Layale Chaker

violinist and composer

“Haunting yet quietly rigorous... Ms. Chaker draws full-bellied sounds, or sketches out silvery arpeggios”

— New York Times

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About Layale Chaker

Lebanese violinist and composer Layale Chaker's musical world lies at the intersection of classical contemporary music, Jazz, Arabic Music, and improvisation. Her music, described as "entrancing", "innovative and vibrant", "pure poetry", and "gorgeous", defies genre while feeling perfectly at home in jazz, world, and classical festivals and series in major venues worldwide. As a violinist and composer, she has received commissions from major ensembles around the world and has performed throughout Europe, the Middle-East, North and South America and Asia as a soloist and with her ensemble Sarafand.

Layale released the album Inner Rhyme on In a Circle Records in 2019 with Sarafand. Dedicated to the sounds, rhythms, rhymes, shapes and forms of Arabic poetry, Inner Rhyme has been lauded by Songlines, NPR, the BBC Music Magazine, The New York Times, The Strad, Strings Magazine, and Jazz World, among others. Layale presented a virtual concert with Sarafand at the Hancher Auditorium of IOWA in April 2021.

Her opera Ruinous Gods: Suites for Sleeping Children, libretto by Lisa Schlesinger, is currently in development. This opera-theatre piece tells the story of seven displaced children who have uppgivenhetssyndrom, or resignation syndrome, a rare trauma response to the state of living in the limbo of displacement.

One of her most recent compositions is In the Presence of Absence, is a 36-minute staged performance for string ensemble with electronic tape of exclusive archival recordings from piano recitals by Edward Said.

À la lisière entre la musique classique contemporaine, du jazz, du Maqam arabe et de l'improvisation, l'univers musical de la compositrice et violoniste libanaise, Layale Chaker est décrit comme étant "envoûtant", "innovant et vibrant", et d'une "pure poésie". En tant que violoniste et compositrice, elle a reçu des commandes d'ensembles majeurs, ce qui l'a mené a présenté ses performances et projets à travers l'europe, le moyen-orient, l'asie et les amériques du nord et du sud comme soliste et avec son ensemble Sarafand.

Son premier album avec Sarafand, Inner Rhyme, récipiendaire du fonds AFAC 2018, est paru sur In a Circle Records en 2019. Consacré aux sonorités, rythmes et formes de la poésie arabe, l'album a, entre autres, reçu les éloges de BBC Music Magazine, New York Times, The Strad, Strings Magazine, et Jazz World. Layale a présenté un concert numérique avec Sarafand au Hancher Auditorium de IOWA en avril 2021.

Son opéra Ruinous Gods: Suites pour enfants endormis, avec un livret de Lisa Schlesinger, est actuellement en développement. Cet opéra-théatre porte sur sur sept enfants déplacés atteints du uppgivenhetssyndrom (ou syndrome de résignation) une rare réaction psychosomatique suite à un traumatisme subi dans les limbes du déplacement ou de la migration forcée.

Une de ses plus récentes compositions, En présence de l'absence, est une œuvre de mise en scène de 36 minutes pour ensemble à cordes, bande de piano et électronique, utilisant des archives d'enregistrements audio inédits de récitals de piano donnés par Edward Said.

Programmes and projects



Layale Chaker and her band Sarafand present their debut album Inner Rhyme, original works woven as a suite exploring the aesthetics of Arabic poetry. The works unveil musical threads that are mapped through the rhythmical cycles of the twelve classical Arabic poetic meters, the fluidity of oral and free forms, the abstraction of language into the physical contour of verses and the percussive potential of words. Beyond expression, the composition process captures the shape and essence of epic testimonials on life, death, war and love that make the heart of Arabic poetry. 

Learn more


Tech Rider

Selected works

In the Presence of Absence

En présence de l'absence

Chamber Music

Musique de chambre


Ruinous Gods

Ruinous Gods




Moonchild: Songs from the Hinder Sea

Moonchild: Songs from the Hinder Sea


Musique orchestrale


The Brown Texts

Les textes bruns


Musique orchestrale




“ Haunting yet quietly rigorous… Often there seems to be more breath than voice in these wordless poems, though other times Ms. Chaker draws full-bellied sounds, or sketches out silvery arpeggios.” 

—  Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim,

February 2019


“... A beguiling debut that intertwines bright and beautiful strands... gorgeous, wine-dark

—  Robin Hilton,

January 2019


“Chaker, for her part, plays as one might sing, exhaling through every note with lyrical assurance. Despite the formidable control with which it's rendered, the music wraps its flesh around a fiercely driven nervous system.” 

—  Tyran Grillo