The Arab-American composer Mohammed Fairouz is one of the most successful and well-known artistic voices of the new millennium. A firm disbeliever in music just for the sake of music, his compositions often take on deeply political or philosophical themes.
Born and raised in New York City, Fairouz’s parents are both doctors of Palestinian descent who encouraged his musical talents from an early age. By the age of seven he had already begun composing, setting Oscar Wilde’s poem “The True Knowledge” to music. This early effort reveals the beginning of a lifelong obsession with poetry and text which would prove immensely influential on his music, and ultimately fulfill Fairouz’s self-stated goal of creating music which “sparks a deeper kind of listening experience for those who encounter it and, ultimately, a deeper sort of emotional response.”
Fairouz received the bulk of his musical education while studying at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and at New England Conservatory. During this time he was also able to travel all over the world, becoming exposed to the music on five continents, and to study with many of the preeminent living composers including György Ligeti, Gunther Schuller and Richard Danielpour. Fairouz bonded with Ligeti over their shared love of language and continues to hold deep respect for Schuller’s fusion of jazz with Classical music in the 1940s and 50s, calling it “a musical and cultural statement.”