpfalz (Germany), 4.10.2005

Llibre Vermell de Montserrat: «Singer Fadia el-Hage made an impressive feature of the Arab influences
with her voluminous contralto voice
of almost male timbre, full of charisma and passion …  it was a journey through time, on which the audience let themselves
be taken along for a bit, gladly and with a personal benefit.» rup, Speyerer Morgenpost (Germany), 04.10.2005

Sacred Bridges: «Especially Mustafa Doğan Dikmen with his warm, powerful and intense voice caused frissons of pleasure.» 
Susanne Dietz,
Maintal Tagesanzeiger, 18.07.2005

«Vladimir Ivanoff's finely structured frame drum playing gives the whole it's perfection.» 
Frido Hütter,
Kleine Zeitung, Graz, 18.07.2005

The Waltz: «This is a fascinating recital, in which
Concerto Köln's period instruments join 
with the
Turkish ensemble Sarband and the haunting voice of
Mustafa Doğan Dikmen 
in pursuit of links between
the western waltz and Turkish music.»
Stephen Pettitt, Sunday Times (USA), 19.6.2005

Ecco la primavera:
«Singer and harp player Miriam Andersén's splendidly flowing voice was enchanting
as ever.» Sabine Fauland, Kronen Zeitung (Austria), 24.03.2005

Mevlud:
«Dogan Dikmen: a sage in every respect.» Clemens Anton Klug, Kleine Zeitung
(Austria), 21. 03. 2005

Satie en Orient: 
«Miriam Andersén - also on harp - almost supernaturally dominated the performance
with her mystically dark yet radiant voice that
pervaded the hall like ocean surf, exultant but tearing everything with it …A delicious and, above all,
relaxing evening!» Sabine Fauland, Kronen Zeitung (Austria), 22.06.2004

Satie en Orient / Danse Gothique:

«… Miriam Andersén's crystal clear soprano
perfected the gothic atmosphere.» 
Klaus Winterberg, Leverkusener Anzeiger, 20.02.2003

Sefarad:
«Fadia el-Hage, the excellent singer capable
of expressing an entire cosmos of emotions
and stories
made the stylistic peculiarities shine with focused internalisation and expression.»

Gerhard Böhm, Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten (Germany), 02.07.2002

Son of the Sheik: 
«Only the musicians of Sarband managed to inspire this period picture with the true orient.» 
Susanne Leuteritz,
Süddeutsche Zeitung (Germany), 07.06.2002

Vox Feminae: «The vocal performance … was perfect … The meeting of the Swedish and Lebanese singers
even enhanced 
the beauty of the vocal colours.
This admirable concert is achieved by merely
three artists.» 
Guillaume Orly, L'Alsace Le Pays (France), 23.09.2001

Satie en Orient / Danse Gothique: 
«Nothing compares to Ivanoff's art of playing the frame drum … » 
Franzpeter Messmer, Fono Forum 11/2000


Dream of the Orient: 
«Many fascinating aspects,
but most of all the immensely sensitive team-work
of the two ensembles.» 
Roland Spiegel,
Abendzeitung (Germany), 27.10.2000

Sefarad:

«There's much to take away from such a concert ...
Their performances were uniformly engaging, 

striking these unaccustomed ears as being of the
most exquisite, subtle inclination. 
Fadia el-Hage had
not only a beautiful and expressive voice, 
but was
masterful in both the variety and articulation of the
many ornaments
that decorate the songs.»
Michael Mann, Montréal (Canada), 22.02.2000



Lord of the Horizons, Collector of Musical Worlds
Alî Ufkî / Wojciech Bobowski
(Poland, ca. 1610 - 1675 Turkey)
:
«After the ensemble finished its appearance,
the room was silent with delight. The audience froze
in complete tranquility, only to exclaim ovations
after some time. A very good start of the festival.»
mmwroclaw.pl, 19.08.2013

The Perfect Light:
«Meditation and dance, or how to unite hope and joy
to truth. From the first song, the audience in the
Palacio de Congresos complied with the sincerity
of the proposal to celebrate the birth of both
prophets … Drama and meditation, respectful celebration, thanks to the musicians … solemnity
spread in the concert hall … Sounding light in the
clarity of their instruments …
Thus, the performance of Sarband was connected
to the listeners in every moment … old songs in
faithful interpretation, wonderful and
transcendental …
A beautiful and memorable concert.»
El Periódico (Spain), 12.08.2013

