Rihab Azar is a Syrian Oud Player and music facilitator and a graduate of the Conservatoire of Damascus (2014). She has trained with London’s Wigmore Hall. She was the first woman oudist to solo-perform accompanied by the Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music (2014). In 2016, Arts Council England Recognised Rihab as a musician of “exceptional promise”.
Since 2015, Rihab has performed in the UK as a soloist and with different ensembles and orchestras such as the London Sinfonietta, Cantata Dramatica, The Third Orchestra, Theatre of Voices, and Stile Antico. She has collaborated on several interdisciplinary, compositional, and cross-genre projects and has received several special mentions in the press for live performances and festivals she has played. Her playing was described as “infinitely tender and haunting”- The Arts Desk and her appearance in ENF2021 was described as a “Highlight” – The Guardian.
Alongside a repertoire of “classical” and traditional tunes from the middle-East and North African countries, Rihab has been writing and sharing more of her own oud-centred music. Her compositions have been very well-received and described as “unique and unconventional” in how they present the oud in a fresh, playful, curious way whilst still preserving the core sound characteristics that have come to give the oud its unique presence worldwide.