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Two solo musicians with unconventional approaches to traditional music making will perform at Colby College this month in separate concerts as part of the Music at Colby series.

‘Cellist Matt Haimovitz will be featured at The Strider Concert on Saturday, September 16. On Saturday, September 23, Iraqi musician Rahim AlHaj will perform on the oud, one of the world’s oldest stringed instruments. Both concerts are at 7:30 p.m. in the Lorimer Chapel and are free and open to the public.

These concerts, said Steven Nuss, associate professor and chair of Colby’s music department, will bring new sounds to Waterville. “Everyone knows what a ‘cello is, more or less, but Haimovitz does not do your average conventional ‘cello concert. And very few know what an oud is,” which he described as “an Arabian lute with a rare and delicate palette of sound possibilities.”

Haimovitz is nationally known for his innovation. The New York Times recently called him “a cellist known for pushing the classical envelope with forays into different kinds of spaces (like CBGB) and different kinds of music (like jazz).” Haimovitz played Carnegie Hall at age 13 and more recently has worked to attract younger audiences to his music. “He plays everything from Jimi Hendrix to Bach,” said Nuss.

AlHaj uses the Iraqi oud to tell stories—especially the stories of his home country. “My music has been formed by living in exile for over 13 years,” he told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “I collected stories from Iraq because I feel like they have no voice, especially the children, and to let people know about their situation and their struggle and life.” AlHaj was imprisoned and tortured under Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Both musicians will perform their own compositions and works from their instrument’s standard repertory. The exact content of their concerts is open to some programming inspiration. Both performers have expressed their desire to conduct their concerts in an interactive way and will be announcing the works as they go. These concerts are rare opportunities to hear two amazing performers.