Iraqi artist Naseer Shamma is a distinguished oud player. Born in 1963 in Kut, Iraq, he graduated from the Institute of Music Studies in Baghdad in 1987 and went on to earn a doctorate in musical philosophy. It marked the beginning of a long list of achievements in his musical career and specifically on the oud.
Recognized with more than 60 awards, he has won the honors of the Iraqi artist syndicate for three consecutive years from 1988 to 1990, best Iraqi artist in 1994, the 1998 Royal British Academy Award, the Rotterdam Arab Festival Award and many more.
From the mid-’80s, Shamma began exporting his musical culture through memorable performances in Paris, London, Germany, Switzerland and others, establishing himself as a leading maestro on the international music scene. After releasing albums in Italy, United Kingdom, Egypt and Algeria, he has written more than 60 compositions that reflect his musical vision.
In 1999, Shamma went on to launch the Arab Oud House in Cairo, where he would orchestrate and manage the advancement of oud students. The Arab Oud House has since been established in Abu Dhabi in 2008, Alexandria in 2011 and Baghdad in 2018; all continue to be overseen by Shamma himself. Graduates of the Arab Oud House gain the opportunity of performing with Shamma in concerts worldwide as part of the Arab Oud House Orchestra.
Shamma has taken great interest in orchestral music with dozens of performances alongside prominent ensembles such as the Orchestre Métropolitain of Montreal and with leading jazz artists such as Wynton Marsalis, the Lebanese National Orchestra of Oriental-Arab Music and his own Global Ensemble, a group of leading Western musicians, united for peace and justice and recently rebranded as the Peace Builders. In 2000, Shamma founded the 2350BC Orchestra with some of the most prominent graduates of the Oud House and renowned guest musicians to perform shows worldwide. He is also the founder of Eastern Orchestra, which includes 75 musicians from the far-east MENA and European regions.
Throughout his career, Shamma has tirelessly fought for human rights. In addition to his work for the preservation of human heritage, he currently serves as ambassador to the Non-Violence Project, the International Federation of Red Crescent/Cross Societies and UNESCO.
Please note: Biographies are based on information provided to the CSO by the artists or their representatives. More current information may be available on websites of the artists or their management.