New York Arabic Orchestra, Inc.


Bassam Saba – Board Chair & Artistic Director

Duties The role of the Artistic Director is to conduct and train the members (musicians) of the New York Arabic Orchestra. In addition to weekly rehearsals, Saba provides chamber group coaching, theory courses and private instruction to its members. Saba provides new compositions, arrangement, and educational materials, and participates in orchestra concerts and outreach programs.

Bassam Saba of Lebanon is a world-renowned virtuoso, multi-instrumentalist, and leading figure of Arabic music. Saba studied nay, oud and violin at the Lebanon National Conservatory. Saba received his BA in Western Classical music and Flute Performance at the Conservatoire Municipal des Gobelins in Paris, and his Masters in Western Flute Performance and Music Education from the Gnessin Musical Pedagogical Institute in Moscow. Regarded by the world as a true pioneer of the Nay and Arabic interpretation of western flute, Saba was pursued by many of the greatest Arab, Western classical, and Western pop icons, and is presently one of the most sought-after teachers of Arabic music in the U.S. Saba has toured extensively with Fairouz, Marcel Khalife, and Simon Shaheen, and has worked with other Arab greats such as Ziad Rahbani, Wadi' El-Safi, Majida El-Roumi and Taoufiq Farroukh. He has collaborated with classical and pop stars such as Yo-Yo Ma, Sting, Alicia Keys and Santana, and jazz icons such as Herbie Hancock and Quincy Jones. As a soloist, Saba has performed with philharmonics worldwide and has toured throughout the Middle East, Europe, the Americas, Australia, NZ, Africa, Taiwan and Japan.

April Centrone – Vice Chair, Executive Director & Acting Developmental Director

Duties The role of the Executive Director is to direct the internal operations of the orchestra, manage its programming, and oversee all other roles. This includes organizing rehearsals, chamber groups, theory classes, private instruction and developmental meetings, as well as leading communications between artistic director, assistant directors, section leaders and orchestra members. Liaison for all officers, directors, trustees, employees and independent contractors. This most often includes video/audio/photo, web design, venues, internet and social media, email and physical marketing, print materials, concert promotion, grant-writing, educational and cultural institutions, press (TV, radio, newspaper/magazine), stage management and concert production, legal and accounting. Centrone is currently acting as director of development.

April Centrone is one of the leading classical Arabic percussionists in America, student of Michel Baklouk Merhej. She has performed with renowned artists such as Marcel Khalife, Bassam Saba, Najib Shaheen, Les Claypool's Primus, Mike Patton (Faith No More), Trey Spruance's Secret Chiefs 3, Trevor Dunn, and Eyvind Kang, among others. Centrone has performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, NYC Opera House, Lincoln Center and Town Hall, and festivals such as the Beirut Jazz Festival in Lebanon, FMM Sines in Portugal and Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors in New York City. Centrone has toured throughout North America, Middle East, Europe, Taiwan, South America, and New Zealand. In 2009, Centrone participated as a teaching artist and consultant for Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Connect (NYC), a year-round world-education initiative for public school 6th-graders. Centrone serves as Musicians For Harmony’s Lead Teaching Artist where she directs Music of the World, a 6-week program for inner-city youths of 12-18 years. In theatre, Centrone was the music director and composer for "Arabian Nights" by Mary Zimmerman (Peter Jay Sharp Theatre) in 2006, and music accompaniment for one-woman plays, "Head over Heels in Saudi Arabia" by Maisah Sobaihi, and "Everyone Has Tears" by Cynthia Sophiea (2011-2012). Centrone is the executive director, co-founder and lead percussionist of the New York Arabic Orchestra. Centrone’s work as executive director has brought the orchestra to venues such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, where Centrone’s renowned marketing skills, productions and audience draw contributed to the 4,000+ attendance of the 2500-capacity outdoor arena, Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park. Centrone holds a Masters in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College and began the first music therapy program at Sagamore Children’s Psychiatric Center in Dix Hills, NY, teaching drumset to girls aged 11-16. Centrone has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in Forensic Psychology at Adelphi University in Garden City, NY.

Hanna Hanna, Board Member & Secretary

Hanna Hanna is a serial entrepreneur and successful business leader. He is the proprietor of Bellydance America Inc., one of the leading global suppliers for Arabic music and dance professionals and a specialty retail destination located in the heart of Manhattan’s fashion district. Hanna has extensive experience in business operations and real-estate management. He is also a skilled musician and vocalist. With an extensive business network both in the U.S. and abroad, Hanna is widely recognized as a dynamic visionary in the Arabic music industry.

Mohannad Aama, Board Member & Treasurer

Mohannad Aama is the founder and senior Portfolio Manager at Beam Capital Management. His responsibilities cover overseeing investment research, portfolio construction and risk management. Mr. Aama is the portfolio manager of the Beam Capital Management Multi-cap Value Portfolio (BCM MVP™). Mr. Aama has been a speaker at numerous asset management and investment conferences in the Middle East and North America and has made regular appearances on PBS, CNBC Arabia, Alarabiya, LBC, France 24 and other media outlets located in North America, the Middle East, Europe and Australia discussing his views and outlook for the US economy and global financial markets. Mr. Aama is a Board member and Treasurer of the Arab Bankers Association of North America (ABANA) a not for profit association based in New York. Fluent in Arabic, Mr. Aama earned a B.A. in Economics from Brooklyn College in New York City and an MBA in Finance and Accounting from the Simon Graduate School of Business at the University of Rochester in New York State. He also holds the designation of Financial Risk Manager (FRM) given by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP).

Liana Hawes, Board Member

Liana Hawes is Vice President, Media Relations at Gutenberg Communications. She is a public relations professional skilled in creating and executing multichannel strategic communications plans that build brand equity and market share for start-up and second stage companies and non-profit corporations. Liana directs communications with the goal of helping business and organizational development, securing funding rounds, grants and sponsorship. She has led public relations for campaigns for New York’s Williamsburg Bridge Centennial, New York’s Annual Village Halloween Parade, The Atlantic Antic 30th Anniversary, The Center for Traditional Music and Dance, Brooklyn Arts Council Maqam Festival and Brooklyn Botanic Garden. She has successfully managed and booked Bonga & the Vodou Drums of Haiti and The Vodou Jazz Ensemble. She previously served on the Board of Platform Shoes Forum, a non-profit organization. Liana did her graduate work in Media Ecology at NYU School of Education and received her BA in Speech from Emerson College in Boston.