New Initiatives

The National Arab Orchestra is dedicated to new music initiatives that build a stronger community by creating opportunities for dialogue and cultural introspection.

Building Bridges Through Music:

The Building Bridges Through Music (“BBTM”) program is designed to teach students about the beauty and richness of the Arab culture while providing opportunities for cultural understanding and enrichment, and is made possible by a grant from the Knight Foundation.


Haflah! Arab Fusion Fest combines the musical talents of the Michigan Philharmonic and the National Arab Orchestra, with special guest composers Kareem Roustom and Wael Binali. This collaborative fusion of culture and music highlights Detroit’s diverse community, emphasizing Western and Middle Eastern traditions and instruments, the Haflah! Fusion Fest featured collaborative performances and the world premiere of Emmy-nominated Kareem Roustom’s specially commissioned composition for the event.

MidEast x MidWest:

The Toledo Symphony partnered with the National Arab Orchestra to present an evening of cultural celebration. Sara Jobin, Toledo Symphony Resident Conductor, joined Maestro Michael Ibrahim of the National Arab Orchestra to present a concert program featuring world-renowned opera singer and Syrian refugee Lubana Al-Quntar among a variety of exciting and distinctive musical styles. The performance featured the piece “Dialogue,” which has only been performed in public once before and includes a student chorus of singers from Toledo Public Schools.

America the Beautiful:

In partnership with the University of Toledo and the first event of UT’s 40th Annual Spring Festival of New Music, the National Arab Orchestra Takht Ensemble and the University of Toledo Organ Trio along with Dr. Ellie Martin performed a concert titled, “America the Beautiful.” The program included selections of traditional Arab music blended with elements of traditional and improvisatory instrumental and vocal jazz. The program also included the premiere of a few new works written specifically for the event.

The Films of Mohamed Bayoumi:

The Arab American National Museum’s Global Fridays series and the Detroit Institute of Arts’ Friday Night Live united for the first time with the National Arab Orchestra for the world preimiere of an original score written by NAO founder/director Michael Ibrahim. The performance took place at the DIA, and was performed by the NAO Takht Ensemble.