Award-Winning Composer in Residence at NIU

Syrian-born award-winning composer Kareem Roustom is coming to the NIU School of Music on September 9 for a two-day residency program. Steeped in the musical traditions of the Arab Near East and trained in Western music, Roustom is a musically bi-lingual composer who has collaborated with a wide variety of artists ranging from the Philadelphia Orchestra to Shakira. His recent concert music works include “Resonances” for Arabic violin, cello, hand percussion and string quartet (commissioned by Philadelphia Orchestra cellist Ohad Bar-David) and “The Son of Man” a large-scale choral work, spanning almost 70 minutes, and is set to text by Khalil Gibran. As an active composer of film music, Roustom has scored a number of short and feature-length films including the award-winning “Amreeka” (Sundance & Cannes Festivals). Of his score for“Amreeka” the Hollywood Reporter wrote "Kareem Roustom's Middle Eastern-flavored score contributes greatly" and of his recent score to the documentary "Budrus" (2010) Variety Magazine wrote "A strong string, wind and percussion score by Kareem Roustom adds to the momentum and underlines key moments." His film music honors and awards include BMI’s Pete Carpenter Film Music Fellowship, The Sundance Film Composers Lab Fellowship, the Best Musical Score Award from the 2006 Bend International Film Festival for his score to “Encounter Point” (2005), and most recently his score for Brittany Huckabee's PBS documentary "The Mosque in Morgantown" was been nominated for an Emmy Award in the Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Music & Sound ("The Mosque in Morgantown" Official Trailer may be found here).
The events of Roustom’s residency include lectures,workshops, seminars, demonstrations, and concert performance on Arabic music in both traditional and modern global contexts with the primary focus on his skillful intermingling of traditional musical elements of his native culture, Western musical idioms, and contemporary movie scores. Selected films to his credits as composer will be shown. The following is a list of the events:

9/09 (Thursday) 11:00-11:50 pm, Boutell Memorial Concert Hall All-School Convocation. Lecture “Behind the Scene: A Composer’s Role in Filmmaking.”

9/09 (Thursday) 5:30-7:00 pm, MB#241, Workshop & Master class with the Middle Eastern Music Ensemble.

9/10 (Friday) 10:00-10:50 am, MB#202, Lecture and Demonstration on “Traditional Arabic Music: micro-tone system and maqam.”

9/10 (Friday) 2:00-2:50 pm, MB#202. Seminar with NIU Musicology/Ethnomusicology Graduate Students on the topic “Oriental and Occidental, Traditional and Modern: A Dialogue in Between.”

9/10 (Friday) 3:00-3:50 pm, MB#202. Seminar with NIU Composition Students.

9/10 (Friday) 6:30-7:30 pm. Recital Hall. Concert/Performance.

All events are open to the public. For more information, please contact Dr. Jui-Ching Wang at

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