MazaJ: Festival of Experimental Middle Eastern Music


Seth Ayyaz - Zenith Foundation


Radisson Habiba Hall

Project Summary

Seth Ayyaz, curator of the MazaJ Festival, presented a series of project proposals and an invitation to potential collaborators. The festival is the musical manifestation of the Zenith Foundation in London, which offers a platform for independent cultural production focusing on the Arab region and its Diaspora. The first project seeks to connect with individuals and institutions to create new work in response to the changing sonic environment in Egypt and work towards creating a sound survey within the region. Ayyaz also spoke of the need for the festival to develop its network. Strategies include an advisory panel to establish a curatorial strategy, the development of a commissioning strand with a focus on wider sonic cultures, and the development of a group residency to allow participants to come together, exchange and make work.

Presentation Proposal

The Zenith Foundation is looking for collaborative partners for 
the second edition of the London MazaJ Festival taking place in November 2011. Zenith hopes to expand upon the success of last year’s festival in creating new works, recalibrating expectations of Middle Eastern sonic cultures and contributing to an infrastructure for the development of new regional sonic arts. The first edition of the MazaJ Middle East Experimental Music Festival was held in London in November 2010 in partnership with Arts Council UK, Sound and Music, The Wire magazine, Cafe Oto, and City University London.


Seth Ayyaz is co-founder and Music Director at Zenith Foundation. He is a doctoral candidate in composition at City University London, specialising in live electronics improvisation with expertise in contemporary sonic practices relating to the region. He has curated the MazaJ music events since 2005 in London, culminating in the 1st edition of the MazaJ Festival of Experimental Middle Eastern Music in November 2010. Seth and Assistant Curator Lisa Skuret successfully created path-finding partnerships with Sound and Music (the key national organisation for new music in the UK), The Wire magazine and academic partners. He works closely with Mona Deeley on the Zenith Film season at NFT and BAFTA in London.

December 2011


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