Brian Prunka

 
Biography

Brian Prunka was born in Newtown, Connecticut, USA and was first introduced to the oud in 1998 while studying jazz at university in New Orleans. His background was in the guitar, but he soon immersed himself in the new instrument, teaching himself as much as possible from whatever recordings he could find. The turning point came in 2001 when he attended the annual Arabic Music Retreat in Massachusetts run by Simon Shaheen, who would go on to become his mentor and help shape the future direction of his musical career. That same year, Brian released his first CD, 'In Praise of Shadows', on which he played both guitar and oud. In 2003 he completed his Master's degree in jazz performance at the University of New Orleans and moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he established links with musicians who shared his vision of combining Arabic music and jazz. The culmination of this was the formation of the group Nashaz, who released their debut recording in 2013 and are currently giving regular performances in New York, and hopefully beyond in the near future.

 
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Selected Recordings

Nashaz
(Ziryab Records)

This recording is a perfect fusion of Arabic music and jazz, and sees Brian's oud accompanied by Kenny Warren on trumpet, Nathan Herrera on saxophone, flute and clarinet, Apostolis Sideris on bass, and Vin Scialla and George Mel on percussion.

1. Hijaz Nashaz 9:32
2. Khartoum 7:43
3. Andalus 8:54
4. Qassabji's Nightmare 7:06
5. City of Sand 6:34
6. Jurjinah 9:30
7. Al-Ghayb 8:15
8. 'Ajam 5:45

 

 

Publications

Classical Arabic Instrumental Music

This is a collection of sheet music for classical Arabic instrumental pieces, such as sama'is, bashrafs and longas, transcribed by Brian from multiple recorded and printed reference sources. The 33 transcriptions include pieces by Arab composers, as well as Ottoman Turkish pieces that have since become part of the Arab repertoire. The music is presented in Western notation with quarter-tone accidentals, and alternative versions of some pieces are included for completeness. The book is also comb-bound, which makes it particularly easy to use.

A full list of the pieces included, as well as purchasing info, can be found at OudStrings.com.

 


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