Sacred Bridges: «Ensemble Sarband, the Neue
Kammerchor Potsdam and soloists of the
Cammermusik Potsdam lighted a beacon of spiritual
unity in diversity. … Once more, music thus shows a way, how the insanity of the world may be peacefully and harmoniously overcome.» Babette Kaiserkern,
Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten
(Germany), 26.11.2012

Music for Emperors & Sultans:
«Across all differences in form and sound,
parallels and kinships could be discovered.
Turkey was not an exporting country in a
musical sense, but, in turn, absorbed Western currentsy» Karsten Blüthgen,
Sächsische Zeitung (Germany), 30.01.2012

Llibre Vermell de Montserrat:
«Osnabrück Youth Choir and Ensemble Sarband succeeded in creating an excellent work of art –
but it was not only empowered by the musicians' skills,
but by the spirit breathing in the music»
Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany), 05.09.2011

Odin's Daughter:
«With instruments such as Gothic harp, cow horn,
hand drum, the wind instrument Ney, the violin-like Kemenge and the Asian zither Kanun the artists
created a unique atmosphere, in which not only the diverse musical cultures intertwined harmoniously,
but, in the general context of the suspense-packed framework plot, a bridge of reconciliation was built.» Wolfram Graf, Nordbayerischer Kurier
(Germany), 25.08.2011

Odin's Daughter

The Arabian Passion: «The best is saved for last: …
It was like a musical message of peace that was sent
out into almost the whole world from the Egidienkirche via radio: The cultural differences between Central Europe and the Middle East, which cannot be denied, are no reason not to search for a common emotional
and ethical level. …A moving finale, enduring applause.» Jens Voskamp, Nürnberger Nachrichten
(Germany) , 31.05.2011

Sacred Bridges: «The audience followed the 80-minute performance (without break) intensely focussed and applauded frenetically.» HL-Live (Germany) , 31.07.2011

«Moving finale. The Arabian Passion built a magical bridge between Orient and Occident.» Klaus Ehring, Thüringer Allgemeine (Germany), 29.03.2011

A West-Eastern Divan: «A feast with atmosphere …
They performed stirring festive pieces from old
and new Orient … The «divan»– in the Orient
a gathering of political, philosophical and festive
nature – became a fest to join in for everybody.»
Delmenhorster Kreisblatt (Germany) , 24.9.2010

Diwan

«Passio-Compassio is a daring venture,
and it succeeded: Bach and Sufi mysticism. …
The connection between the world religions
Christianity and Islam, the issues of sorrow and
empathy, love and passion – this programme got right
to the heart of it with irresistible wisdom and rare harmony … The hypnotically whirling dance of the
dervishes and words of the great Sufi mystic Rumi, projected to the large screen, made clear on a different
level than that of the rational mind what this means:
a love divine.» Max Florian Kühlem, Ruhrnachrichten
(Germany), 19.9.2010

Passio Compassio

Dream of the Orient:
«It was a light-hearted and cozy evening … in fact, something like a fusion of both musical cultures really happened … There was even dancing: two dervishes were rotating in supreme elegance … A light-hearted evening, making many happy. Successful.»
Stefan M. Dettlinger, Mannheimer Morgen (Germany) , 22.07.2010

Cultures of  Tolerance: «Sarband unfurl a panorama
from Al-Andalus via Algeria to the Ottoman Empire.

A significant part of the cheers was directed at the vocal soloists. Exciting acoustic images are conjured,

in which the origins of European tradition appear.
The audience returned home, dazzlingly enriched with sensations, 
experiences and information. It is very beneficial if Europe is not the centre of the musical world for once.» 
Monika Lanzendörfer,
Schwetzinger Zeitung (Germany), 03.05.2010

Schwetzingen

Sacred Bridges: «Like a beautiful dream.
After this musical voyage through three cultures,
the end of the concert was like waking up 

from a beautiful dream.» Stephanie Knauer,
Augsburger Allgemeine (Germany), 04.11.2009 

Sheherazade: A Great Love:

«… an intoxicating evening … » Monika Köhler,
Stimme.de (Germany), 24.10.2009

Sheherazade

The Arabian Passion: «… this change happens astonishingly fast. How naturally this connection between the 
two supposedly alien cultures suceeds … Bach rose from his pew and seated himself on a prayer rug. 
Nevertheless the sense of the prayers
remained the same … The result is simply fascinating. 
A sounding plea for tolerance and peace.»
Elisabeth Schwind, Südkurier (Germany), 10.07.2008

The Arabian Passion:
«Bach belongs to the whole world.»
Kölner Stadtanzeiger, 07.04.2009

