“Embroidered Verses” CD available now

I’m very excited to share the news that a fantastic recording of my new work “Embroidered Verses” for the Crossing Choir, directed by Donald Nally, and the Al-Bustan Takht, directed by Hanna Khoury, is now available here. This is a work that combines my love for the classical Arabic song & poetic form called muwashshahaat and for contemporary choral writing. Also, I’m told that it is one of the most challenge pieces written for a traditional takht (oud, qanun, hand percussion, violin, cello) ensemble.  Don’t take my word for it, have a listen the second of four songs here: Qum Ya Nadim (Arise oh drinking companion) uses a well known muwshshah text that has already been set to music. However, I found the rhythms of the language to be very inspiring and I decided to set it against a 15/8 meter.  The Crossing Choir sang it beautifully and the Al-Bustan Takht performed with passion and precision. If you like what you hear, the CD is available here.

Donald Runnicles to give the US premiere of Ramal for orchestra @the 2016 Grand Teton Music Festival

I’m very honored, grateful and excited that maestro Donald Runnicles and the Grand Teton Festival Orchestra will give the premiere of my Ramal at the 2016 GTMF. Maestro Runnicles is the music director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, where I recently heard him direct a very powerful performance of Lohengrin, the chief conductor at the BBC Scottish Symphony, the principal guest conductor at the Atlanta Symphony and the music director at the GTMF.  Ramal was commissioned by Daniel Barenboim for the West-Eastern Divan and was premiered by that orchestra in 2014 Buenos Aires, the BBC Proms, the Lucerne Festival and the Salzburg Festival. In early 2015 the Malmo Opera orchestra gave the Swedish premiere. Ramal is dedicated to the memory of the late Edward Said.

The performance will take place on August 19th and 20th.

Review of Philadelphia premiere of ‘Embroidered Verses’

This past Sunday, December 5th saw the world premiere of my ‘Embroidered Verses’ for The Crossing choir, under Donald Nally, and the Al-Bustan takht ensemble. It was a very special concert that featured another new work by composer Kinan Abou-Afach and the powerful and emotive voice of Dalal Abu Amneh. David Patrick Stearns described the evening as “West meets East on a lofty plateau” and wrote that “Roustom’s [Embroidered Verses] was particularly adept at sidestepping musical expectation with gestures that would suggest one direction and then hang a left.”  Read the full review here.

I’m also very happy to report that we made a studio recording of both new works, as well as an audio/video recording of the concert. A beautifully designed CD will be available Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture. More details available soon.



‘Tesserae’ for brass quintet to be premiered in Buenos Aires by the West-Eastern Divan Brass

My new work, ‘Tesserae’ for brass quintet, will be premiered on August 2nd in Buenos Aires by the West-Eastern Divan Brass quintet. The premiere will be followed by two more concerts on August 5th & 6th.

Centro Islámico República Argentina / Avenida San Juan 3053.
Domingo 2 de agosto a las 20:30 horas.
Concierto de cámara. Duración aproximada 45’.
Quinteto de metales de la Orquesta West – Eastern Divan

Templo Libertad / Libertad 769.
Miércoles 5 de agosto a las 19:30 horas.
Concierto de cámara. Duración aproximada 45’.
Quinteto de metales de la Orquesta West – Eastern Divan

Catedral Metropolitana / Avenida Rivadavia y San Martín.
Jueves 6 de agosto a las 19:30 horas.
Concierto de cámara. Duración aproximada 45’.
Quinteto de metales de la Orquesta West – Eastern Divan

Programa Musical Conciertos por la Convivencia
(Será el mismo para las tres presentaciones)

Mini Overture, de W. Lutoslawski
Contrapunctus I., de J.S Bach
Locus Iste, de A. Bruckner
Rondo for brass quintet, de Lior Shambadal
Tesserae for brass quintet, de Kareem Roustom
Monunmental Etude, de Steven Verhelst
Kleiner Zirkusmarsch, de Jan Koetsier
Suite Americana, de Enrique Crespo
Estampas de Palermo, de José Carli

More details Details here.

Malmo Opera to give Swedish premiere of Ramal in 2015

February 11, 2015 Swedish premiere of Ramal for orchestra by the Malmo Opera orchestra under maestro Ralf Kircher. Details here. Ramal was originally commissioned by Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in 2014 and was premiered in Buenos Aires. Subsequent performances by maestro Barenboim and WEDO took place at the Lucerne Festival, the BBC Proms and the Salzburg Festival in August of 2014.