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Marcel Khalife

Renowned Oud Musician, Composer

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Date of Birth:



Amchit, Lebanon

Place of Birth:

Why Featured?

Marcel Khalife, a master oud player and composer, is known for his innovative fusion of traditional Arabic music with modern elements. His work has been influential in both the Arabic music world and beyond, redefining the role and perception of the oud in contemporary music. He has faced and overcome challenges in his career, advocating for freedom of expression and artistic integrity.

Brief bio

Marcel Khalife is a distinguished Lebanese musician, composer, and UNESCO Artist for Peace. He has gained acclaim for his unique approach to playing the oud, blending Middle-Eastern and Western traditions. His works,often inspired by renowned Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, are celebrated for their artistic depth and social relevance.

Major Milestones


  • 1970-1975:Served as a teacher at the Beirut National Conservatory of Music and toured extensively in the Middle East, North Africa,Europeوand the United States​​.

  • 1976:Founded the Al Mayadeen Ensemble, performing worldwide and gaining international recognition​​.

  • Composed music for dance and films, including 'The Black Tents' (1978) and 'Andalusia'...See More

  • 2001: Awarded the National Palestine Medal for Arts and Culture, donating the prize money to the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music in Palestine​​.

  • 2005: Named UNESCO Artist for Peace and received the Lebanese Cedar Medal, the Presidential Award of Lebanon​​.

  • Musical Innovation: Khalife's music inventively marries Middle-Eastern and Western traditions, as seen in over 20 albums like 'Promises of the Storm' (1976) and 'Taqasim

  • Teaching and Influence: He has significantly contributed to the teaching and spread of oud music, both through his work at the Beirut National Conservatory and his international career​​.

  • Advocacy for Freedom of Expression: Actively championed artistic freedom, notably in his legal battles over the song "Oh My Father, I am Yusif,”...See More

  • International Performances: Khalife's music has been performed by orchestras worldwide and he has held concerts in various countries,bringing Arabic music to a global audience​​...See More

  • Collaborations and Recordings: Collaborated with numerous artists and his band Al Mayadeen Ensemble, creating memorable works that blend traditional and contemporary elements​

Date of Last Update: 
January 7, 2024

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