R i h a b
London-based Syrian oud player
Copyright © 2021 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.
Since 2015, Rihab has performed in festivals such
Greenbelt, Journeys International and she debuted
her trio in Wales in September 2017.
Rihab has performed at iconic spaces in the UK and abroad
such as the Barbican, Southbank Centre,King's Place, Wigmore Hall, Lambeth Palace,St. Paul’s Cathedral,The British Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum,Imperial War Museum and at The National Museum of Denmark.
Rihab toured with London Sinfonietta in autumn 2018 and she was selected to be amongst the musicians of the newly-formed "Third Orchestra".
She is touring now with the renowned Stile Antico vocal ensemble in "Songs of Longing and Exile"