Simon Shaheen

Affiliated Departments

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Career Highlights
  • Violinist and oudist
  • Leader of Qantara World Jazz and Near Eastern Music Ensemble
  • Performances at major performing arts centers in the U.S., Middle East, and Europe
  • Appearances with Quincy Jones, Sting, Dave Brubeck, and the Detroit Symphony
  • Recordings include Blue Flame, Turath, Simon Shaheen Plays Mohammad Abdel Wahab, Tagasim, and Saltanah
  • Publications include "Concerto for Oud and Orchestra and Zafir for Wind Quintet"
  • National Heritage Award
  • United Nations Outstanding Artistic Contribution Award
  • UCLA Honor Award
  • New Jersey and New York State Awards
  • Library of Congress Recording of the Year
In Their Own Words

"I teach violin, cello, and mandolin. And recently, we have incorporated some Middle Eastern instruments, like the oud, the qanun."

"What I'm bringing to Berklee is my experience as a Western classical musician, Arab traditional musician, and this eclectic fusion of music from around the world, which I grew up with. I speak five languages because I grew up with it; it's not like I learned in later stages. So it's part of me. Berklee is the place where I can bring all this experience, because the idea is not to create compartments of music, but to open the walls and let all these experiences seep into each other."

"I'll give you an example: I just finished teaching a violinist. I gave him movement G from a partita by Bach to play. We did scales and arpeggios. We did a maqam, which is the Arabic modal system, with microtones and exercises and two songs based on it. And I also gave him a recorded improvisation to transcribe. This diverse approach to music, I think it's a really fantastic thing for the students at Berklee."