Watch recent performances:
London-based Syrian oud player
Copyright © 2022 Rihab Azar. All Rights Reserved.
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, sponsored by
the Foreign and Common Wealth Office, to study
Music Education at University College London.
Arts Council England recognised her as a musician
of "Exceptional Promise" in December 2016, which
allowed her to continue her professional pursuit
in the UK under the “Migrant Talent” scheme.
Rihab has toured internationally since 2008 and has had memorable collaborations with Cantata Dramatica,London Sinfonietta,The Third Orchestra, Stile Antico and soon will be touring with Theatre of the Voices, DK.
She has performed at iconic spaces in the UK and abroad such as the Royal Opera House, Barbican Centre, Southbank Centre,King's Place, Wigmore Hall, Lambeth Palace,St.Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, The British Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum,Imperial War Museum and at The National Museum of Denmark.
Rihab has been increasingly writing original music for solo oud and various interdisciplinary contexts combining visual arts, story telling, theatre and radio plays.
She is a well sought-after consultant in matters of music education, intercultural music-making, diversity and inclusion.