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Tariq Al-Sabir

Tariq Al-Sabir

March 9, 2024

Tariq Al-Sabir is a composer, music director, and interdisciplinary artist whose practice includes performance, improvisation, sound design, movement, poetry, theater and film. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, his first job was lending his voice to the 2006 theme song of HBO’s ‘The Wire’. Now based in New York City, Al-Sabir has established himself as a valued creator, collaborating with artists such as Toshi Reagon, Sable Elyse Smith, Helga Davis, Meredith Monk, Ali Sethi, Blood Orange, Claire Chase, Billy Ocean, Hilary Hahn. 

A self taught multi-instrumentalist and conservatory trained vocalist, Al-Sabir’s sound that has been called “experimental soul” has developed into a cinematic, electronic, pulse-driven, vocal collage that holds a strong line with the Black music traditions that raised him. Fixated on topics of nature, technology, spirituality, and the internet, Al-Sabir’s songs create space for his passions of storytelling and social commentary.

Al-Sabir’s #UNWANTED (2019), which premiered at The Shed in NYC, is a 60-minute multimedia song cycle written for a unique ensemble that includes voice, woodwinds, brass, percussion, electronics, actors, and interacts with video and visuals created by Muse Dodd. The piece highlights the ways in which technology reinforces oppressive social relations that deepen gender and racial inequity. The cycle focuses specifically on Black people’s experience in the digital realm, exploring what it means to seek home in a virtual community. #UNWANTED is an ever-evolving piece that updates to the current events and technologies available/accessible at the time it is performed.

Al-Sabir has performed and premiered commissioned works at The Public Theater, Lincoln Center, The Shed, Madison Square Garden, National Sawdust, MoMA, Swiss Institute, The Isabella Gardner Museum, TEDx, the Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University. He currently serves as a faculty member in the department of Music Engineering and Technology at The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University, teaching the conservatory’s first songwriting courses. In spring 2024, his first EP, Unlike Yesterday Today I’m Ready, produced by Dev Hynes will be released.



Photo courtesy of the artist.

March 9, 2024


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SAT 03/09 9:30 PM