THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Aboard Air Force One) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release June 7, 2000
PRESIDENT CLINTON NAMES SIMON SHAHEEN TO THE PRESIDENT'S ADVISORY
COMMITTEE ON THE ARTS OF THE JOHN F. KENNEDY CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS The President announced today his intention to appoint Simon
Shaheen to the President's Advisory Committee on the Arts of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Mr. Simon Shaheen, of New York City, New York, is a versatile musical performer, composer and educator. As a small boy he began studying with his father and at age seven he entered the Rubin Conservatory in Haifa to study violin. Later he graduated from the Academy of Music in Jerusalem and completed his graduate studies at the Manhattan School of Music and Columbia University.
Mr. Shaheen has performed as a soloist and with the Near Eastern Music Ensemble, which he formed in 1982. In 1995, he formed Al-Qantara Fusion Ensemble, which includes leading world music performers. As a composer, his work spans traditional and innovative Arabic music, post jazz fusion and scorers for theater and films. In 1998, Mr. Shaheen composed a music score for the one-hour documentary film, For Everyone Everywhere, a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.
Mr. Shaheen's performing career is complemented with workshops and lecture-demonstrations at such institutions as Harvard, Princeton and Julliard. Since 1994, he has produced the annual Arab Festival of the Arts in New York, and, in 1997, he founded the Annual Retreat, a summer program of Arabic music studies at Mount Holyoke College.
In 1994, Mr. Shaheen was presented the National Endowment of the Arts Heritage Award in recognition of his contribution to the arts as a performer, composer and educator.
The President's Advisory Committee on the Arts of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts advises and consults with the Board of Trustees for the Center, and makes recommendations to the Board regarding existing and prospective cultural activities to be featured at the center. In addition, the members of the Committee assist in the Center's fundraising efforts and act as liaisons to performance groups and performing arts centers throughout the nation.