Karim Said came to the public’s attention in 2009 playing concertos with the English Chamber Orchestra under the late Sir Colin Davis (Barbican Centre, London) and at the BBC Proms with Daniel Barenboim and his West Eastern Divan Orchestra. Karim has toured regularly with the Divan orchestra as a soloist under Maestro Barenboim’s baton, performing at such halls as the Philharmonie in Berlin, Musikverein in Vienna and the Great Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. Mostly recently, Karim appeared with the Maestro in the opening night of the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin playing Berg’s Chamber Concerto.
Last year’s highlights include a debut with the European Union Youth Orchestra under Vasily Petrenko at the Dubai Opera House (April), his recital debut at the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin (October) and the launch of the Etihad String Orchestra in his native Jordan as its first Music Director (May). Following the success of this orchestra’s first concert series with four sold out events, Karim looks forward to expanding it to a chamber orchestra this year. The Etihad Chamber Orchestra will feature in a new classical music festival sponsored by Bank al Etihad, which will run from January to June 2019 under Karim’s directorship.
Karim’s latest solo album ‘Legacy’ was released on Rubicon Classics – UK last November and received 5 Stars for interpretation and repertoire on West German Radio (WDR), and with glowing reviews in Gramophone Magazine and The Observer. This follows the success of his debut album ‘Echoes from an Empire’ (Opus Arte – 2015) which was one of Gramphone’s ‘Top Ten recordings of Janacek’ in 2016. The repertoire on his first album was inspired by his London recital debut series at the Southbank Centre in 2013, where he covered Arnold Schoenberg’s complete published solo works over three recitals as part of the ‘International Piano Series’ and ‘The Rest Is Noise’ festival. His interest in Second Viennese and Renaissance music as a pianist has earned him a reputation for stimulating programming, which led to an invitation to cover both genres in his upcoming debut at the Aldeburgh Festival, UK on 21st June 2019.
Karim Said is equally at home performing chamber music and working with actors. Past events have included collaborative performances with such stage directors as the late Patrice Chereau and Vanessa Redgrave, as well as chamber music performances with Waltraud Meier, Dorothea Röschmann, Gabriel Croitoru, Adrian Brendel and the Utrecht String Quartet.
Karim Said was born in Amman, Jordan in 1988 where he commenced his piano studies with Russian teacher Agnes Bashir-Dzodtsoeva. He moved to the UK in 2000, aged eleven, to study piano, composition and conducting at the renowned Purcell School of Music and later at the Royal Academy of Music, both on full scholarships. At the Royal Academy of Music he studied with Prof Tatiana Sarkissova. He has also been mentored by Tessa Nicholson and more recently, Hinrich Alpers. His development as a student throughout his time at the Purcell School is documented in Christopher Nupen’s film ‘Karim’s Journey’, which was broadcast on the UK’s BBC4, and in five other countries, in 2008. Karim Said is currently based in Berlin, Germany.
Karim Said was made an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, London in 2017.