A Franco-Lebanese composer born June 4, 1967 in Wadi Chahrour (Lebanon).
A pianist by training, pupil at the Beirut Conservatory then at the Paris Conservatory, Zad Moultaka very early on began a career as a classical soloist. Viewing composition as a space for investigation, in 1993 he abandoned his international career as a performer in order to devote himself to composition. Trained in the rigours of Western musical composition yet intrinsically tied to his Arab origins and to music of oral traditions, he reconciled the musical gesture and compositional sign, going beyond the contingencies of the one and the other. Halfway between East and West, his music incorporates the fundamental data of contemporary Western composition – structures, tendencies, families and signs – with characteristics specific to Arabian music – monody, heterophony, modality, rhythms, vocality - ancient and modern collective memory. Moultaka has written for all groupings, notably for orchestra (Baal, 2015; Noujoum, 2017) and instrumental ensembles, with an evident gift for the voice, the theatre of his many experiments on the relationship to language, tone-colour, energy and micro-intervals. His works include Khat, first performed by the choir Les Éléments (2007); Ligéa, from Homer’s Odyssey, first performed by Les Cris de Paris (2009); L’autre rive, aural memories of his childhood in Beirut, first performed by the ensembles Musicatreize and Mezwej (2009); Zajal, chamber opera premiered by the ensemble Ars Nova and Fadia Tom El-Hage (2010); La Passion selon Marie, first performed at the Festival of Ambronay (2011); Um, first performed by the ensemble Ars Nova and the Neue Vocalsoloisten Stuttgart (2016).
In parallel, he developed and intensified his activity as a visual artiste through exhibitions and installations including Montée des ombres (2016), Vibrances atonales and Souverains moteurs (2016) and ŠamaŠ, for the Lebanon Pavilion at the Venice Biennial for Art (2017). The same care, the same demanding nature inspires him in his quest for a contemporary Arabian expression that makes no concessions.
In 2004 Zad Moultaka also founded the ensemble Mezwej, stemming from an approach, an experimental, foraging, creative state of mind through an examination of eastern and western cultures, of the specific tension and friction between writing and orality.