April Centrone is a multi-instrumentalist, teacher, composer, film producer and director, and music therapist based in NY / NJ. She is a Carnegie Hall World Explorer musician and educator, business owner and founder of 10PRL, arts/film/event space on the Jersey Shore, and co-founder of the New York Arabic Orchestra, non-profit organization specializing in the performance and education of Arabic music.
April specializes in the teaching and performance of the riqq (Arabic tambourine), darbuka (Middle Eastern goblet drum), frame drum, drumset, and the oud (Arabic lute). As a drummer and percussionist, she has toured with Arab icons including Ziad Rahbani, Marcel Khalife and Bassam Saba.
As a youth educator, April worked closely with inner-city schools throughout NYC’s boroughs, teaching Arabic music and percussion and coordinating world music projects through Musicians For Harmony and Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Connect.
As a music therapist, her work included her participation in a ‘Music Therapy Tour’ with the U.S. Embassy of Malaysia, holding workshops at Rohingya refugee youth centers and safe houses for young Malaysian women. During her residence in Lebanon from 2013 to 2016, she held Arabic music workshops for Syrian and Palestinian refugee youth through her project, Juthoor, with Nisreen Nasser.
She currently teaches world music at William Paterson University, leads group classes and workshops virtually and in NYC, and has held lectures in music therapy and Arabic music/percussion at Taipei University of the Arts, Lebanese American University and others.
Over her career, April has performed in venues such as the United Nations, NYC Opera House, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, and has toured throughout Europe, the Americas, Middle East and Far East, performing at the Marciac Jazz Festival (FR), New Zealand World Music Festival Festival, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors (NYC), Musicas Do Mundo, Sines (PT), Beirut Jazz Festival (LB), Taipei Chinese Orchestra Silk Road Conference (TW), and others. Her debut album ‘New Moon’ is available on CDbaby and Spotify. April carries a Masters degree in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College, NYC.
APRIL CENTRONE born in Harlem, New York, started as a performer of drumset at age 9. Today as a drummer, she weaves the genres of rock, jazz, experimental, progressive, funk/R&B and world music. April’s other trademark is the riqq, or Arabic tambourine, paving the way for women-identified/non-binary riqq players in her community with her own original comprehensive methodology. Additionally, she teaches the darbuka (goblet drum), frame drum, the ‘ud (Arabic lute) and drumset. April prides her work on encouraging women-identified and non-binary folks to feel they are allowed to explore and master instruments which are currently mostly presented by men.
April’s Arabic music life began in 2005 with Simon Shaheen’s Arabic Music Retreat. She then began to study the ‘ud (Arabic lute), buzuq (Arabic long-necked lute) and Arabic violin with the late Bassam Saba, and Arabic percussion with her late mentor, Lebanese/Palestinian percussionist Michel Baklouk Merhej. In her 15+ year career as an Arabic/World percussionist, April performed with renowned Arab artists such as Ziad Rahbani, Marcel Khalife, Bassam Saba and Charbel Rouhana, and became the co-founder, executive director and lead percussionist of the New York Arabic Orchestra in 2007.
Centrone has led workshops in Arabic music around the world, including Taipei Chinese Orchestra Silk Road Conference, Taiwan University of the Arts, Music Therapy workshop tour of Malaysia, Berklee School of Music and Cleveland Institute of Music. She co-founded Arabic music and language project مشروع جذور لبنان Project Roots Lebanon, serving youth of refugee camps and underprivileged zones throughout Lebanon. In New York, she served as teaching artist/consultant for Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Connect, year-round world-education public school initiative (2009) and lead teaching artist for Musicians For Harmony’s Music of the World, introducing inner-city youth to native musicians from Africa, Asia, Arab World and Latin America (2006-2011). Currently, Centrone is a Carnegie Hall World Explorer (2020) performer and teacher, and leads New York/NJ women’s and mixed groups in percussion, ‘ud, and therapeutic drumming.
Centrone’s other projects include: drums/percussion w/ Ziad Rahbani Band and Orchestra (2013-2015); oud w/ Lubana Al-Quntar’s ‘From Syria with Love’ – muwashahat, Syriac hymns and Syrian folk tunes (2016-present); oud + perc w/ Persian Music Ensemble (2016-present); drums w/ Maude Gun – Brooklyn-based feminist rock opera (2017-present); drums w/ Jane- all-femme rock band based in Brooklyn (2016-present); drums w/ IKLIL- Beirut-based all-female rock band (2014-2016); drums w/ Hat Lanshouf, Beirut-based original Arabic cabaret (2013-2015); drums w/ Secret Chiefs 3 (2010-2012); percussion w/ Bassam Saba Ensemble- Arabic classical + fusion (2006-present); New York Arabic Orchestra (2007-present); drums + perc w/ TnA- Beirut-based Syrian folk duo w/ Tammam Saeed (2014-2016), Eyvind Kang (2007); Christian Jarvi’s Absolute Ensemble w/ Marcel Khalife (2011); Nolan Gasser’s World Concerto (East Oakland Bay Symphony).
Spring 2018 marks the release of Centrone’s debut solo album entitled New Moon featuring all-original music and poetry. The album also features April on every instrument including the electric and acoustic oud, buzuq, voice, drums, percussion, piano and guitar. Now available on CDbaby and Spotify.
Centrone composed and performed music for “Arabian Nights” by Mary Zimmerman (Peter Jay Sharp Theatre 2006), and performed percussion, oud and violin for one-woman plays, “11 Reflections of September” by Andrea Assaf, “Head over Heels in Saudi Arabia” by Maisah Sobaihi, and “Everyone Has Tears” by Cynthia Sophiea.
Venues + Festivals
Centrone has produced events and/or performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, NYC Opera House, the United Nations, Lincoln Center and Town Hall, and festivals such as the Beirut Jazz Festival and Jim Beam Rocks! in Lebanon, Marciac Jazz Festival in France, Festival Du Monde Arabe in Montreal, World Music Festival of New Zealand, Taipei Chinese Orchestra Silk Road Festival in Taiwan, Festival Músicas do Mundo in Portugal and Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors in New York City. Centrone has toured throughout North America, South America, Middle East, Far East and Europe.
Music Therapy and psychology
April leads a unique music therapy program designed for both youth and adults, incorporating drumming and vocalizations for meditation and treatment work, as well as workshops primarily focused on old spiritual music practices designed for healing and transformation work. In March 2018, she was invited for a Music Therapy Tour by the U.S. Embassy of Malaysia where she held sessions at safe houses for young women and refugee youth centers in Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and Penang. In 2015, April lectured on Music Therapy at Lebanese American University in Beirut. April’s earlier work includes intaking, assessing and diagnosing new admissions at Sagamore Children’s Psychiatric Hospital of New York where she also had the privilege to lead music classes for adolescent girls, and the taught graduate course ‘Trauma,’ and undergraduate course ‘Intro to Forensic Psychology’ at Adelphi University in New York. Centrone holds a Masters in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College.