Photo by Houssam Mchaiemch

Photo by Houssam Mchaiemch

Wanees Zarour

Composer, arranger and violinist, percussionist, buzuq and oud player. Wanees started his musical journey at the age of seven, and performed in festivals in the US and Internationally.

Wanees’s music has been featured multiple times at the Chicago World Music Festival and others including the Hyde Park Jazz Festival, with several appearances on public radio, including A Praire Home Companion and WBEZ. Also appeared at venues such as the Old Town School, Constellation, Logan Center for the Arts, Chicago Cultural Center, Museum of Contemporary Arts, Walker Center and several others.

As an educator, Wanees has performed or lectured at Universities around the US, including the University of Chicago, DePaul University, Elmhurst College, Illinois Weslayan University, the University of Illinois, Ohio State, Oberlin College and St. Xavier University, to name a few. He also served as faculty at the Old Town School of Folk Music for ten years.

With an extensive background in Middle Eastern music and maqam tradition, in addition to jazz and classical music, Wanees has composed for several ensembles including the Wanees Zarour Ensemble, releasing a full album of originals with the 10 piece ensemble in 2014.

In addition to the East Loop and the Wanees Zarour ensemble, Wanees has performed with renowned musicians such as Issa Boulos, Simon Shaheen, Amir ElSaffar, Latif Bolat and several others.

Wanees currently directs the Middle East Music Ensemble at the University of Chicago, a 60-piece orchestra that performs Arab, Turkish and Persian music. Wanees’s music combines elements of maqam, jazz, funk and latin music with complex grooves.

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