Rami Khalifé

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Rami Khalifé
Rami Marcel Khalife.jpg
Background information
Born (1981-09-25) September 25, 1981 (age 37)
Beirut, Lebanon
Occupation(s)Composer, artist, pianist
Years active1995–present

Rami Khalifé (born September 25, 1981) is a French-Lebanese composer, pianist and artist. Born into a musical Lebanese family in Lebanon, he lived in Beirut before emigrating during the Lebanese civil war and becoming a French citizen.

Described as one of the most exciting composers of his generation; In October 2011, the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, under the conductorship of James Gaffigan, premiered Khalifé's 'Chaos', for orchestra and piano, with Khalife at the helm as a soloist.[1][2] In February 2013, Rami Khalife's Arab Spring-inspired 'Requiem' was premiered by the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra and The Leipzig Radio Choir, to great critical acclaim.[3]

Rami Khalife actively tours his eclectic musical projects across the US, South America, Asia, Canada, Europe, Australia, performing in such venues as the Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C., USA), the Sydney Opera House (Sydney), Opera House (Doha, Qatar), Place des Arts (Montreal, Canada), Dar el Opera (Damascus, Syria), Queen Elizabeth Hall (London), Salle Pleyel (Paris, France) UNESCO Palace (Beirut, Lebanon).

Rami Khalife is married to journalist and presenter Mariam Saab, they have two children.


He resumed his musical training in Paris, France at the Conservatoire National de Région de Boulogne-Billancourt under the direction of Alfred Herzog, who described Rami Khalifé as a prodigious talent, "one is struck by the contrast between the attenuated silhouette on the one hand, and the rich and coloured sound on the other. His musical imagination and his extraordinary improvisations are a joy to those who listen to him."[citation needed]

It was at the conservatoire that Rami Khalifé studied under the likes of Louis Claude Thirion and Marie Paule Siruguet, He enriched his studies with private tutelage at the hand of international pianist Abd El Rahman El Bacha.

Rami Khalifé pursued his higher education at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. Hungarian pianist, Gyorgy Sandor, Béla Bartók's disciple, mentored the young student. It was at Juilliard that he acquired a taste for improvised performances. He began to break away from the archetype of a 'classical pianist' and emerge as something more. Rami Khalifé began playing alongside Juilliard alumnus, pianist and fellow renegade Francesco Tristano, forging an enduring collaborative relationship and friendship. Together they performed several improvised concerts for piano-duo, a first in Juilliard's history.



Aufgang blend pianos, live drums, and techno-inspired electronics into invigorating displays of virtuosity, which evoke the club and the conservatory without really belonging to either one. Their name is German for "stairway"—an intermediate place, neither here nor there. Given to singing out ecstatically, Aufgang's self-titled debut highlights the emotional extravagance these two different worlds have in common. Aufgang's dual education, in the nightclub and the academy, shows in the historical and stylistic range of their music. [Pitchfork].

Rami Khalifé has toured Europe and the Middle East as part of electro-classic group Aufgang.[4] The trio- Rami Khalifé, Francesco Tristano Schlimé and Aymeric Westrich, have featured at festivals all over the world, including, Sonar (Barcelona, Spain), L.E.V. Festival (Gijon, Spain), Berghain (Berlin, Germany), La Roque-D'antheron (Southern France), Beirut Music & Art Festival (Beirut, Lebanon). Aufgang performed live for Radio France and ARTE.

In early 2014, Aufgang announced that the group was parting ways with Francesco Tristano.

Marcel, Rami and Bachar Khalife[edit]

In 2011, a new familial collaboration debuted at the Beirut Music & Art Festival under the banner of 'Marcel, Rami & Bachar Khalife'. The concert showcased a fusion of oriental, electronic, classical and percussion music composed by the trio. The collaboration was critically acclaimed[citation needed]. The father-son trio presented a high-energy intermingling of the oud, piano and percussion, shrouded within the frisson of electronic synthesizers and korg keyboards.

The debut of Marcel, Rami & Bachar Khalife's at the Beirut Music & Art Festival 2011 concert sent shock waves through Beirut, with many commentators championing the collaborative performance as 'a revolution in music'[citation needed]. The 2-hour concert was broadcast on MTV.

