Kareem Roustom is an Emmy-nominated composer who has written music for film, television, the concert hall and album projects. Steeped in the musical traditions of the Near East and trained in Western concert music and Jazz, Syrian-born Kareem Roustom is a musically bilingual composer who has collaborated with a wide variety of artists ranging from the Kronos Quartet, to Shakira, and to the Philadelphia Orchestra. Roustom is currently working on a commission from renowned conductor Daniel Barenboim to compose an orchestral work for the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. The premiere will take place in Buenos Aires in August of 2014.
Roustom’s Emmy-nominated score to the PBS documentary The Mosque in Morgantown combined elements of North Indian music, Arabic music, and West Virginia Bluegrass music. Of his score for Amreeka, (Sundance and Cannes film festival award winner) the Hollywood Reporter wrote “Kareem Roustom’s middle eastern flavored score contributes greatly.” About his score to the documentary Budrus, Variety Magazine wrote “a strong string, wind, and percussion score by Kareem Roustom adds to the momentum and underlines key moments.”
Roustom’s concert works have been performed in Europe, the U.K., the Middle East, and throughout the USA. Of his oratorio “The Son of Man” (text by Kahlil Gibran), the Boston Globe wrote “The music… is pitched toward the impassioned, adapting Arabic-derived scales into a rich, heavily perfumed chromaticism, affording both eerie atmosphere and high-impact drama. Moment to moment, [Roustom's] invention is prolific.”
Also active in the pop-music realm Roustom has written several arrangements for Shakira including her duet with Beyonce’ “Beautiful Liar” which went on to become the fastest rising single in Billboard’s history.
Recent projects include the score to Cherien Dabis’s Sundance film May In The Summer (Roustom’s second score for Dabis) and a recently completed commission for the Kronos Quartet (premiere November 2013). In June of 2010 Roustom was awarded a fellowship to the prestigious Sundance Film Composers Lab held annually at the Sundance Institute. Roustom is also the recipient of BMI’s Pete Carpenter Fellowship in film & TV music as well as a CAP Award from the American Music Center.