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Mohammed Fairouz
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Mohammed Fairouz, born in 1985, is one of the most frequently performed, commissioned, and recorded composers of his generation. Hailed by The New York Times as “an important new artistic voice,” Fairouz melds Middle-Eastern modes and Western structures to deeply expressive effect. His output encompasses virtually every genre, with commissions from the Borromeo String Quartet, Imani Winds, New York Festival of Song, Da Capo Chamber Players, Cantus, and many others. Website:

Entries by Mohammed Fairouz

ISIL: The Second Coming

(0) Comments | Posted March 4, 2015 | 4:34 PM

"The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." -- W.B. Yeats

The worst way to follow the disastrous foreign policy of George W. Bush's era may be with a disaffected administration that seems to be uninterested in forming a coherent and strong U.S. outlook on the...

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Agents of Hope

(1) Comments | Posted December 24, 2014 | 9:28 AM

"Talk is cheap." "Actions speak louder than words." These idioms and many like them originated with good intentions but they've been transformed in a culture that has devaluated the precious potential of great language to empower and transform people into attacks on the power of language itself. Even the word...

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On the Border of the Illusion

(0) Comments | Posted December 12, 2014 | 1:11 PM

I'm generally met with reactions of surprise and intrigue when my musical works based on Jacqueline Rose's writings are presented. The general idea, it goes, is that the connection between a work like Proust Among the Nations and a piano sonata is not an easy connection to...

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The Irresistible Music of Wallace Stevens

(0) Comments | Posted September 29, 2014 | 12:52 AM

My fifteenth song cycle, Domination of Darkness, is also one of my strangest works. For this piece I chose to revisit an old poetic friend, Wallace Stevens, and set five of his early poems to music. I thought that I knew these poems very well and in a certain way...

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A Frightening Precedent

(2) Comments | Posted July 2, 2014 | 12:22 PM

The current situation in the Middle East is proof that ignoring a wound doesn't make it go away. Over three years of neglect from the international community with regards to Syria has destabilized that nation and its neighbors. Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey are dealing with an unprecedented refugee crisis and...

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The Importance of Being Collaborative

(0) Comments | Posted May 1, 2014 | 1:46 PM

Something very exciting has been happening on the performing arts scene in the United States and abroad for several years now. The established model of presenting new works to audiences is changing and the audiences are changing dramatically too. An entire generation of composers and performers are taking the presentation...

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(0) Comments | Posted March 7, 2014 | 11:18 AM

As I prepare for the world premiere of my Violin Concerto "Al-Andalus", a work that is rooted in medieval Arab history, my thoughts are squarely focused on the present day. Current events have been disturbing to say the least. The reports from 40 foreign ministers at the Geneva...

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Poems and Prayers

(1) Comments | Posted December 17, 2013 | 1:26 PM

Strife between the Arabs and Israelis has been the center of adversity in the Middle East for over half a century now. The cataclysmic wars of 1948, 1967 and 1973 have scarred and shaped Israel and the Arab World. It's easy to forget that the 65-year-old conflict amounts to a...

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A Return to Language

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2013 | 5:09 PM

My friend and collaborator Seamus Heaney was buried two months ago. A great Irish vessel was laid to rest, emptied of it's poetry. The Irish people lost their beloved Nobel Prize-winning bard and the world was robbed of one of it's greatest practitioners of language. It seemed particularly cruel to...

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(0) Comments | Posted September 16, 2013 | 12:12 PM

In the wake of the Houla Massacre in Syria I sat down to compose a musical lamentation. The movement, May 25th 2012, took its title from the date of the massacre and ended up as the centerpiece of my solo cello suite: a musical portrait of Syria called

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The Named Angels

(2) Comments | Posted August 26, 2013 | 5:37 PM

The Middle East has been a vital theater for the world's dealings and concerns since the very start of human civilization. Not much has changed in this regard and not much seems destined to change. The region's geopolitical role is central to the connection of Europe, Africa and Asia facilitating...

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The Many Shades of 'D'

(2) Comments | Posted July 26, 2013 | 5:31 PM

Click here to read an original op-ed from the TED speaker who inspired this post and watch the TEDTalk below.

I'm in the middle of composing a violin concerto these days so it's not really surprising to me that I'm living in a world where the...

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Hindustani Dabkeh

(1) Comments | Posted June 24, 2013 | 5:27 PM

BBC World has been re-airing the dance piece that I created with Bollywood star Shakti Mohan, and I've been thinking about the multilayered dimensions of that unique collaboration as well as the impact of creating a work of art to be premiered on TV.

The concept of composing a...

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Pierrot Lunaire

(0) Comments | Posted May 24, 2013 | 1:44 PM

It's hard to imagine Arnold Schoenberg's monumental musical piece, Pierrot Lunaire, receiving a first performance anywhere other than in the drunk expressionist landscape of 1912 Berlin. My latest major vocal/stage work, a theatrical song cycle also called Pierrot Lunaire, is receiving its first public presentations in the two...

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Native Informant

(0) Comments | Posted April 22, 2013 | 12:04 PM

The oldest music on my latest album, Native Informant, was written in 2008 but the sounds that inform all the music on this disk started coming to me years before that when I was a teenager. My earliest travels to Lebanon took me to Bourj Hammoud, a densely...

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In the Shadow of No Towers

(2) Comments | Posted March 25, 2013 | 5:25 PM

Ten Marches ago the United States entered Iraq to disarm weapons of mass destruction that did not exist. The resonance of the occupation of Baghdad a few weeks later was not lost on people across the Arab states. Baghdad is, together with Cairo (now destabilized) and Damascus (now in flames),...

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