"They came together through music. Through their fondness for innovation and their desire to transcend boundaries. They came together through an awareness, surrounded by hazards. They bonded in world's of musicality and humanity, resonating between poles of attraction and contention, between, love and opposition. They are inspired by the freedom to choose and experiment; to travel, carrying their memories, to new places resplendent with the colors of life and humanity. Marcel, Rami, and Bachar Khalifé are engaged today in a new journey of togetherness and joint artistic work that began in the year 2000 when both Rami and Bachar joined Al Mayadine Ensemble that Marcel established in the late 1970s.

It has been a rich journey, one that's allowed both Rami and Bachar to draw, both, inspiration and an artistic identity from this rich musical reservoir. While receiving they gave, both Rami and Bachar have left an indelible imprint on their father's work. Today's work is a distinct creative work marking a milestone along this path, as it bears compositions by Bachar, Rami, and Marcel in a new garb fashioned by all three, who participated in the design, execution, and performance – singing, playing, and artistic expression. The oud, piano, and percussion engage in a conversation of melody, playfulness, noisemaking, or love – elements that the three artists have long explored – traversing their entire range of dynamic extremes, from shouting to whispering, from an outpouring of passion to a diffident reserve . . . to the last note" – Marcel, Rami and Bachar Khalife.


Rami Khalifé received several awards, most notable among them Radio France, UFAM and Claude Kahn piano competitions. In 2009 the Lebanese Social Ministry honored him with a plaque of recognition for his efforts in raising the profile of de-mining initiatives and his advocacy for peace through music. Rami Khalife's latest work 'Chaos' was sponsored by the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture


While best known for his re-envisioning of the classics, Rami Khalifé has featured as a soloist alongside world orchestras, including among others, Globalis Orchestra (Russia), the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, Liverpool Orchestra (UK) and Pau Bearn Orchestra (France).

Rami Khalifé has performed new repertoire from contemporary composers, the most recent of which was the Lebanese composer Abdullah Al Masri's piano concerto with both the Liverpool Orchestra and the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra.

In 2011, he performed at the ending ceremony for the international piano festival 'La Roque d'Antheron' alongside Francesco Tristano in Bach double concerto in c-minor. The performance was broadcast live on ARTE France.

An active performer alongside composer and Oud player Marcel Khalifé, Rami Khalifé has performed fusion Arabic music in the North America, South America, Asia, Canada, Europe, Australia, in such venues as, the Kennedy Center (Washington, USA), the Sydney Opera House (Sydney, Australia), Opera House (Doha, Qatar), Place Des Arts (Montreal, Canada), Dar el Opera (Damascus, Syria), Queen Elizabeth Hall (London), Salle Pleyel (Paris, France), La Marbrerie (Montreuil, France) and UNESCO Palace (Beirut, Lebanon).


Rami Khalifé released:

  • Lost (Nagam Records) 2018
  • Turbulences (Aufgang) 2016
  • Stories (2016)
  • Air on Fire (Aufgang | 2010)
  • Aufgang (Aufgang | 2010)
  • Chaos (2009)
  • Pop Art (Rami Khalifé & Francesco Tristano | 2008)
  • Piano Concertos (Rami Khalife | 2007)
  • Scene from Hellek (2005)
  • Live in Beirut (2002)

And featured on:

  • Concerto Al Andalus (Marcel Khalifé | 2002)
  • Caress (Marcel Khalifé | 2004)
  • Damascus Festival Chamber Players (2008)
  • Aah (Yolla Khalifé | 2011)
  • Oil Slick (Bachar Mar-Khalifé | 2010)
  • Not for Piano (Francesco Tristano)
  • The Green Armchair (Agoria | 2006)


  1. ^ "Rami Khalife_Chaos for piano and orchestra.Part 1". Retrieved July 20, 2014 – via YouTube.
  2. ^ "Rami Khalife_Chaos for piano and orchestra.Part 2". March 26, 2012. Retrieved July 20, 2014 – via YouTube.
  3. ^ "Rami Khalife_Requiem". October 11, 2013. Retrieved January 15, 2015 – via YouTube.
  4. ^ "Aufgang – Sonar". February 20, 2009. Retrieved July 20, 2014 – via YouTube.

External links[edit]