- Levels Taught:
- Elementary, Middle School, High School, College
- Teaches students:
- Ages 5+
- Teaching since:
Saad is a composer of orchestral, chamber, vocal, and electroacoustic music who achieves a “remarkable fusion of idioms” (New York Times), most notably in his work exploring the disparate qualities inherent in Western art music and Middle Eastern musical tradition. His music delves into that relationship by transferring the performance techniques of traditional Arab instruments to Western symphonic instruments, while extending their capabilities through the advancement of technology.
The 2017–18 season featured the premiere of Saad's first major string quartet, commissioned by the Lydian String Quartet, the premiere of Risala, co-commissioned by the Columbus and Princeton Symphony Orchestras, the premiere of Hawa, written for the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, performances of Takht by the Minnesota Orchestra and the Hangzhou Philharmonic Orchestra, and a performance of Kaman Fantasy by Symphony in C, among others.
Recent distinctions include the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Barlow Endowment General Commission, the S&R Foundation Washington Award Grand Prize, the Jerome Fund for New Music grant from the American Composers Forum, the Palmer Dixon Award from the Juilliard School, the Aaron Copland Residency Award, and multiple awards from ASCAP, BMI, and the Vancouver Chamber Choir. His orchestral works have been performed by the American Composers Orchestra, Hangzhou Philharmonic, Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Symphony in C, and the symphony orchestras of Albany, Columbus, Milwaukee, New Jersey, Princeton, and Sioux City. His music has been broadcast on stations across the Unites States, including WWFM, MPR, WPRB, and KWIT/KOJI, among others.
Born in Georgia and raised in California, Saad holds degrees in composition from the Juilliard School and the University of Southern California, where his principal teachers included John Corigliano, Mari Kimura, Bruce Broughton, Frank Ticheli, Stephen Hartke, and Donald Crockett. His music is published exclusively by Dib Press.
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I started with Saad at a music camp upstate I was attending and of which he was composition faculty. Having taken plenty of music theory in the past but no formal composition, I didn’t know what to expect. First off, Saad’s manner couldn’t have been more calming or inviting from the very beginning, and that really built a great rapport between us and allowed me to do my best work. Secondly, based on my accounts of my past training, it took little time for Saad to identify what were my strengths and what we needed to study in order to ensure my best compositional outputs. We studied invertible counterpoint, a complex subject fundamental to nearly all forms of advanced classical counterpoint. Saad made the subject really approachable through intricate but understandable explanations of different concepts and provided really illustrative examples of each concept. Even a year after those several weeks of study, in which I have hardly written nearly the number of contrapuntal exercises as I did in the weeks during and after Saad’s tutelage, I still find canon and fugue writing to be doable and even fun, testament to how I was able to hold on to Saad’s teachings even long after working with him. I couldn’t recommend Saad’s abilities and qualities higher to anyone wishing to take composition lessons, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that he is an accomplished, experienced, fascinating, and highly-sought-after composer in his own right. Even after working with dozens of different teachers in different musical disciplines, I have found my studies with Saad to be among the absolute most rewarding.+ Read More
Saad was able to guide me into directions in my compositions I wouldn’t have thought would be possible otherwise. I recommend him highly as he pushed me to work as hard as I could on my pieces, while at the same time highlighting pertinent contemporary repertoire in our lessons.+ Read More
Such a patient knowledgeable tutor who really cares about his students’ progress and goes above and beyond to nurture their musical growth
Since studying with Saad, I have learned more about composition than I had ever thought was possible! He is an amazing teacher who is extremely knowledgeable and encouraging and pushed me to reach my potential! He is a very talented composer and teacher! I am very glad I met him! Anyone would be very lucky to have the opportunity to study with him! He is also very kind and easy to work with! If I could put 6 stars I would!+ Read More
Saad is an amazing and dedicated teacher. He is very patient during the lessons, and he is very meticulous when it comes to attention to details. I believe he's a great tutor, and I've noticed real improvements since I started studying with Saad.