Samir Odeh-Tamimi

(1970 - )

Photo of Samir Odeh-Tamimi

Samir Odeh-Tamimi, born to Palestinian parents, grew up in a village not far from Tel Aviv. As a child, he discovered the sounds of the drum, learned the recorder from an Israeli teacher and then played the electronic organ on his own. From 1984 to 1989, he was part of various popular and traditional Arab music groups with which he travelled the country. At the same time, fascinated by the European scholarly music he heard on the radio, he decided to become a composer.

From 1992 to 1996, after a two-year stay in Greece, he studied musicology at the University of Kiel (Germany). Then he met the Korean composer Younghi Pagh-Paan, who taught him composition at the Hochschule für Künste in Bremen and also encouraged him to build on the cultural heritage within his music. He also worked alongside the composer Klaus Huber and followed Günter Steinke's analysis courses.

In 2003, he won first prize in the composition competition of the Elisabeth Schneider Foundation. In 2007, he did a residency at Casa Baldi, in Rome. The following year, he was invited to Istanbul to participate in the "Into" project of the Modern Ensemble and the Siemens Arts Program, and in this context composed the work Cihangir. In 2010, his works Leila und Madschnun and Hinter der Mauer were premiered in Germany (the latter on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of German reunification). In 2011, the monographic CD dedicated to his music by Wergo appeared in the Zeitgenössische Musik series supported by the Deutscher Musikrat. In 2014, his piece Mansúr was premiered at the Salzburg Festival by the choir and musicians of the Bavarian Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra.

In the works of Samir Odeh-Tamimi, traditional instruments, especially percussion, are often mixed with orchestral instruments. He makes very little use of electronics. The titles or texts he sets to music often refer to historical or political events, such as the conflicts in the Middle East or the Shoah.

He lives and works in Berlin.