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 company with 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 at on Facebook and Instagram, too!

Rehearsals & Performances

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

2022-23 concerts:

  • Sunday, January 8, 5:00 p.m., The Turkish Concert
  • Sunday, February 26, 2:00 p.m. & 5:00 p.m., The Persian Concert
  • Saturday, May 20, 7:00 p.m., The Arab Concert


In lieu of auditions, the Middle East Music Ensemble hosts an open rehearsal and information session at the beginning of Autumn Quarter. 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.