Concert Music

Chamber

Tesserae (2015)

Instrumentation: brass quintet (two trumpets in C, french horn, trombone, & tuba)
Duration ca. 12′

Commissioned for the West-Eastern Divan Brass Quintet, the world premiere took place in Buenos Aires on August 2nd, 2015 with additional performances on August 5th & 6th. Details here.

The word Tesserae (pronounced tes-uh-ree) is the plural of the word tessera and it defined as:

• A small square tile of stone, glass, etc, used in mosaics.

• A small square of bone, wood, or the like, used in ancient times as a token, tally, ticket, etc.

This quintet for brass under this title plays with both ideas; the first being a small square, among thousands of the same, that forms a much bigger picture. The first movement, which is based on a four note motif (A, G, Eb, F#), embodies this notion. The four pitches are treated as a square that rotates to produce other shapes. The ‘square’ 4/4 rhythm also figures into this idea but, as with real tessera in mosaics, they are never perfectly cut and there is always a jagged edge here or there so even what looks like a 4/4 meter is does not always fit so neatly in its bar lines. The other meaning of tesserae, that of a ‘ticket’ or ‘token’ embodies the emotional side of this work, which is the expression of something that every composer or creative person must ask with each new output; “is this new piece acceptable as ticket or token? May I pass through?” This work was composed for the brass players of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and is dedicated to them.

View score here.

Score and parts available through E.C. Schrimer here.

Traces (2013)

Instrumentation: Clarinet, Piano and String Quartet
Duration ca. 23′

Buy score & parts here.

This work is co-commissioned by the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music, ASU Gammage at Arizona State University and The Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College for clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, pianist Sally Pinkas and the Apple Hill String Quartet. The premiere will take place in November 2013 at Dartmouth College followed by a second performance at ASU in early 2014.

Traces – World premiere performance

From its opening scream, throughout its expansive narrative and shimmering ending, Roustom’s TRACES tells a tale of sorrow, loss, and anguish. In marvelous character delineation the three protagonists– clarinet, strings and piano, each assumes a distinct role in an extended play. The work’s four sections– a pensive opening, a dynamic second section, a third of wistfully undulating music, and an energized Coda which gradually diminishes, create a tight dramatic universe. Both soloistic and orchestral, drawing its language from European as well as Middle-Eastern roots, TRACES leaves the listener and the player alike, deeply moved. I find it hard to speak objectively about the work, as I cannot anymore separate the emotion from the structure: this, perhaps, is its greatest achievement.Sally Pinkas – pianist.

Browse the score for Traces here.

Available from ECS Music: Score & Instrumental Parts.

 

A Voice Exclaiming (2013)
Instrumentation: Triple String Quartet
Duration ca. 27′

Listen to the April 28th, 2017 U.K. premiere at the Royal Academy of Music by The Behn Quartet, the Fitzroy Quartet, and the Kirkman Quartet :

A Voice Exclaiming I. Divisions

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

A Voice Exclaiming II. Consolation

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

A Voice Exclaiming III. Dabke

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Buy score & parts here.

Commissioned for the Providence, R.I. based Community MusicWorks Chamber Players and students, and the Kronos Quartet, by Community MusicWorks and FirstWorks. A Voice Exclaiming was premiered on November 8th 2013 in Providence, R.I. Details to follow.  Photos from the first reading of ‘A Voice Exclaiming’ here.

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.” David Harrington – first violinist and founder of the Kronos String Quartet

Watch a video of the live performance at Waterfire in Providence, RI of Mvmt. III Dabke (Line Dance) by CMW Chamber Players and students.

 

 

Abu Jmeel’s Daughter (2011)
Instrumentation: Narrator, Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Viola & Cello
World premiere took place on March 12, 2011 Péroy-lès-Gombries, France & the American premiere was on February 28th 2012 Philadelphia.
Duration ca. 35 minutes

Buy score & parts here.

A modern telling of an old Arab folk tale from a collection  edited by Salma Khadra Jayyusi.  Ridha is a clever girl with average looks who wishes for beauty and Alwan is a prince who seeks the hand of a beautiful bride whom he’s never laid eyes.  Seven djinn sisters intervene to grant Ridha’s and Alwan’s wishes, but at what price?

Score and parts available through ECS Music.

 

Buhur (2008)

Instrumentation: Clarinet, Violin, Viola & Cello

Duration 19 minutes

Commissioned by the Syria Trust for Development
Premiered by the Damascus Festival Chamber Ensemble
Damascus, Syria March 2008

Buy score & parts here.

Third Movement from Buhur.

View the score here.

Score and parts available through ECS Music.

