Rose of the Compass


Rose of the Compass was founded in 2010 by recorder virtuoso and early music specialist Nina Stern in collaboration with luminaries of New York’s world scene. The ensemble, which released its first CD in 2011, explores repertory   from diverse traditions, and creates a musical space unifying East andWest. For the past several years, the ensemble has collaborated with Kent Tritle and the choir of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, presenting innovative programs such as "The Ornament of the World: Music of multicultural Spain," "The Wingèd Lion: Venice and the Orient", "The Glory of Constantinople" and "The Four Quarters of Jerusalem" which was also released as an album on the Pro Organo label in 2015. 


“The members of the Rose of the Compass displayed impeccable early- and world-music credentials. The percussionist Glen Velez is the undisputed master on frame drums; Ara Dinkjian is one of this country’s premier oud players. Tamer Pinarbasi is a Turkish virtuoso on the kanun, a Middle Eastern zither with roots reaching back to ancient times. Nina Stern, who played recorders and chalumeau, a precursor of the clarinet, has made her home at the intersection of early and Middle Eastern music.

In the folk-song-like Armenian chant “Kovia Yeroosaghem” and in “Meh Khosk Unim Iltimazov,” based on a text by the 18th-century poet Sayat Nova, the very different timbres of the two plucked instruments played tricks on the ear, with the dry, glassy kanun heightening the lyricism of the oud to the point where it appeared to sing.

For a dazzling solo on the riq, a Middle Eastern frame drum, Mr. Velez used palm, knuckles, fingertips and delicate wrist movements to create a dizzying contrapuntal texture. In the Sephardic “Porke Yorach,” Ms. Stern brought a sensual languor to the chalumeau’s lines, which rose and settled in heaving sighs while the kanun tiptoed around it.”

(New York Times, May 6, 2013 - By CORINNA da FONSECA-WOLLHEIM)