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Mohammed Fairouz: Cross-Cultural Counterpoint

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Published on Feb 27, 2012

Mohammed Fairouz retains an optimistic outlook as he aspires to create music that carries a larger social meaning. And the 26-year-old composer has managed to garner an extraordinary array of performances for his deeply charged music all over the country—from over 100 art songs to a nearly 80-minute symphony for orchestra, soloists, and a nearly 100-voice chorus. The urgent message that comes across in Fairouz's music is one of inclusivity and a broadening of cultural horizons. An important source for his music has been his own Arab heritage—he grew up hearing legendary singers Umm Kulthum and Fairuz (no relation) alongside Mozart and Beethoven. In a conversation with Frank J. Oteri for NewMusicBox, Fairouz even describes Schubert—with whom he deeply identifies—as an "Arabic composer" because of Schubert's devotion to the primacy of the melodic line, also a hallmark of Middle Eastern music. But the American-born Fairouz would contend that his aesthetics are more symptomatic of the multicultural society we now live in.

Read the full interview: newmusicbox.org/?p=12396

Video presentation by Molly Sheridan

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