From concept to concert hall

Mohammed Fairouz

Mohammed Fairouz

Composer of “In the Shadow of No Towers”

Mohammed Fairouz, born in 1985, has been hailed by the New York Times as “an important new artistic voice” and by BBC News as "one of the most talented composers of his generation."

A precocious talent, Fairouz first set poems of Oscar Wilde at the age of 7; he studied at the Curtis Institute and
the New England Conservatory, principally under György Ligeti, Gunther Schuller, and Richard Danielpour. He has written hundreds of art songs and more than a dozen song cycles. His large vocal catalog led Gramophone magazine to call him a "post-millenial Schubert."

Fairouz's distinctive compositional voice melds Middle Eastern modes with Western forms in four symphonies, an opera, concerti, and an extensive list of solo and chamber works. Fairouz's Symphony No. 4, “In the Shadow of No Towers” (2012), is scored for wind ensemble and is inspired by Art Spiegelman's graphic novel of the same title.

His third symphony, “Poems and Prayers” (2010), was commissioned by the Middle East Center for Peace, Culture & Development and is cast for solo voices, mixed chorus and orchestra. It sets the texts of Arab poets Fadwa Tugan and Mahmoud Darwish and the Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai and prayers including the Aramaic kaddish.

Prominent advocates of Fairouz's music include the Borromeo and Lydian string quartets, the Imani Winds, the Knights Chamber Orchestra, Metropolis Ensemble, violinists Rachel Barton Pine and James Buswell, clarinetist David Krakauer, and conductors Gunther Schuller, Fawzi Haimor, and Yoon Jae Lee.

Commissions have come from the Borromeo String Quartet, Imani Winds, New York Festival of Song, Da Capo Chamber Players, New Juilliard Ensemble, Cantus Vocal Ensemble, Cygnus Ensemble, counter)induction, Alea III, Musicians for Harmony, and others. Recordings of his music are available on the Naxos, Bridge, Dorian Sono Luminus, Cedille, Albany, GM, and GPR labels, and his works are published by Peermusic Classical. 


Fairouz has been featured on BBC World Service TV, NPR's “All Things Considered,” and BBC/PRI's “The World.” His work has been profiled in Symphony, Strings, New Music Box, and the Houston Chronicle.

Fairouz lives in New York City.


KU Wind Ensemble Documentary KCPT 7:30 p.m. Sept. 11, 2014

New York Times review

"The ensemble, conducted by Paul W. Popiel, performed with polish, assurance and copious spirit, eliciting a rousing ovation..." Full review

KU Wind Ensemble releases 5th CD on Naxos Label

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