Composer, Pianos for Peace
Hailed by BBC WorldNews as “an acclaimed pianist”, the music of German born, Syrian-American composer and pianist Malek Jandali has been described as “moving and thought provoking” by Bob Stevenson of NPR and “inspiring” by the Huffington Post. His most recent symphony was described by Thomas Ludwig of the LSO as a “new symphonic mastery that was clearly not brought about only by a reaction to contemporary events, but also by sustained contact with the well-springs of polyphonic elegant music.”
Malek’s hit album “Echoes from Ugarit” was recorded in Moscow with The Russian Philharmonic Orchestra and released in 2008. It includes original compositions based on the oldest music notation in the world discovered on a clay tablet in the ancient Mediterranean city of Ugarit. His 2012 album “Emessa” has received critical acclaim in major newspapers and is “hauntingly beautiful” according to The Stream AJ America.
Malek was the recipient of the 2011 “Freedom of Expression” award in Los Angeles and was recognized in New York City with the 2012 Arab-American Cultural Achievement Award. He was honored with the 2013 GUSI Peace Prize for his dedication to peace and the humanitarian causes featured in his 2013-2014 world tour “The Voice of the Free Syrian Children”. Malek was the recipient of the 2014 Global Music Humanitarian Award and in 2015, The Carnegie Corporation of New York honored him as a Great Immigrant, joining the ranks of other great American immigrants such as Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman and Ambassador Samantha Power.
Malek’s compositions not only integrate Middle-Eastern modes into Western classical forms and harmony, they echo UNESCO’s call to preserve and protect the rich cultural heritage of Syria and the Silk Road at a time when it is being eradicated. They range from chamber music to large-scale orchestral works including three symphonies and concertos for violin and piano. His compositions have been performed by numerous leading orchestras such as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, The Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, The Stockholm Solister, and the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra. David Firman of the RPO describes Jandali’s music as “gorgeous, haunting, yearning and full of hope, with a pain more personal than that of Tchaikovsky or Rachmaninoff.”
His album “SoHo” was premiered on January 31, 2015 at Carnegie Hall. Featuring The Malek Jandali Trio and his chamber works for piano, oud and cello, “SoHo” is a departure from his previous albums. While it honors the rich heritage of traditional Syrian and Andalusian music and masterpieces of world poetry, it is clearly influenced by the American spirit of creativity and artistic self-expression. From the Silk Road, to Little Syria to SoHo, this album is a continuation of Jandali’s musical journey.
In 2015 Malek released his album “Syrian Symphony” at Carnegie Hall, described by Fanfare Magazine as “a major new addition to the 21st century’s symphonic literature.” American Record Guide hailed the album as having “heart-rending melodies, lush orchestration, clever transitions and creative textures.” The Syrian children were the inspiration for his second symphony, Luminosity, which was premiered on February 6, 2016 by the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and released in 2017 on his latest album also featuring “Symphony No. 3, Hiraeth”
His causes go beyond those of humanitarian activism, as he is regularly recognized by and invited to speak to key academic audiences at Harvard University, the Skoll World Form, Duke University, Aspen Ideas Festival and the United Nations headquarters in New York City and the Doha Debates at Georgetown University in Qatar. Malek’s diverse career remains truly international, as he continues to captivate audiences in concerts throughout North America and Europe at such prestigious venues as the Kennedy Center, Wiener Konzerthaus, Stockholm Konserthuset and the National Auditorium in Madrid with the Queen of Spain in attendance.
Jandali is a magna cum laude graduate of Queens College and received his MBA from The University of North Carolina. In addition to his demanding tour schedule, he is a strong advocate for peace and human rights. He is the founder and CEO of Pianos for Peace, a non-profit organization dedicated to building peace through music and education. He embraces young talent through the Malek Jandali International Youth Piano Competition. Malek makes his home in both New York City and Atlanta, and is a member of The Recording Academy and The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). His music is published by Soul b Music and his albums are available on iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon and at Virgin Megastores worldwide.