Sami Seif (b. 1998) is a Lebanese composer, music theorist and pianist. His music is inspired by the aesthetics, philosophies, paradigms and poetry of his Middle-Eastern heritage. His work has been described as “very tasteful and flavorful” with “beautiful, sensitive writing!” (Webster University Young Composers Competition). His latest musical concerns center around the phenomenology of time and of differing degrees of focus.
Seif’s music has been performed by such renowned artists as Mary Kay Fink and Stanley Konopka of The Cleveland Orchestra and has won a number of prizes from such institutions as ASCAP, SOCAN, the Stamford Music and Arts Academy, the Foundation for Modern Music, the Ohio Federation of Music Clubs, the Cleveland Composer’s Guild, Webster University, the Arizona Flute Society, Abundant Silence, and Warren County Summer Music School, among others. Additionally, he was selected as a finalist for the 2019 Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra call for scores from a pool of more than 2200 applicants from more than 90 countries. In 2020, he was selected again from a larger pool of almost 8000 applicants.
Originally from the small town of Ashkout in Mount Lebanon, he was born in Abu Dhabi and is fluent in Arabic, French and English. He started at the age of twelve as a self-taught musician, composing and playing keyboard instruments. He then started formal musical training in piano, composition, audio engineering and sound synthesis. Later, he moved to Toronto and studied composition with Roger Bergs.
Seif completed his BM in composition and music theory at the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied composition with Keith Fitch, piano with Gerardo Teissonnière and music theory with Alan Reese. At CIM, he earned the Donald Erb prize in composition and the Beth Pearce Nelson award in music theory. His music theory thesis is titled How Time Passes: Some Thoughts on Musical Time, and is an inquiry on the manipulation of time perception brought about by music. Additionally, he has taken masterclasses with such renowned composers as Stephen Hartke, Andrew Norman and Melinda Wagner. Upcoming performances of his work can be heard at the 2022 Sewanee Summer Music Festival, by the Odin Quartet in Canada, as well a premiere by Mary Kay Fink and Dylan Moffitt.