Syrian-American composer Kareem Roustom has received numerous commissions to write works for ensembles such as the Kronos Quartet, Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and others. Recent performances of Roustom’s ‘musically bilingual’ scores have been given by the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Malmö Opera Orchestra, and at a number of international festivals including the Verbier Festival, the Lucerne Festival, the Salzburg Festival, and the BBC Proms. Roustom’s music has been presented in recent concerts in Yerevan (Armenia), Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Japan, China, and throughout the Middle East, as well as concerts across North America, including the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Roustom’s recent orchestral work Ramal, commissioned by Daniel Barenboim for the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, was described by James R. Oestreich in the New York Times as “propulsive, colorful and [an] immediately appealing creation.” Stephen Pritchard in The Guardian described Ramal as “arrestingly quirky and postmodern…music with lots of personality.”
Of his triple string quartet A Voice Exclaiming, commissioned for the Kronos Quartet and Providence, Rhode Island- based Community MusicWorks, David Harrington (Kronos Quartet founder and first violinist) wrote: “I think that with A Voice Exclaiming, Kareem Roustom has made a vivid, thought-provoking new piece that reflects hope in the time we live in, and the immense possibility for positive change as well as its awesome uncertainties and dangers.”
Kareem Roustom’s Emmy-nominated work in film includes a number of award-winning narrative and documentary scores presented at festivals including Sundance, Cannes, Tribeca, and others. He received BMI’s Pete Carpenter Fellowship and a Sundance Film Composers Lab Fellowship. Roustom has also written high-profile arrangements for pop artists Shakira, Beyoncé, and Wyclef Jean. Roustom is an oud player who has performed in the USA and Europe and has recorded for groups such as the Boston Camerata on the Warner Brothers Classics label. Roustom has been a resident/visiting composer at the College of William and Mary, Arizona State University, Curtis Institute of Music, Dartmouth College, Northern Illinois University, and the New England Conservatory of Music, among others.