Al-Ramal (The Running)

Al-Kamel (The Complete)

Al-Muttadarek (The Continuous)

Resonances (2009)

Instrumentation: Arabic violin, solo cello, hand percussion & string quartet.

PERFORMED BY THE INTERCULTURAL JOURNEYS ENSEMBLE:
Udi Bar-David, Cello
Hanna Khoury, Violin
Hafez El Ali Kotain, Percussion
JOINED BY A PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA QUARTET:
Noah Geller, violin
William Polk, violin
Che-Hung Chen, viola
Jesus Morales-Matos, cello

Duration ca. 32 minutes.

I. The Tightening of Strings

II. Aqsaq

III. The Repose of Souls

To purchase score and parts please e-mail: publishing(at)kr-music(dot)com

That Which Is Adorned (2007)

Instrumentation: Mezzo Soprano, Violin, Viola & Cello

Duration 27 minutes

Premiered by X-Band in December 2007. Rachel Calloway – Mez. Sop., Noah Geller – Violin, Eric Nowlin – Viola, Jason Calloway – Cello

Three settings of English translations of Arab-Andalusian poems. The settings are inspired by the traditional genre of muwashshahaat music and the text is from Cola Franzen’s Poems of Arab Andalusia.

I. To A Persian Reed Blown About By The Wind

II. Absence

III. White Stallion

To purchase score and parts please e-mail: publishing(at)kr-music(dot)com

Large Ensemble

Clarinet Concerto: Adrift On The Winedark Sea (2017)

for clarinet & orchestra

WORK IN PROGRESS (completion date approximately April 2017)

Commissioned by clarinetist Kinan Azmeh

for the Deutsches Symphony Orchestra

Duration ca. 20′ – 25′

Premiere date: 2018 T.B.A.

Untitled work (2017)

for clarinet & chamber orchestra

WORK IN PROGRESS (completion date approximately November 2017)

Commissioned by clarinetist Daniel Barenboim

for the clarinetist Kinan Azmeh and the Pierre Boulez Ensemble

Duration ca. 20′ – 25′

Premiere date: 2018 T.B.A.

Armenian Dances (2016)

Instrumentation: 2(picc.).2.2.2-4.3.3.0-timp.3perc-hp-str

Duration ca. 12′ 30″

Commissioned by the Landmarks Orchestra, this work is a suite in two parts of folk melodies from Armenia. The first movement is based on a melody titled Donagan Haiastan (Festive Armenia) and by Armenian composer Khatchatur Avetisyan. The second movement is based on melodies from the Vasbouragan, a region that was part of Western Armenia before WWI and is now part of Eastern Turkey. Read a short blog about the history of this region. Premiered on August 17th 2016; Boston, MA USA @ DCR Hatch Shell. Details here. Read the review here.

Inline image 6

Hewar (2015)

Instrumentation: takht (nay, oud, qanun, violin, 2 hand percussion & double bass) Orchestra: 2(picc.).2.2.2-4.3.3.1-timp.2perc-hp-str

Duration ca. 25′

Premiere date September 19, 2015 in Detroit, MI.

Score & parts purchase or rental available in Fall of 2015.

View score here.

Hewar (pronounced heh-wahr) is the Arabic word for ‘dialogue.’

This is a commissioned work for the National Arab Orchestra and the Michigan Philharmonic.

12029691_10102524222959054_3987611583087200507_o

Due to union restrictions, audio & video of the premiere are only available through private e-mail. Please e-mail: info(at)kr_music(dot)com for details.

 

Dabke (2014)

Instrumentation: String Orchestra.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Excerpted performance from July 1st 2015 by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Fawzi Haimor.

Browse score here.

Score and parts available for hire through ECS/Canticle Distribution. For rental quotes contact Caitlin Custer: ccuster(at)ecspublishing(dot)com

Upcoming performances of Dabke in March and May 2017 in Hamburg and Kassel, Germany. For more details visit the Concert Calendar page.

Dabke is a folk dance and a type line dance from Palestine, Syria and Lebanon, that is typically performed at joyous occasions. The leader of the dance line, called a hawaash, directs the movements of the dancers behind him. There are many variants of this dance that involve men and women and the rhythms that accompany it. This movement is based on a six beat dabke rhythm called sudaasi. Dabke is an arrangement of the third movement of Kareem Roustom’s A Voice Exclaiming; a work for triple string quartet that was originally commissioned for the Kronos Quartet and Providence R.I. based Community MusicWorks.

 

 

Ramal (2014)

Instrumentation: pic.2.2.2.bcl.2.cbsn-4.3.3.1-timp.2perc-hp-cel-str

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Score and parts available for hire through ECS/Canticle Distribution. For rental quotes contact Caitlin Custer: ccuster(at)ecspublishing(dot)com

Daniel Barenboim on Ramal “Roustom… has written a very brilliant rhythmical piece, extremely well orchestrated.”

