Biography

January 2017


''..a born communicator...'' The Independent

Karim Said launched his professional career in 2009 playing concertos with the late Sir Colin Davis and the English Chamber Orchestra, and with Daniel Barenboim conducting the West Eastern Divan in a BBC Prom. His next performances with the Maestro will take place at the opening ceremony of Berlin's newest concert hall, the ‘Boulezsaal'. Upcoming events also include directing William Boyce's First Symphony from the piano in Da Vinci Players' next performance in the UK this March.

Recent highlights include a tour of Palestine where Karim surveyed keyboard music across four centuries (Byrd b1543 to Schoenberg d1951) in Arabic lecture-recitals and workshops. He also performed in the presence of Their Majesties the King and Queen of Jordan last October. Please read his News & Thoughts blog for more on his highlights in 2016.

January 2015 saw the launch of Karim's debut album 'Echoes from an Empire' on Opus Arte, The Royal Opera House's new audio CD label to much critical acclaim from journals including The Guardian and Gramophone Magazine which included the album in its list of 'Top 10 Janáček recrodings '. The album explores the exciting period of musical innovation that characterised the final years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Karim has been involved with the West Eastern Divan since its founding in 1999. After hearing him play at the age of ten, Daniel Barenboim commented ''What you can't learn, he already knows". Karim has regularly toured with the orchestra as soloist, under Barenboim's baton, performing at halls including the Berlin Philharmonie, the Musikverein in Vienna, La Scala - Milan and the Great Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. In August 2015, he performed with the West Eastern Divan Orchestra at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires playing Boulez's Sur Incises .

Karim Said is equally at home performing chamber music and working with actors. His past events have included collaborative performances with such stage directors as the late Patrice Chereau and Vanessa Redgrave, as well as chamber music performances with Waltraud Meier, Dorothea Röschmann, Gabriel Croitoru, Adrian Brendel and the Utrecht String Quartet.

Other highlights include a series of three recitals, which Karim curated as part of the International Piano Series and The Rest is Noise festival, at the Southbank Centre in London. Taking the music of Schoenberg as their focus, these concerts included a fascinating on-stage discussion with the BBC's Sara Mohr-Pietsch, in which Karim spoke about the composer, his music and his influence.

Karim has been hailed in International Piano Magazine as a 'modern-day musical polymath', reflecting his understanding of music in a wider context. His founding of 'Da Vinci Players', with whom he performs as pianist and director, builds on his passion for chamber music and fascination with musical constructs, as exemplified by one of the ensemble's late patrons, Pierre Boulez.

Karim Said was born in Amman, Jordan in 1988 where he commenced his piano studies with Russian teacher Agnes Bashir-Dzodtsoeva. He moved to the UK in 2000, aged eleven, to study piano, composition and conducting at the renowned Purcell School of Music and later at the Royal Academy of Music, both on full scholarships. At the Royal Academy of Music he studied mainly with Prof Tatiana Sarkissova. He has also studied with Tessa Nicholson and, more recently, with Hinrich Alpers. His development as a student throughout his time at the Purcell School is documented in Christopher Nupen's film 'Karim's Journey', which was broadcast on the UK's BBC4, and in five other countries, in 2008. Karim is now based in Berlin.

Please do not alter this biography without permission.

Copyright © Karim Said, 2017