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2022 Competition Winner


Sami Seif

Sami Seif is a Lebanese composer, music theorist, and pianist. His music is inspired by the aesthetics, philosophies, paradigms, and poetry of his Middle-Eastern heritage. His work has been described as “very tasteful and flavorful” with “beautiful, sensitive writing!” (Webster University Young Composers Competition). His latest musical concerns center around the phenomenology of time and of differing degrees of focus.


Seif’s music has been performed by such renowned artists as Mary Kay Fink and Stanley Konopka of The Cleveland Orchestra, and has been recognized internationally by a number of institutions such as ASCAP, SOCAN, the RED NOTE New Music Festival, the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York, the Stamford Music and Arts Academy, the Foundation for Modern Music, the Ohio Federation of Music Clubs, the Cleveland Composer’s Guild, the Arizona Flute Society, Webster University, Abundant Silence, and Warren County Summer Music School, among others. Additionally, he was selected as a finalist for the 2019 Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra call for scores from a pool of more than 2,200 applicants from more than 90 countries. In 2020, he was selected again from a larger pool of almost 8,000 applicants.


Originally from the small town of Ashkout in Mount Lebanon, he was born to a non-musical family in Abu Dhabi and he is fluent in Arabic, French, and English. He started out at the age of twelve as a self-taught musician, composing and playing keyboard instruments. He then studied Piano and Composition in Abu Dhabi with Julia Victorivna Podsekaeva from 2013-2015. During this period, he also studied audio engineering and sound synthesis. Later, he moved to Toronto and studied composition with Roger Bergs.

Seif completed his BM, double-majoring in composition and music theory at the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied composition with Keith Fitch, piano with Gerardo Teissonnière, and music theory with Alan Reese. At CIM, he earned the Donald Erb prize in composition and the Beth Pearce Nelson award in music theory. Starting in the fall of 2022, he will be pursuing his doctoral studies at the CUNY Graduate Center.

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