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Nabil Azzam: An Arab American Maestro of Arab Music

posted on: Jul 28, 2020

Nabil Azzam.

By: Yasmina Hage/ Arab America Contributing Writer

Who is Nabil Azzam:

Nabil Azzam was born in Mjeidel, and raised in a family of musicians who immigrated in from Nazareth, Palestine, in 1948. During his school years, he attended the Terra Sancta school. His father, Salim, is a well-known photographer who plays the “oud”—Arabic guitar. His mother plays the cello. Nabil, the elder son, plays the violin, the younger son the drums, and his three daughters the piano, accordion, and xylophone. Currently, he lives in Los Angeles, California.

Nabil Azzam is accomplished in two musical styles: European classical and influences of the Middle East.


Nabil Azzam, conductor.

Dr. Azzam received a doctorate in music from Nazareth and later a doctorate in music from the University of California—Los Angeles in 1990. He went on to become a composer, producer, talented violinist, and oud player, as well as an excellent performer and world-renowned conductor. Maestro Nabil Azzam founded an orchestra in Nazareth in 1977.

In 2000, the group “Misto”– Multi-Ethnic Star Orchestra (MESTO) formed in the United States. This organization brings together professional non-Arab and Arab musicians from all over Southern California. Over the past 15 years, conductor Azzam has trained several of these musicians in Arabic music. While MESTO’s goal is to preserve Arab music in the United States, the orchestra has also performed at the invitation of major cities, including Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Cairo, Amman, Beirut, and Nazareth.

MESTO includes 50 musicians of different nationalities, some of whom are members of the CBS Orchestra. The group has visited international theatres around the world and has traveled to Japan and the most remote countries in East Asia. The group is widely admired in Europe, the United States, and the Arab World.

Dr. Azam is honored to have played an essential role in introducing Arabic music into mainstream American culture. He founded MESTO in 2001. Therefore, he committed firmly to building a bridge of cultural tolerance and understanding between East and West through music.

You can find the band’s work on Apple music.

Musical Works:

“Ah Ya Zain” by Nabil Azzam.

Master Maestro Azzam has created over 100 musical works and set many poems to music. He is a follower of the most complex oriental musical works, capable of interpreting them all over the world, and especially in the western region. He recorded several CDs, which are currently available all over the world.

Nabil Azzam has recorded for many American singers, and his list of works includes solo instruments, orchestras, ensembles, and sound practices. Azzam mixes Middle Eastern and Western styles by composing in both forms of music.

His works are available on: 

  • Deezer
  • Spotify
  • YouTube 
  • Play music
  • Amazon.

Here is a video of Azzam playing the violin.

“Hello everyone, I’m here with you, Nabil Azzam, from Los Angeles, and I’m on the street dressed like this because now I’m not interested in the corona anymore. Because of him, we don’t know what to do. I came to the street ‘Beethoven’ with my wife, and I’m obviously going to play a music of Beethoven.” 

His personality:

Nabir Azzam is a Palestinian master and believes in justice and peace between nations. He contributed his talent and fame for good causes. He is one of Abdel Wahhab’s closest friends. At the musician’s museum, a section commemorates this strong friendship.

Several heads of state have recognized his peace efforts. He has taught at UCLA, Redlands University, and the University of California—Santa Barbara.


Nazareth: Soirée en l’honneur de Maestro Nabil Azzam

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