Ramal is a commissioned work for the West-Eastern DIVAN Orchestra. The first performance was given at the Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires on August 11th 2014 by the West-Eastern DIVAN Orchestra under the direction of Daniel Barenboim. Subsequent performances by the same took place at the Teatro Colón August 13th, the Lucerne Festival on August 17th, the BBC Proms on August 20th and the Salzburg Festival on August 22nd , 2014.

Duration ca. 12 minutes. View original score here.

View the revised score here. The revised version will be premiered on February 11th by the Malmo Opera Orchestra under Ralf Kircher.

Read a letter of recommendation for Ramal and Kareem Roustom from maestro Daniel Barenboim here.

New York Times Ramal is “propulsive, colorful and [an] immediately appealing creation.”Full article here.

The Guardian described it as “arrestingly quirky and postmodern… This was music with lots of personality”Full article here.

The Telegraph ” Ramal was refreshingly decisive. The transitions… were so ingenious, and the whole thing shaped with such irresistible momentum” Full review here.

The Independent “Roustom’s Ramal was a natural companion piece to the colouristic, richly-textured Ravel – a sort of anti-Boléro, whose jagged rhythms and fretful unease spoke of conflict silenced elsewhere in the evening. Nervy strings bustled fractiously, punctuated by low brass mutterings and squalls of tuned percussion.” Full review here.

 

Dabke (2015)

for wind ensemble

Instrumentation: 2(picc.)2.ca.3.bcl.2-2asx.tsx.bsx.-4.3.3.1-cbs-timp.3perc.

Duration ca. 7′

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Performed at the Kennedy Center by the College of William & Mary Wind Ensemble under Paul Bhasin.

View the score here.

Score and parts available for hire through ECS/Canticle Distribution. For rental quotes contact Caitlin Custer: ccuster(at)ecspublishing(dot)com

Commissioned by the College of William & Mary Wind Ensemble Dabke is an arrangement of the third movement of Kareem Roustom’s A Voice Exclaiming; a work for triple string quartet that was originally commissioned for the Kronos Quartet and Providence R.I. based Community MusicWorks. The wind ensemble version of Dabke was premiered by the William & Marry WindEnsemble on March 29th, 2015 at the Kennedy Center under the direction of Dr. Paul Bhasin.

Dabke is a folk dance and a type line dance from Palestine, Syria and Lebanon, that is typically performed at joyous occasions. The leader of the dance line, called a hawaash, directs the movements of the dancers behind him. There are many variants of this dance that involve men and women and the rhythms that accompany it. This movement is based on a six beat dabke rhythm called sudaasi.

 

Upon Eastern Breezes (2007) This work has been removed from the active repertoire list and is no longer available for performance.

– Instrumentation: Clarinet, Oud, Arabic percussion, Arabic violin, Cello and Orchestra.
Commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Education Department and premiered by the Philadelphia Orchestra February 2007.
Duration 8 minutes.


Choral

Choral:

Untitled Work for SATB & Chamber Orchestra (2017)

Commissioned by Coro Allegro. Work in progress.

Premiere date: March, 2018.

Embroidered Verses (2015)

Instrumentation: S.A.T.B. and takht: Nay (ad lib.) qanun, oud, percussion, violin & cello.

Duration ca. 19 minutes.

Embroidered Verses was commissioned for the Crossings Choir under Donald Nally and the Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture Takht ensemble through a grant from the Pew Trust. The work is a setting of four Arabic Andalusian poems for a western choir and a traditional Arabic ensemble. The poems are a by Ibn Khafaja (11th century Alzira) Um Al-Kiram (11th century Almira) and A-Qazaaz (11th century Almira) as well as an anonymous text.

Watch selected excerpts from the premiere performance (December 5th, 2015) at Bryn Mawr College.

View the score here.

Scores and parts available through ECS Publishing here.

The Son of Man (2011)

Instrumentation: Trumpet, Percussion, Soloists (Soprano, Mezzo Soprano, Alto, Tenor & Bass Baritone) S.A.T.B. & Organ.

Duration ca. 58 minutes

Text by Kahlil Gibran from “Jesus The Son of Man: His words and His deeds as told and recorded by those who knew Him”

A WOMAN, ONE OF MARY’S NEIGHBORS:
A Lamentation (2011)

For mezzo soprano soloist and S.A.T.B. The a capella movement from The Son of Man can be performed as a stand alone work. Duration ca. 5 minutes.

