Middle East Music Ensemble

Wanees Zarour, Director

The Middle East Music Ensemble explores a variety of classical, neoclassical, and popular musical forms from throughout the Middle East and embraces compositional and improvisational techniques unique to non-Western musical cultures. Members perform on traditional instruments, often in the company of noted guest artists. No previous experience in the genre is required, but the ability to read music is necessary. Membership in the Middle East Music Ensemble includes undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff of the University, as well as community members who are interested in the art, culture, and music of the region.

Learn more about the Middle East Music Ensemble at meme.uchicago.edu. Follow along on Facebook and Instagram, too!

Rehearsals & Performances

The ensemble rehearses on Thursday evenings, 7:00-9:30 PM, and presents three concerts annually: the Turkish concert in the autumn quarter, the Persian concert in the winter quarter, and the Arab concert in the spring quarter.

2023-24 Concert Dates:

  • Sunday, December 3, 5:00 PM, Logan Center Performance Hall — The Turkish Concert
  • Saturday, February 3, 8:00 PM, Logan Center Performance Hall — Concert with the University Chamber Orchestra
  • Saturday, February 17, 4:00 PM & 7:00 PM, Logan Center Performance Hall — The Persian Concert
  • Sunday, May 19, 5:00 PM, Logan Center Performance Hall — The Arab Concert


Instead of auditions, the Middle East Music Ensemble hosts an open house information session at the beginning of the autumn quarter. This year's session is Thursday, September 28, 7:00-9:00 PM, in the Logan Penthouse 901. All interested musicians as well as intrigued novices are encouraged to attend the information session and will be invited to join the ensemble as space and repertoire allows. If you are interested in participating in the ensemble, you must attend the information session. Please RSVP HERE.