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Jiryis Murkus Ballan

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Jiryis Murkus Ballan, Palestinian composer, Buzuq player, performer, and musical director, Jiryis, grew up in Nazareth in the Galilee region.

Ballan completed his M.A. studies in the music composition program at SUNY Buffalo as a Fulbright Scholar where he studied with composers Jonathan Golove and Cort Lippe AND focused on concert music, and music for modern dance. Jiryis co-directs The Caravan Orchestra and Choir project, an intercultural orchestra of young Palestinian, Jewish and German musicians based in Germany. Before joining the Department of Music at UCI, he worked as a research assistant at the Music Department of the University of Haifa, researching The Urban Arab Palestinian Wedding Music in the Galilee region and the maqam-based music. His research was on the inclusion of the synthesizer in traditional Arab Palestinian music wedding ensembles. Currently, Jiryis is a Ph.D. student in the program of Composition, Improvisation, and Technology at The University of California, Irvine. His research focuses on creating a virtual Buzuq while using hidden sounds that he discovered with the instrument’s body and soundboard.