Hot Tea, Mint & Olives (2009)

For S.S.A. & piano. Three movements based on the poetry of Ibtisam Barakaat. Duration ca. 12 minutes

 

Solo/Duo

Aleppo Songs (2016)

Instrumentation: piano solo
Duration ca. 16′

  1. How Beautiful The Light Of The Rising Sun

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  1. Antiochian Hymn

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

III. Oh People Leave Me To My Sorrows

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  1. The Silenced Guardian

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  1. Enough, I Intended To Leave You

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The score is available for purchase here.

This work is a reflection on a number of urban folk songs from Aleppo, known as qudud, as well as original material. All profits from sheet music sales as well as royalties generated from 2016 – 2018 performances will be donated to Doctors Without Borders to support their work in the Middle East. Other aid organizations will also be considered as this is an ongoing project.

Browse the score here.

 

 

Xarja (2016)

Instrumentation: Soprano & Percussion
Duration ca. 12′

Commissioned by soprano Sonja Tengblad and percussionist Jonathan Hess. Premiere in 2016 T.B.A.

View the score here.

 

 

A Muffled Scream (2013)

Instrumentation: Clarinet & Electronics
Duration ca. 13′

This is work is the latest in a series of solo or duet pieces that are reflections on the ongoing crisis in Syria. The third in this series (the first two are ‘Letters Home’ and ‘Hanjale’) I wrote this piece after hearing about the tremendous suffering of Syrian refugees, especially children, at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.

Score excerpt here.

 

Hanjale (2012)

Instrumentation: solo Cello (or solo Mandolin)

Duration ca. 12′

Hanjale (solo cello) – Score

Hanjale (solo mandolin) – Score

Buy scores here.

There is an Arabic saying أول الرقص حنجلة (Awal al-raqs hanjale) which translates to “The dance begins with a prance.” Like most such folk sayings, there are often multiple meanings attributed to them. Generally, this saying can be understood to mean something that begins with a small gesture turns into something much larger. This of course can allude to positive and negative outcomes. This work, a challenging and rewarding work for solo mandolin, explores this concept by using small Arabic music influenced gestures to let the dance unfold as it will.

Score available through ECS Music.

 

Letters Home (2011)

Instrumentation: Clarinet & Viola (Also available for Clarinet & Cello, Violin & Cello)

Buy score here.

Composed for the inaugural concert of the Brunel Insititute for Contemporary Middle Eastern Music
Premiered: July 6th 2011 London, U.K.
Duration ca. 6 minutes

View score here.

Score and parts available through ECS Music.

 

 

 

Amar Es Combatir (2007)

Instrumentation: Alto, Viola & Piano

Duration 7 minutes

Premiered by the Ibis Camerata March 2009.

More solo/duo works coming soon.

 

Arrangements & Transcriptions

Arrangements & transcriptions

Three Rivers (2011)

Instrumentation:
Nay, Clarinet in Bb, Oud, Qanun
Percussion(2) (Frame Drums, Riqq & Dumbek)
Yayli Tanbur doubling on Arabic Violin
Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello & Contrabass
I. Mayr Araxi Aperov (traditional Armenian) – anonymous
II. Evç Ilahi’Uyaney Gözlerim Gafletden Uyan’
Sultan Murad 1612-1640 (Turkey)
III. Al-Nahr Al-Khaled ‘The Eternal River’
Mohammad Abdel Wahaab 1902-1991 (Egypt)

Duration ca. 15 minutes

Three Rivers

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Browse the score here.

To purchase score please e-mail: publishing(at)kr-music(dot)com


Bernard Herrmann – Overture to North by Northwest (2012) transcribed for string quartet. Duration ca. 4 minutes.

John Field – Nocturne 4 (solo piano) (2010) transcribed for string quartet. Duration ca. 6 minutes.

Three Klezmer Dances – (2009) for violin, tambourine & strings or clarinet, tambourine & strings.


Bela Bartok – Roumanian Folk Dances (2011) transcribed for solo violin & string quartet. Duration ca. 5 minutes.

 

Classical Arabic Compositions

 

Classical Arabic Music Compositions:

The Sama’i is a classical Arabic musical form that dates back to 16th century Ottoman music. A Sama’i is often performed as an instrumental introduction to a vocal suite of classical songs. Here are two offerings with my own interpretation of the genre.

Sama’i Hijazkar – Recorded in 2009 at the Concord Library Concert Series. Kareem Roustom – Oud, Michel Moushabeck – Percussion

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Sama’i Nahwand – Recorded Live at the Kennedy Center 2005. Kareem Roustom – Oud, Hanna Khoury – Solo Violin with the Chicago Classical Oriental Ensemble.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.