Maya Youssef

Maya Youssef is an award-winning Syrian Kanun player from Damascus.

When she was ten years old she began her lifelong musical career with the Kanun at Sulhi Alwadi Music Institute in Damascus, and at the age of 12 she won Best Musician Award in Syria’s youth national music competition.

In 2007 Maya completed her BA in Music from the High Institute of Music & Theatrical Arts in Damascus, where she was trained in classical Arabic, Western, and Azerbaijani Kanun schools by the masters: Salim Sarwa from Syria & Elmira Akhundova from Azerbaijan.

With her talent gaining international prominence, Maya gave vibrant solo performances and founded the Syrian Female Oriental Group (SFOG) in 2003, along with five of her musician colleagues. The SFOG regularly performed at many important events in Syria, as well as in distinguished Asian and European cities. The inspiring and inspired group took their music to Dubai, Beijing, Bologna, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Athens among other vibrant destinations.

In 2007, Maya moved to Dubai to focus on her solo career before being invited to teach at Oman’s Sultan Qaboos University in the Department of Music and Musicology in 2009.

In early 2012, Arts Council England recognized Maya as an Exceptional Talent, which has enabled her to come to London to develop her career.

Her work challenges traditions by composing pieces that blend different cultures and instruments together. Here she plays Vivaldi’s ‘Winter’ with the Syrian National Orchestra:

– Text adapted from the Taqasim music school.