Michael Ibrahim is a dynamic conductor, and one of the newest most innovative artists to emerge onto the Arab music circuit. His teachers have included some of the leading musicians in his field including, Simon Shaheen, Johnny Sarweh, Nadeem Dlaikan, Douglas Bianchi, Anthony Iannacconne, Dr. David Pierce, Robert Williams, and Victoria King; causing him to realize the value of a solid educational background. Having earned a bachelor degree in music from Eastern Michigan University, Michael went on to further his studies at Wayne State University; pursuing a Master of Music degree in conducting. The impact of Michael’s musical leadership is felt equally by audiences across the globe, and the musicians he collaborates with.
Throughout his early career, Michael has performed in many concert halls and venues the world over; allowing him the unique opportunity to share the stage with some of the most influential figures in Western and Arab music. Michael’s diverse musical background and unique approach to composition and improvisation has also led him to be featured on a number of recordings and film scores. As an artist, Michael has used his educational and professional experience to fuse Western and Arab music idioms in his performances. As an educator, Michael has taught privately and in the classroom; providing instrumental and ensemble instruction, as well as lectures and demonstrations on Arab music both at the university and grade school levels. His extensive experience as a performer and educator has led Michael to found all three performance ensembles of the Michigan Arab Orchestra (MAO), and later co-founding the organizational entity with three of his closest colleagues; where he currently serves as Executive and Music Director.
The Michigan Arab Orchestra (MAO) is a 501 c3 nonprofit organization that celebrates Arab heritage, and its music through educational outreach and performance. Founded in 2009 and established in 2010, the Michigan Arab Orchestra is home to the MAO Orchestra, the Michigan Arab Orchestra Takht Ensemble (MAOTE), and the MAO Community Choir (MAOCC); and has been dedicated to preserving and performing the classical and contemporary traditions of Arab music. The MAO provides opportunities that will bridge social and cultural barriers through its work in the greater community.
A Metro-Detroit native, Michael was born into a Syrian immigrant family of humble origins. He began his musical studies on the ‘Ud, and later studying the Bassoon and Nay as his musical training progressed. Michael has always believed in concepts of self-awareness, honesty, and personal growth, which have proven to be useful tools in his development as an artist both personally and in the professional realm. Michael hopes that through his educational efforts he will be able to instil a wider appreciation for Arab music, and its heritage.