The music of Canadian-American composer Karim Al-Zand (b.1970) has been called “strong and startlingly lovely” (Boston Globe). His compositions are wide-ranging in influence and inspiration, encompassing solo, chamber, vocal, and orchestral works. From scores for dance, to compositions for young people, to multidisciplinary and collaborative works, Al-Zand’s music is diverse in both its subject matter and its audience. It explores connections between music and other arts, and draws inspiration from varied sources such as graphic art, myths and fables, folk music of the world, film, spoken word, jazz, and his own Middle Eastern heritage. Al-Zand’s music has enjoyed success in the United States, Canada, and abroad, and he is the recipient of several national awards, including the Arts and Letters Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is a founding and artistic board member of Musiqa, Houston’s premier contemporary music group. In his scholarly work, he has pursued several diverse areas of music theory, including topics in jazz, counterpoint, and improvisation. Al-Zand was born in Tunis, Tunisia, raised in Ottawa, Canada and educated at McGill University and Harvard. Since 2000 he has taught composition and music theory in Houston at the Shepherd School of Music, Rice University.


The Leader

Release Date: September 9, 2022
Catalog Number: NV6469
21st Century
Vocal Music
Large Ensemble
THE LEADER from Canadian-American composer Karim Al-Zand is at once timeless and also deeply relevant for the age we live in. A commentary on the rise of fascist tyranny, its titular piece tells the story of a buffoonish charlatan who is adored despite his ridiculous behavior, echoing concerns of the modern day in this chamber opera based on Eugene Ionesco's 1953 satire Le Maître. Another vocal work, Songs from the Post Truth Era similarly comments on the political realities (or unrealities) of our time. The album features several other chamber works by Al-Zand including his Six Bagatelles, with music inspired by the art of Robert Motherwell (1915–1991).