Rahim AlHaj
Composer and Oud Player
Albuquerque, NM
2009 USA Fellow

This award was generously supported by the Ford Foundation.

Rahim AlHaj is a virtuoso oud (a pear-shaped string instrument) player who combines Iraqi musical traditions with contemporary influences. Raised in Baghdad, AlHaj graduated from the Institute of Music there in 1990. He became involved in revolutionary activities and was imprisoned twice by the Baathist regime. In 1991, he escaped to Jordan and then Syria, and, in 2000, he emigrated to the U.S. AlHaj has released several recordings and has worked with diverse musicians, including USA Rasmuson Fellow Bill Frisell, Kronos Quartet, and classical Indian musicians.

Portrait photo courtesy Douglas Kent Hall.
  • Artwork by Rahim AlHaj
    Performance photo courtesy Dan Merlo
Artwork by Rahim AlHaj