Mohammed's Dream Voyage: «Of first-rate musical quality, this evening emphasized at once the airiness
of vision 
and the grave importance of dreams.»
Christoph Hartner, Kronenzeitung (Austria), 10.04.2009

The Arabian Passion:

«The programme was permeatedby a huge sensitivity
for sound and a genuine understanding of musical
expressions 
of different continents and cultures.
The arias «Es ist vollbracht» and «Erbarme dich»
as well as familiar 
chorales were further highlights in
this out-of-the-ordinary evening, followed in
breathless silence 
and acknowledged with
appreciating applause by the audience.»
Hans Rühl, Rheinische Post (Germany), 23.12.08

Arabian Passion

Water Roses: «It was a performance heightened
into Magic … an authentic drama of cultic intensity.»
Matthias Wagner,
Kronenzeitung (Austria), 12.07.2008 



Vox Feminae / Voice of the Blood:

«Harmonic fusion as Utopia –it can be found in music
… this results in a tapestry of sound, 
in whose
texture the Oriental and Occidental strands have
become hardly discernible 
 – a wonderfully
melancholic ideal. …»Nicole Strecker,
Ballettanz (Germany), 4-08

Vox Feminae / Voice of the Blood:

«Like a miraculous balm applied to our wounds.»
Les Echos (France), 28.04.2008

Happy Birthday Dionysos, Jesus, Mohammed:
«With genuine enthusiasm, the audience thanked
for an unforgettable concert that brought different cultures 
much closer together than political hate campaigns could ever set them apart.» 

Franz Szabo, Kritisches Journal der Alten Musik (Austria), 22.03.2008

«As a gentle memento against collective madness, intercultural ensemble Sarband tries to build «Sacred Bridges» 
together with the six King's Singers …
a sounding jacobs ladder woven from christian,
jewish 
and muslim psalm settings …
How enchantingly oriental this may sound! one marvellingly became aware and widely opened one's classically limited hearing.» Lutz Lesle, Die Welt (Germany), 28.01.2008

Sacred Bridges: «The music dances in the ears! …
it sounded as if heaven and earth touched, …
an island of bliss, where cultures
walked hand in hand.» Wolfgang Nussbaumer,
Gmünder Tagespost (Germany) , 20.07.2007

Jerusalem Delivered: «An enchanting dialogue … Surreal melancholy, tender and captivating.»
MW, Kronenzeitung (Austria), 07.07.2007

Ruhrtriennale 2010

The Arabian Passion:

«Bach would have turned in his grave.
Then he'd have stepped out, dusted himself
and paid attention … 
The songs were most haunting when vocalist Fadia el-Hage reverted to Arabic.

At those times, perhaps, Bach also wept.»
The Business Times (Singapore), 14.06.2007

Arabian Passion

Sacred Bridges:
«But yes! The solution of the Middel East conflict
lies in the hands of music. Tell it to the politicians!
The proof was given yesterday evening at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia.» Mya Tannenbaum, Corriere della Sera (Italy), 03.04.2007

Sacred Bridges:

«A treat for the soul and the intellect …
To write about the performance cannot do justice
to the spell it cast. 
Sacred Bridges aptly fulfilled the vision of a spiritual world without borders.»

Elizabeth & Joe Kahn,
Classical Voice of North Carolina (USA), 25.10.2005

Vox Feminae:
«This is what I call mysticism.»
Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden), 28.07.2005

Sacred Bridges:

« … touching the bounds of ecstasy …
The merging of the two sound spheres resulted
in a caleidoscope, 
of whose components you would want to miss none.» 
Elisabeth Risch, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany), 18.07.2005

Sacred Bridges

Dream of the Orient:
«When Sufi Dervishes whirl
under the cross in the cupola of St. Irene in Istanbul, 
accompanied by a Cologne classical orchestra,
Sarband have again succeeded in building cultural bridges between cultures …» Susanne Güsten, Qantara.de (Germany), 23.06.2005

Cantico:
«Received divine energy … Doubtlessly,
more than a dance was performed here - a ritual,
a prayer took place 
… insights into Sufi mysticism … the energy of tranquillity»
MWo, Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger (Germany), 27.12.2003

Dream of the Orient:

«… a remarkable co-operation.» Michael Tegethoff, WZ (Germany), 10.06.2003

Dream of the Orient:
«A Rainbow of timbres and traditions.»
New York Times (USA), 21.08.2002

Dream of the Orient: 
«... gratifyingly productive
two-way relationship between the groups» 

Shirley Apthorp, Andante.com (USA), 07.05.2002

Sefarad:
«Music that explores emotion.»
Geoff Chapman, Toronto Star (Canada), 02.03.2000