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Arabic music virtuoso Simon Shaheen plans BYU performance March 15

Simon Shaheen, one of the most significant Arab musicians, performers and composers of his generation, will be performing at Brigham Young University Thursday, March 15, at 7:30 p.m. in the de Jong Concert Hall.

Tickets can be purchased at the Fine Arts Ticket Office, (801) 422-4322 or at

Shaheen’s technique, melodic ingenuity and unparalleled grace on the ‘oud and violin have earned him international acclaim. His work incorporates and reflects a legacy of Arabic music while forging new frontiers, embracing many different styles in the process.

A Palestinian born in the village of Tarshiha in Galilee in 1955, Shaheen’s childhood was steeped in music. He began playing the ‘oud at the age of five and a year later began studying the violin at the Conservatory for Western Classical Music in Jerusalem.

After graduating from the Academy of Music in Jerusalem in 1978, Shaheen was appointed as the school’s instructor of Arab music, performance and theory. Two years later he moved to New York City to complete his graduate studies in performance at the Manhattan School of Music, and later in performance and music education at Columbia University.

In 1982, Shaheen formed the Near Eastern Music Ensemble in New York, establishing a group that would perform the highest standard of traditional Arab music. His numerous concert credits include Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Cairo’s Opera House, Theatre de la Ville in Beirut and Belgium’s Le Palais des Arts.

As a composer, Shaheen has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts; Meet the Composer, the Jerome Foundation, Continental Harmony, and Yellow Springs Institute.

For more information, contact Ken Crossley at (801) 422-9348,, or

Writer: Melissa Connor

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