Naseem Alatrash

Assistant Professor
Affiliated Departments
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Naseem Alatrash is a cellist, composer, and educator. Alatrash's tone as an instrumentalist has been described as "particularly lustrous" by the Chicago Tribune, and his performances include a mix of improvisation and traditional melodies with a focus on traditional Arabic music, contemporary classical music, and jazz.

While he tours performing his own music, Alatrash is also a member of multiple ensembles, including the Global Messengers with Grammy-winning pianist Danilo Pérez, the Grammy-winning string quartet Turtle Island Quartet, and the award-winning Amir ElSaffar's Rivers of Sound Orchestra. He has appeared at numerous international festivals, including the Newport Jazz Festival, the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival, the Panama Jazz Festival, the Abu Dhabi Music Festival, Lebanon’s Zouk Mikael International and Beit Aldeen festivals, and Jerash Festival to name a few. He has performed at such notable venues as the Kennedy Center, the Lincoln Center, the NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Center, the Royal Opera of Oman, the Royal Albert Hall, and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, among many others. He has performed alongside world-renowned musicians, including Roger Waters, Terri Lyne Carrington, Steve Vai, Simon Shaheen, Alejandro Sanz, Carmine Rojas of David Bowie, and many others.

As an educator, Alatrash is the director of the Arab Music Ensemble at Tufts University in Massachusetts and the director of the Global Folk Traditions Ensemble at Longy School of music. He has also given numerous workshops around the world.

Alatrash was named a 2021 Music Composition Fellow by the Massachusetts Cultural Council for his exceptional composition work. Alatrash received grants from the Boston Foundation Live Arts Boston and the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, and has received international acclaim from global media for his musical arrangement/production of a cover of the Beatles song “Drive My Car.” The cover song was a collaboration with Public Radio International’s radio show The World and Berklee, and he arranged/adapted the Beatles song with an Arabic twist. Alatrash has been awarded String Player of the Year twice from the National Music Competition of Palestine.

Career Highlights
  • Founder of the Bright Colors on a Dark Canvas project
  • Massachusetts Cultural Council Music Composition Fellow 2021
  • Cellist for the Turtle Island Quartet
  • Performances alongside Roger Waters, Steve Vai, Danilo Pérez, Simon Shaheen, Terri Lyne Carrington, Eugene Friesen, Terrence Blanchard, Kenny Aronoff, and more.
  • Performances at renowned venues and concert series in more than 40 countries, including the London Jazz Festival, BBC Proms London, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall CityWide Series, Boston Celebrity Series, Kennedy Center, Bimhuis and Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Newport Jazz Festival, the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival, Detroit Jazz Festival, Panama Jazz Festival, Abu Dhabi Music Festival, Lebanon’s Beit Aldeen Festival, Aix-en-Provence Festival, Jordan's Jerash Festival, Wigmore Hall, Koerner Hall, University of Michigan Ann Arbor Music Series, NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Center, and the Royal Opera of Oman to name a few.
  • First-prize winner for the Palestine National Music Competition
  • Massachusetts Cultural Council Music Composition Fellowship 2021
  • Boston Foundation's Live Arts Boston 2020, 2021 Grantee
  • Arab Fund for Arts and Culture 2020 Grantee
  • A M Qattan Foundation Grantee
  • Two-time winner of the Palestine National Music Competition
  • Full Presidential Scholarship, Berklee College of Music
  • Full Scholarship, Berklee Global Jazz Institue
  • M.M., Berklee College of Music, contemporary performance in global jazz concentration, 2016–2017 
  • B.M., Berklee College of Music, performance, 2010–2014 
  • Diploma, Edward Said National Conservatory, 2002–2010