Maya Youssef Qanun Concert

This concert was organised jointly with RNCM


As part of ‘Celebrating Syria' Festival 2018, on 11 October 2018, Syrian artist, Maya Youssef presented a night of music with Qanun (the Arabic 78-string zither) at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. Maya’s unique and innovative approach expanded her audiences to international platforms. She combined her extraordinary musical gifts with a generosity of outlook, warmth, humour and optimism. She was accompanied by Elizabeth Nott, (percussion) and Barney Morse-Brown (cello). It was an enthralling evening where East met West and the classical met the improvised.

Maya Youssef

Maya is a Syrian virtuoso player of the qanun, the Arabic 78-string zither. Her unique and innovative approach has expanded her audiences to international platforms. She combines her extraordinary musical gifts with a generosity of outlook, warmth, humour and optimism.



“The act of playing music is the opposite of death, it’s a life and hope affirming act. To me, music is my own healer and an antidote to what’s happening, not only in Syria, but in the whole world. I like to think that my music brings people back to humanity and to their heart centres, where no harm can be done to any form of life and where all can exist together in peace”.



Born in Damascus into a family of writers and artists, Maya has performed all over the world and was awarded an Exceptional Talent award which enabled her to migrate to the UK early 2012. Currently, she is researching “Music Healing for Syrian Refugee Children” as her PhD project at SOAS University of London, where she has also taught the qanun and directed the Middle Eastern Ensemble.  Maya is a regular on the BBC and has featured at the BBC Proms at The Royal Albert Hall, The Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, and other prestigious venues and festivals.

Rethink Rebuild Society (RR) is a Manchester-based charity that works towards improving the lives of refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants in the UK, in particular but not exclusively Syrians, helping them become positively established within British society.

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