Maya Youssef

Award-winning Syrian Qanun player from Damascus

Maya Youssef is an award-winning Syrian Qanun player from Damascus.

In early 2012, Arts Council England recognized Maya as an Exceptional Talent, which has enabled her to come to London to develop her career. Her work challenges traditions by composing pieces that blend different cultures and instruments together.

Her album Syrian Dreams was released in 2017 and has been widely praised by the press and audiences around the country and internationally.

Maya says:

The war started in my homeland in 2011. From that point on making music was no longer a choice, it was a crucial means to express and come to terms with intense feelings of loss and sadness from seeing my people suffer and my homeland destroyed. On a hot summer’s afternoon in London in 2012 I was watching the news. At the time I felt overwhelmed, as if I was going to explode, so I held my qanun and ‘Syrian dreams’ came out of me. That was the very first piece of music I wrote.

Counterpoints Arts has worked with Maya consistently since 2012, commissioning performances including at the South Banl Centre, the British Museum and for the London Mayor’s Eid Celebration in Trafalgar Square.

We are currently working with Maya to develop The Seven Gates of Damascus, a 7-part interactive musical performance and story-telling workshop.