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Saad Haddad

New York, NY            

Saad Haddad (b. 1992) is a composer of orchestral, chamber, vocal, and electroacoustic music who achieves a “remarkable fusion of idioms” (New York Times), most notably in his work exploring the disparate qualities inherent in Western art music and Middle Eastern musical tradition. His music delves into that relationship by transferring the performance techniques of traditional Arab instruments to Western symphonic instruments, while extending their capabilities through the advancement of technology.

Mr. Haddad’s orchestral works have been performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra, Illinois Philharmonic, Chicago Composers Orchestra, Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, Symphony in C, Hangzhou Philharmonic, and the symphony orchestras of Albany, Columbus, Milwaukee, New Jersey, Princeton, and Sioux City. He has also received performances by the JACK Quartet, Lydian String Quartet, Locrian Chamber Players, Society for New Music, and Utah Arts Festival, and his works have been performed abroad in China, Austria, Germany, Brazil and Canada.

Recent distinctions include the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Barlow Endowment General Commission, S&R Foundation Washington Award Grand Prize, Jerome Fund for New Music grant from the American Composers Forum, Palmer Dixon Award from The Juilliard School, Aaron Copland Residency Award, and multiple awards from ASCAP, BMI, and the Vancouver Chamber Choir. He has been in residence at the Millay Colony for the Arts, Ucross Foundation, Bogliasco Foundation, Studios of Key West, Soundstreams Composer Workshop, and Luzerne Music Center.

Born in the state of Georgia and raised in California, Saad Haddad holds degrees in composition from The Juilliard School and the University of Southern California, where his principal teachers included John Corigliano, Mari Kimura, Bruce Broughton, Frank Ticheli, Stephen Hartke, and Donald Crockett. He divides his time between Los Angeles and New York, where he currently serves as a Dean’s Fellow at Columbia University and the 2019-2021 Young Concert Artists Composer-in-Residence.

Clarinet Concerto

This Clarinet Concerto is the latest chapter of my output that fuses my love for all things orchestral, technological, and ancestral. I composed this work from January to October 2019 on both coasts of the U.S., though it more aptly relates to a region and tradition that is mostly unfamiliar to America and the rest of the West: that of the Middle East and its rich tradition of classical Arab music. It was written for Kinan Azmeh and commissioned by the Princeton Symphony Orchestra and the Barlow Endowment at BYU.

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String Quartet, II. Fugha

Fugha, or ‘fugue’ in Arabic, borrows its structure from the harmonic motion of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Fugue in F-sharp minor, BWV 859, from Book 1 of The Well-Tempered Clavier. I have always wondered what it might have been like if Bach was born in Alexandria, rather than Eisenach, and what harmonic discoveries of sorts he might have made in pursuit of his perfect counterpoint.

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Takht (‘ensemble’ in Arabic), describes the typical Middle Eastern musical group that consists of most of the traditional instruments used in Arabic music, including the oud, qanun, kamanjah, ney, riqq, and darbakeh. In a way, the instrumentation for this work is the Western equivalent of that ensemble, employing one of each of the most commonly used instruments in the full symphony orchestra.

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