Kickoff Screening of SIMON SHAHEEN: A MUSICAL JOURNEY Closes with Standing Ovation

Firas Zreik (left) and Simon Shaheen (right) performing onstage at The Woodstock Playhouse

Firas Zreik (left) and Simon Shaheen (right) performing onstage at The Woodstock Playhouse

On October 2nd, the Woodstock Film Festival kicked off its 20th anniversary with the World Premiere of Tarik Benbrahim's Simon Shaheen: A Musical Journey, which was followed with a Q&A with the film's director and live performance by Shaheen with fellow musicians Tareq Rantisi and Firas Zreik.

During the Q&A session, Benbrahim gave insight into the power of music to act as a vehicle for social mobility, noting how Berklee School of Music, where Shaheen teaches, holds online auditions so that prospective students from all over the world have a chance to prove their talents.

(From left) Tareq Rantisi, Simon Shaheen, Meira Blaustein, Tarik Benbrahim and Firas Zreik at the event

(From left) Tareq Rantisi, Simon Shaheen, Meira Blaustein, Tarik Benbrahim and Firas Zreik at the event

Shaheen along with Rantisi on percussion and Zreik on Kanun were then invited onstage. Attendees were quickly swept off their feet by Shaheen’s deft mastery of the oud and violin, as he effortlessly blended elements of classical and Arabic music into an unforgettable musical showcase. Rantisi and Zreik were equally breathtaking, seamlessly exchanging solos and delighting attendees.

At the end of the show, the walls of the Playhouse rang with sound of plucking strings, laughter, and thunderous applause as audience members rose from their seats to give Shaheen a standing ovation.