Canadian-American composer Karim Al-Zand’s compositions are wide-ranging in influence and inspiration, encompassing solo, chamber, vocal and orchestral works. The Boston Globe has described his music as “strong and startlingly lovely.” 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. His music has enjoyed success in the United States, 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.
Al-Zand 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). Al-Zand was born in Tunis, Tunisia, raised in Ottawa, Canada, and educated in Montreal at McGill University (Bachelor’s in Music 1993) and in Cambridge at Harvard University (PhD 2000). Since 2000 he has taught in Houston at the Shepherd School of Music, Rice University.
Al-Zand was commissioned by the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music to write a new orchestral composition for Maestro Macelaru’s inaugural season, and joins us as composer-in-residence for the first time. The Prisoner feartures bass-baritone Jonathan Lemalu and will receive its world premiere performance during Tributes: Part 2, Saturday, August 12, 2017.