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Karim Al-Zand
Biography
The music of Canadian-American composer Karim Al-Zand (b.1970) has been called “strong and
startlingly lovely” (Boston Globe). His compositions are wide-ranging in influence and inspiration,
encompassing solo, chamber, vocal and orchestral works. From scores for dance, to compositions for
young people, to multi-disciplinary and collaborative works, Al-Zand’s music is diverse in both its subject
matter and its audience. It explores connections between music and other arts, and draws inspiration from
varied sources such as graphic art, myths and fables, folk music of the world, film, spoken word, jazz, and
his own Middle Eastern heritage. Al-Zand’s music has enjoyed success in the US, Canada and abroad and
he is the recipient of several national awards, including the Sackler Composition Prize, the ArtSong Prize,
the Louisville Orchestra Competition Prize and the “Arts and Letters Award in Music” from the American
Academy of Arts and Letters. He is a founding and artistic board member of Musiqa, Houston’s premier
contemporary music group, which presents concerts featuring new and classic repertoire of the twentieth
and twenty-first centuries. In his scholarly work, he has pursued several diverse areas of music theory,
including topics in jazz, counterpoint, and improvisation (both jazz and 18th century extemporization). AlZand was born in Tunis, Tunisia, raised in Ottawa, Canada and educated in Montreal (McGill University,
BMus 1993) and Cambridge (Harvard University, PhD 2000). Since 2000 he has taught composition and
music theory in Houston at the Shepherd School of Music, Rice University.