Awakening: Jamshied Sharifi with the MIT Wind Ensemble

Jamshied Sharifi was commissioned by the MIT Wind Ensemble to create an extended composition that recognizes the Arab Spring, a revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests occurring in the Arab World that began in December 2010. The piece uses Arabic maqam as source material. Mr. Sharifi is composer-in-residence at MIT March 12-17, 2012, sponsored by the MIT Visiting Artist Program and Music and Theater Arts.


Awakening is in three movements: I. Maghreb/Bouazizi/The Uprisings, II. Reflection: Let Each One Hear Her Own Thoughts, and III. Ahead: The Real Transformation Has Barely Begun.

Bernard, Divertissement for Winds; Copland, Variations on a Shaker Melody; Schuman, When Jesus Wept; Bernstein, Profanation from Symphony no. 1; Sharifi, Awakening, world premiere.

Jamshied Sharifi is a New York-based composer, producer, and keyboardist. Born in Topeka, Kansas to an Iranian father and an American mother, Sharifi graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in humanities, and Summa Cum Laude from Berklee College of Music in Boston, with a degree in Jazz Composition and Arranging. At MIT and Berklee, he studied with the legendary Herb Pomeroy, who asked him at graduation to lead the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble. While in Boston, Sharifi studied piano with Charlie Banacos, and West African drumming with Godwin Agbeli and Abubakari Lunna.

Sharifi has composed the scores for the feature films Harriet The Spy, Down To Earth, Clockstoppers, The Thomas Crown Affair, Muppets From Space, Footsteps in Africa, 14 Women, and for many other films and television shows. As a producer, he has made records for Mamak Khadem, Yungchen Lhamo, Susan McKeown, and Mirabai Ceiba. As an arranger, he has written for Ray Charles, Paula Cole, Dream Theater, Cee Lo Green, Reba McEntire, Mis-teeq, Matthew Morrison, Sam Moore, Smokey Robinson, and Jordin Sparks. His world-inspired debut CD, A Prayer For The Soul Of Layla, was named ‘Best World Album’ by New Age Voice magazine, and ‘Best Album of the Year’ by critic and radio host John Diliberto. In 2009 he served as an arranger for the Inaugural Concert for President Obama at Lincoln Memorial.

Sharifi recently completed the score for the third season of On The Road In America, an unscripted documentary about four young Arabs traveling in the United States. The show is currently airing in many Arab markets.


Arts at MIT