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Home »» Moroccan Of The Month

Hicham Chami  [ August, 2002 ]
Hicham Chami Born in Tetuan, Morocco in 1977, Hicham naturally came to music in his family, where everybody else has an artistic activity. His father, along with his functions at the Moroccan Ministry of Finances, is a violinist, one of the founders of the Moroccan Philharmonic Orchestra. His sister, currently attending the Law School at La Sorbonne, Paris, is also a member of the “Orchestre des Jeunes de la Méditerranée” and the “Orchestre Symphonique des Universités de Paris”. Finally, his mother teaches French in High School in Rabat, is a painter and a craft woman.

Hicham started playing Qanun at the age of eight. By the age of seventeen, he had already won several awards in Morocco, including the prestigious First Prize and the Diploma of Honor, with the distinction of, respectively, High Honors and Honors.

In Morocco, he took part in several concerts and festivals, the most important being “Le Festival des Oudayas”, annually organized by the French Cultural Institute, and the “Festival of Plucked Strings”, organized by renowned Moroccan-Canadian artist and Guitar player Said Laghzaoui.

Along with his regular participation with the Oriental Music Orchestra of the Conservatory, he was an active member of the Quintet of Arabic Music run by the Moroccan Ministry of Cultural Affairs, and the Trio Shahnaz.

At twenty-two years old, Hicham landed on US soil, right in Chicago… mainly to pursue his academic education, an MBA at DePaul University, Kellstadt School of Business, after a bachelor's degree in Marketing from a Moroccan Business school – ISCAE.

Few months later, came the Breakpoint, Simon Shaheen’s Arabic Music Retreat: 70 musicians, from all over the planet sharing the same passion for culture and music. There, he had the opportunity to meet one of his mentors: Simon Shaheen, a wonderful accomplished musician originally from Palestine and now living in NY. He also met the musician who became later on his preferred accompanist: Elisabeth Borgerhoff, pianist-accordionist from Maine. At the retreat, he worked under the direction of Jamal Sinno and Najib Shaheen. Some of the people he met there became partners, to name a few: Neal Collen Clark, Al Gardner, and Yoel Bensimhon, Israeli, originally from Morocco, composer based in NY.

Currently, Hicham plays in two ensembles: Al-Sharq, the repertoire of which is mainly composed of Middle-Eastern folk and classical music, along with original compositions and Titiko, a Jewish ensemble composed of prominent musicians such as pianist Howard Levy, Indian drummer Kalyan Pathak, Mandolin player Stuart Rosenberg, and Hazzan Alberto Mizrahi. He is also a guest artist in several other ensembles all over the US.

Hicham’s last distinction was the “Best instrumentalist of Chicago”, annually awarded by the prestigious Chicago Magazine. Hicham is the first Muslim Arab ever to win such distinction.

For more about Hicham Chami and his instrument, the Qanun, you may visit his website at www.hichamchami.com.




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