Picea Orientalis is a string orchestra that brews Western and Eastern music traditions. Western structures, harmonies and bow techniques, together with middle Eastern and Balkan ornaments and improvisations, form the DNA of the orchestra. The uniqueness of the orchestra stems from the diversity of its members, and the openness to uncharted musical paths and new trajectories. Picea Orientalis aims above all to build bridges between various music worlds and various audiences.

What if classical music didn’t have to strictly be framed into the “well tempered clavier”? Why another music traditions kept applying microtones, ornaments and improvisations in a free way while these elements were “washed away” in the classical music? We know that Bach was an excellent improvisator who also ornamented his works with complete freedom. Mozart and Beethoven left the cadenzas of their concertos open, thus giving soloists plenty of room to improvise. Meanwhile, later versions of those cadenzas are now an integral part of the score, as a result of which theimprovisational character has almost disappeared. We search ways to bring the eroded elements back on board full of ambition. To the western classical structures, harmony, techniques and acoustics, we add musical aspects that are still essential in the Balkans, and within Arab and Turkish traditions.

“Picea Orientalis” is the Latin name of Caucasian spruce (Picea), that grows in northern Asia and the Caucasus (Orientalis). The wood of these spruces is used for the tops of both Eastern and Western stringed instruments, but also for the construction of traditional instruments as oud, Qanun and Bouzouk.

Shalan Alhamwy

– Violinist and composer, born in Homs, Syria 1982, living and working in Belgium. Studied
classical violin in Damascus conservatory, violin class of professor Evgueny Loguenov.

– Former member of: The Syrian National Symphony Orchestra, The National Orchestra of
Arabic Music and Damascus Chamber Orchestra.

– Commissioned to write music to be played by several orchestras over the world: WDR Radio Orchestra, Kammersymphonie Berlin, EPO, The National Syrian Arabic Orchestra, Violet and others.

– Trained as a classical musician, with his background of Arabic music, Shalan masters both
genres playing and composing. Elements of variety of musical styles are unmistakably
recognized in his compositions . Shalan also wrote and arranged music for a plenty of
ensembles, singers, films and TV shows.

– Plays with Damast Duo, GFVP (Gent Folk Violin Project), Olla vogala, and EPO (Expat
Philharmonic Orchestra).

– Experienced in teaching Arabic music to Western musicians. Shalan is conducting two classes for Arabic violin in Brussels and Gent, and giving regularly workshops and lectures about Arabic music inside and outside Belgium.

– Former instructor of violin and chamber music in the music college, Albaath University, Homs, and in Solhi Alwadi music school, Damascus.

– Bachelor in Pharmacy and pharmaceutical chemistry from the Damascus University (2006).


Shalan Alhamwy : Violinist and composer

David Van Ransbeeck : violinist

Jhomayra Elizabeth Cevallos Ordóñez : violinist

Norbert Makula : violinist

Anouk Sanczuk : violinist

Mohamad Aldouri : violinist

Hendrike Scharmann : multi instrumentalist, violinist, composer

Graciela Zaera : violinist

Katrien van Remortel : violinist

Liesbeth Lambrecht : violinist

Marijn Thissen : violinist

Vincent Werbrouck : cello

Mieke Delanote : cello

Katrien Bos : the double bass

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