9th Dec, BalticCfCA, Gateshead(info soon)
Watch previous performances:
London-based Syrian oud player
& Community Workshop Leader
Copyright © 2016-present Rihab Azar
Rihab was born in the Syrian city, Homs to a musical family. Her father, luthier Samir Azar made her first oud and started teaching her when she was 7 years old.
She continued her musical quest later at the Conservatoire of Damascus and was taught by masters of the oud in Syria including Prof. Askar Ali Akbar, Issam Rafea, Mohamad Osman and Ayman Aljesry.
The influences at the Conservatoire included Azerbaijani, Arabic, Turkish and Western
classical music which allowed Rihab an understanding and practice of various genres.
In 2014, She became the first woman oudist to perform accompanied by the Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music. The same year marked her graduation and starting as a teacher’s assistant for music theory subject at the Conservatoire of Damascus.
Rihab was the oud player of the "Syrian Female Oriental Takht" from 2006 until 2015, the year in which she moved to the UK on a scholarship to do a Master's degree in Music Education at IOE, UCL.
Arts Council England recognised her as a musician of "Exceptional Promise" in December 2016, which enabled her to continue her professional pursuit in the UK under the “Migrant Talent” scheme.
Rihab has performed internationally since 2008 and has had memorable collaborations with Cantata Dramatica,London Sinfonietta,The Third Orchestra, Stile Antico, Surge Orchestra and Theatre of the Voice, DK.
She has performed at iconic spaces in the UK such as The Royal Opera House, The Royal Institution, Barbican Centre, The Southbank Centre, King's Place, Wigmore Hall, St.Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, The British Library, The British Museum, Ashmolean Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum.
Rihab has been increasingly writing original music for solo oud, live events, commissions and various interdisciplinary works combining visual arts, story telling, theatre, cinema and radio.
As well as composition, performance, music education & community workshop leading, Rihab has had many contributions as a speaker and a writer in events/platforms addressing issues such as music & social justice, culture, war & migration, decolonisation, equity/diversity/inclusion, intercultural music-making, and education. She was Wigmore Hall's Trainee Music Leader for 2022-23 working in participatory projects at various community settings.
Rihab has contributed as a panelist, practitioner and social advocate to workshops held by Oxford, Cambridge, Westminster Universities, King's College London , & St Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation and Peace. She has a published academic contribution in Migration and Society, Berghahn Journals