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Musical Instruction at MAQAM® - MARCEL KHALIFE BIO
"Arabic music always goes to the heart. What we are doing is to try to mix the heart and the mind to come out with a new equation."
- Marcel Khalife
More about Marcel Khalife
Marcel Khalife was born in 1950 in Amchit, Mount-Lebanon. He studied the oud (the Arabic lute) at the Beirut National Conservatory, and he continually injects new life into the instrument.

From 1970 to 1975, Marcel Khalife taught at the conservatory and other local institutions. During that same period, he toured the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and the United States, giving solo performances on the oud.

Oud playing was traditionally constrained by strict techniques that governed its play. Highly talented and skillful musicians such as Marcel Khalife were able to free the instrument from those constraints, greatly expanding its possibilities.

In 1972, Marcel Khalife created a musical group in his native village with the goal of reviving its musical heritage and the Arabic chorale. The first performances took place in Lebanon. 1976 saw the birth of Al Mayadine Ensemble. Enriched by the ensemble’s musical experiences, Al Mayadine’s popularity spread well beyond Lebanon. Accompanied by his musical ensemble, Marcel Khalife began a lifelong far-reaching musical journey, performing in Arab countries, Europe, the United States, Canada, South America, Australia, and Japan.

Marcel Khalife has received many invitations to festivals of international fame, such as Baalbeck, Beit Eddine (Lebanon), Carthage, El Hammamat (Tunisia), Timgad (Algeria), Jarash (Jordan), Arles (France), Krems, Linz (Austria), Bremen (Germany), ReOrient (Sweden), Pavia (Italy), and the World Music Festival in San Francisco, New York, and Cleveland (USA).

He has performed in such prestigious halls as the "Palace of Arts" in Montreal, "Symphony Space" and "Merkin Concert Hall" in New York, "Berklee Theatre" and "New England Conservatory" in Boston, "Royal Festival Hall" and "Queen Elizabeth Hall" in London, "UNESCO Palace" of Beirut, Cairo Opera House (Egypt), "Reciprocity", "House of the Cultures of the World" and "UNESCO Hall" in Paris, "Central Dionysia" in Rome, "Yerba Buena" in San Francisco, and "Sõdra Teatern" in Stokholm.

Since 1974, Marcel Khalife has been composing music for dance, giving rise to a new genre of dance, the popular Eastern ballet (Caracalla, Sarab Ensemble, Rimah, and Popular Art Ensemble)

Marcel Khalife has composed soundtracks for film, documentary and fiction, produced, among others, by Maroun Baghdadi and Oussama Mouhamad.

He composed several purely instrumental works like The Symphony of Return, Chants of the East, Concerto Al Andalus, "Suite for Oud and Orchestra", Muda'aba (Caress), Diwan Al Oud, Jadal - Oud Duo, Oud Quartet, Al Samaa in the traditional Arabic forms and Taqasim, duo for oud and double bass.

Marcel Khalife’s compositions have been performed by several orchestras, notably the Kiev Symphony Orchestra, the Academy of Boulogne Billancourt Orchestra, The San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra of the City of Tunis, and the "Absolute Ensemble”.

Since 1982, Marcel Khalife has been writing books on music that reflect his avant-garde compositions and the maturity of his experience. Not only is he an interpreter of music and oud performer, he is also a composer who is deeply attached to the text on which he relies. In his association with great contemporary Arab poets, particularly Palestinian poet par excellence, Mahmoud Darwish, he seeks to renew the character of the Arabic song, to break its stereotypes, and to advance the culture of the society that surrounds it.

His lyrical recordings of sixteen albums include We'oud Min Al Assifa (Promises of the Storm), Ahmad Al Arabi, Ya Mahla Norha (Dreamy Sunrise), Salam Alaik (Peace Be With You), Ode To A Homeland, Rakwit Arab (Arabic Coffeepot), and Muda'aba (Caress).

On his journey, Marcel Khalife invents and creates original music, a novel world of sounds, free of all pre-established rules. This language elevates him to the level of an ambassador of his own culture and to the vanguard of Near Eastern music in search of innovators.
   All Marcel Khalife CDs, DVDs & Books at MAQAM®
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