Ronnie Malley

Ronnie Malley
Cohort Year: 2023
Advisor(s): Philip V. Bohlman
Research Interests: Arabic and Hebrew; Language and Music in Society; Early Music and Poetry of Al-Andalus; Modal Music Theories from the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia; Arab, Jewish, and South Asian Studies; Theatre and Storytelling
Education: MA, University of Chicago MAPH Two-Year Language Option: Arabic and Hebrew, 2022; BA, DePaul University Global Music Studies, 2017


Ronnie Malley is a multi-instrumentalist musician on oud, guitar, keys, and percussion, a music producer, theater maker, educator, and executive director of Intercultural Music Production. Malley’s professional work and academic research focuses on cultures and various musical styles from the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, and medieval Spain. As a performer, he has worked with several renowned artists and ensembles including Allos Musica, Apollo’s Fire, Diwan al-Han, East Meets Middle East, Eighth Blackbird, Huzam, Lamajamal, Mucca Pazza, Newberry Consort, Picosa, Omar Offendum, Surabhi, University of Chicago Middle East Music Ensemble, and Yves Francois & Rocambu Jazz. As an educator, he directed Arabic language artist residency programs for Chicago Public Schools, taught music for the summer STARTALK Arabic language immersion program at UChicago, worked as an artist researcher with Chicago Arts Partnership in Education (CAPE), and as a theatre teaching artist with Global Voices Initiative. Ronnie was also recipient of the 2023 Chamber Music America Michael Jaffee Visionary Award.

He has also worked as a composer, actor, musician, and sound designer on many regional and international productions including award-winning plays directed by Mary Zimmerman, David Cromer, and Aaron Posner. His credits include: Layalina, The Jungle Book (Goodman Theatre); Mo (Netflix Series); Little Syria co-creator (Brooklyn Academy of Music); The Band’s Visit (North American Tour | Tony and Grammy Award-winning Broadway show); Macbeth (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); The Secret Garden (Court Theatre); The Shroud Maker, The Sultan’s Dilemma (International Voices Project); Scenes From 73 Years (Medina Theatre Collective); American Griot co-author (MVCC/Silk Road Rising | Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Award 2020); A Disappearing Number (Timeline Theatre); Great Expectations (Silk Road Rising/Remy Bumppo | Jeff Nominated for Best Original Music), Ziryab, The Songbird Of Andalusia author and solo performer, Obstacle Course (Silk Road Rising); The White Snake (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Wuzhen Theatre Festival), and Arabian Nights (Lookingglass, Arena Stage, Berkeley Rep Theatres).


  • El Cafécito UChicago Spanish 2022: Ladino Language and Music Lecture and Performance (Presenter)
  • El Cafécito UChicago Spanish 2023: Crossroads in Arabic and Spanish Music and Language (Presenter)
  • UChicago Presents: Simon Shaheen Pre-Concert Lecture 2023 (Presenter)

Teaching Experience

  • Oud Instructor | Earlham College (2023)
  • Global Music Instructor | Chicago Academy for the Arts (2011-2016)
  • Near East Ensemble, Oud, and Percussion | Old Town School of Folk Music (2007-2017)