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Simon Shaheen

Virtuoso in Arabic music, oud and violin master.

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Date of Birth:



Tarshiha, Galilee, Palestine

Place of Birth:

Why Featured?

Simon Shaheen is a celebrated musician who has masterfully blended traditional Arabic music with Western classical and jazz, making significant contributions to world music and the preservation and evolution of Arabic musical heritage.

Brief bio

Simon Shaheen, a virtuoso on both the violin and oud, has gained international acclaim for his fusion of Arabic music with various Western styles. Born into a musical family, he was profoundly influenced by his father, an accomplished composer and musician. Shaheen's work reflects a deep legacy of Arabic music while innovating within the genre, earning him worldwide recognition and numerous awards.

Major Milestones


  • 1955: Born in Tarshiha, Galilee to a musical family.

  • 1978: Earned degrees in Arabic literature and musical performance from the Academy of Music in Jerusalem.

  • 1980: Moved to New York for doctoral study in music performance and education.

  • 1982: Established the Near East Music Ensemble in New York.

  • 1996: Established the Arab Music Retreat in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

  • Fusion of Arabic and Western Music: Shaheen specializes in blending traditional Arabic music with Western classical and jazz...See More

  • Establishment of Music Ensembles: Founded the Near Eastern Music Ensemble and Qantara, promoting Arabic music in diverse musical contexts...See More

  • Music Education and Outreach: Dedicated to teaching and working with prestigious schools and universities, sharing his expertise in Arabic music...See More

  • Soundtrack Contributions: Contributed to soundtracks for films like "The Sheltering Sky" and "Malcolm X," and composed the entire soundtrack for the UN-sponsored documentary "For Everyone Everywhere"...See More

  • Innovative Recordings and Performances: Released several influential albums and has been recognized for his innovative work in music, including receiving the National Heritage Award in the United States.

Date of Last Update: 
December 14, 2023

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