ON stage at the Aga khan museum


This fall and winter, experience mesmerizing musical “conversations” as the best of local and international talent collaborate across genres, cultures, nationalities, and media.


Linked thematically to the Aga Khan Museum’s exhibition HERE: Locating Contemporary Canadian Artists, our Conversation Nation series offers a chance to enjoy socially relevant performances by contemporary Canadian musical artists.

Fleur Persane by Perséides

with Amir Amiri and Jean Félix Mailloux

Saturday, November 4, 8 pm

$40, $36 Friends

Includes same-day Museum admission

The santur and double bass come together in an enchanting musical exchange.

Amirali Alibhai, Head of Performing Arts at the Aga Khan Museum explains how instruments converse across cultures:

“Amir Amiri is one of those artists who has been actively engaged in collaborations with artists outside his genres of training, which is classical Persian music on the santur. This conversation between him and Jean Félix Mailloux is interesting on a couple of levels. First, it’s a coming together of different cultural perspectives, one Quebecois, the other originally from Persia and, more recently, from all over Canada. But it’s also a reunion of two stringed instruments, one decidedly older than the other – the santur predates the bass – yet they find a way to speak to one another that highlights the uniqueness of each instrument but also shows their deep musical connections.”


by The Canadian Arabic Orchestra

Thursday, November 9, 7 pm

$30, $27 Friends

During this spectacular world premiere, Laura Grizzlypaws performs Indigenous song and dance alongside the musicians, singers, and whirling dervishes of the Orchestra.

Amirali Alibhai, Head of Performing Arts at the Aga Khan Museum on the evolution of a Canadian orchestra:

“Over the past several years, this group has emerged as a really significant musical perspective. They draw on a repertoire of Arabic folk and traditional music, but as they’ve added members and evolved, they’ve started to include artists who are not necessarily Arab in their background and are really taking ownership of the ‘Canadian’ in their name. Working with an Indigenous artist furthers their commitment to Canadian values, and I think this is going to be a landmark performance for the Orchestra, and for the community that has supported them.”

Photo by Jonathan Cruz


with Gordon Grdina

Saturday, November 18, 8 pm

$40, $36 Friends

Includes same-day Museum admission

Taking their name from the Arabic word for “forbidden,” the Vancouver-based ensemble's jazz-infused music is rooted in Iraqi folk and mid-century Egyptian pop with rock and improvisation taking things to a new level.

Amirali Alibhai, Head of Performing Arts at the Aga Khan Museum on how to mix tradition and innovation:

“This band is challenging, through their name, the perception that music can be forbidden, because it’s an ubiquitous phenomenon amongst humans and in fact many Muslim cultures have rich and long traditions of music. The first time I saw Haram perform, they were paying homage to George Sawa, the great ethnomusicologist, teacher, and performer of Arabic music. They’re a large ensemble, a high-energy group that’s very exciting to see live.”

All Rivers at Once

by The Israeli-Iranian Musical Initiative

Saturday, November 25, 8 pm

$40, $36 Friends

Includes same-day Museum admission

Jazz-like arrangements of traditional Israeli and Iranian folk songs. Pianist and composer Noam Lemish leads the group featuring tombak player Pedram Khavarzamini, kamancheh player Saeed Kamjoo, and Amos Hoffman on oud, alongside a band featuring some of Toronto’s most sought-after musicians.

Amirali Alibhai, Head of Performing Arts at the Aga Khan Museum on discovering that a Conversation Nation is already flourishing:

“The idea of music bringing together two ostensibly completely disparate cultures is very compelling, and when we were creating our Conversation Nation series, it resonated with what we are trying to achieve as a Museum. What was especially important to us was that we didn’t say, ‘We’d like to put together an Israeli-Iranian program;’ we discovered something – this collaboration – that was already happening. Our role, and it’s a key one, is to shine a light on initiatives coming out of the musical community. The Conversation Nation series is testing and proving the idea of cross-cultural musical dialogue by finding examples of it in the real world.”


by Turkwaz

Saturday, December 2, 8 pm

$40, $36 Friends

Includes same-day Museum admission

The JUNO-nominated quartet roam, and build on, the Arabic, Balkan, Macedonian, Turkish, and Albanian folk musical landscape, alongside special guest musicians for a unique coming-together. The evening begins with The Balkan Experiment, a new vocal collective that debuted as part of the Aga Khan Museum’s Nuit Blanche celebrations.

Amirali Alibhai, Head of Performing Arts at the Aga Khan Museum on a contemporary vocal blend with a centuries-old legacy:

“This group of four women have a long history of working together. They explore the music of North Africa, Syria, the Balkans, Greece, and find the commonalities. And there are many commonalities: melodies that transcend places; lyrics that transcend geographies. The group’s name, Turkwaz, means ‘turquoise,’ but it also refers to Turkey, and under the Turkish Ottoman Empire, all the cultures the group is drawing from were brought into relationship with one another through trade. The knowledge exchange that’s taken place over the centuries between those cultures is manifested in Turkwaz’s lovely, almost ethereal blend of human voices. I think this is going to be a magical evening.”


Since 2016, our World Music Series has been connecting cultures and inspiring conversations. This season, the series continues under the new banner of Global Conversations with the rhythms and sounds of Syria, Mali, Afghanistan, India, Iran, Turkey, and Canada.

Sarzamin-e Man (My Homeland)

with Dawood Sarkhosh Ensemble

Friday, December 22, 8 pm

Starting at $60

Afghan superstar Dawood Sarkhosh makes his North American premiere at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga. This special program presents a series of songs that seek to unite communities and provide refuge from conflict.

Amirali Alibhai, Head of Performing Arts at the Aga Khan Museum on a performer who personifies Global Conversations:

“Dawood Sarkhosh belongs to the Hazara community of Afghanistan, but what he manages to do with his music is reach both the Hazara and the Pashtun – he has fans in both communities. His mission is to bridge the divide between them through music, and to bridge a musical divide by bringing folk and traditional music into the popular realm. In fact, Dawood Sarkhosh has had a hand in preserving some of the old songs during a very difficult time for Afghanistan, when much of its cultural heritage has been under threat. So it’s very apt to be closing our 2017 season of Global Conversations with this concert.”

Dawood Sarkhosh himself on the background and meaning of My Homeland:

Sarzamine-e-Man is the juxtaposition of the inspirational with melancholic whispers. This is put into a heavy atmosphere of tragic exile, and sent down the alleyways of nostalgia. The listener is led by the melody to lyrics expressing the destitution and devastating hardship arisen from the distant past. In Sarzamine-e-Man, the ‘poet’ and ‘composer,’ the ‘singer,’ and the strings of the dambora and the robab all chant together and in one voice describe the breaking of flower stems, the unfaithfulness of existence, and a tale of separation.”

This event takes place at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga. For tickets, visit livingartscentre.ca.

For tickets and more information,

please visit

or call 416.646.4677

77 Wynford Drive, Toronto

Created By
Aga Khan Museum 2017



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