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Roses & Almonds: Songs of the Sephardim

Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto

Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto Roses & Almonds: Songs of the Sephardim

Aquila presents a concert of Sephardic music celebrating life, love, food and drink, nature, spirituality, adventure and humor. In Sephardic culture, both the rose and the almond are powerful symbols. The rose, with its beauty and sensual fragrance, evokes love and fragility, while the almond symbolizes renewal, hope, perseverance and virginity.

Aquila is a quartet of Bay Area musicians known for their individual and collective expressiveness and virtuosity. Members of the ensemble include:

Phoebe Rosquist—voice
Gari Hegedus—oud, saz
Shira Kammen—vielle, medieval harp, voice
Peter Maund—percussion

Phoebe Rosquist was born in Germany and grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. She began her undergraduate studies at the University of Louisville with the intention of becoming a jazz singer, but soon discovered that early and classical music were her true calling. She has appeared as a soloist with the Waverly Consort, Voices of Music, American Bach Soloists, Musica Angelica, Bach Collegium San Diego, and North Holland Opera. Among her varied collaborations are medieval/modern group Vajra Voices; baroque ensemble La Monica; medieval ensemble Cançonièr; art song with celebrated pianist Robert Thies; and early music and dance with Italy's visionary Art Monastery Project and Bologna-based Cappella Artemisia. Phoebe has also toured the US and Indonesia with Gamelan X (a Balinese/hybrid world music ensemble) and sung Balkan and folk music with Kitka and VOCO. She can be heard on a diverse collection of albums recorded on the Naxos, Nonesuch, Delos, Dorian and Decca labels. For more, visit

Gari Hegedus plays violin and viola as well as a variety of lutes from Greece and Turkey including laouto, oud and saz. In addition to playing in Aquila, he also performs with world music group Stellamara as well as Bay Area groups such as Janam and The Helladelics. He has studied with oud master Naseer Shamma and has studied, recorded and performed with Ross Daly and Kelly Thoma. He has toured with the Mevlevi Dervish (Sufi) Order of America and continues to participate in Turkish ceremonial and devotional gatherings around the country. In addition to being a composer and performer, Gari is a talented luthier, repairing stringed instruments of every variety; coaxing sound from sazes, violins and rebabs; restoring lutes and lyras; making bows and finding ingenious ways to allow the true voice of an instrument to come forth. For more, visit

Shira Kammen is a multi-instrumentalist and occasional vocalist. She has spent well over half her life exploring the worlds of early and traditional music. A member for many years of the early music Ensembles Alcatraz and Project Ars Nova, and Medieval Strings, she has also worked with Sequentia, Hesperion XX, the Boston Camerata, the Balkan group Kitka, the King's Noyse, the Newberry and Folger Consorts, and the Oregon, California and San Francisco Shakespeare Festivals. Shira is the founder of Class V Music, an ensemble dedicated to providing music on river rafting trips. She has performed and taught in the US, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Israel, Morocco, Latvia, Russia and Japan, and on the Colorado, Rogue, Green, Grande Ronde, East Carson and Klamath Rivers. The strangest place Shira has played is in the elephant pit of the Jerusalem Zoo. She has recently taken courses in Taiko drumming and voiceover acting. For more, visit

Peter Maund, a native of San Francisco, studied percussion at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and music, folklore and ethnomusicology at the University of California, Berkeley. A founding member of Ensemble Alcatraz and Alasdair Fraser's Skyedance, he has performed with early and contemporary music ensembles including Anonymous 4, Berkeley Contemporary Chamber Players, Chanticleer, Davka, El Mundo, The Harp Consort, Hesperion XX, Kitka, Los Cenzontles, Musica Pacifica, Pacific MusicWorks, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Voices of Music, among others. Described by the Glasgow Herald as "the most considerate and imaginative of percussionists" he can be heard on over 50 recordings. For more, visit

Monthly Music at Noon concerts include a delicious hot buffet lunch before the concert.

Daytime Adult Learning and Culture Programs are made possible in part by the John R. Schwabacher Family as well as a grant from the Maimonides Fund at the Jewish Community Federation & Endowment Fund. We are grateful for their generous support.

Tuesday, April 14
11:30–1:30 PM
Schultz Cultural Arts Hall
$25 or two punches of the Community Tuesdays Punch Card.
RSVP by January 12. Pay at the door.
Contact: Michelle Rosengaus | (650) 223-8616 | [email protected]

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Gari Hegedus

Oud, Saz

Shira Kammen

Vielle, Medieval Harp, Voice

Peter Maund