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London based KANUN player MAYA Youssef comes
from a family of artists. Her musical appreciation
started when she was just a child. As a ten-year-
old, she began her lifelong musical career with the
QANUN (KANUN) at Sulhi Alwadi Music Institute in
Damascus from where she graduated with excellence
degree in 2002.

"At the beginning, I decided to learn the Violin" sais
Maya in an interview on Dubai TV "But one day I
was heading towards the music institute and the
taxi driver was playing a recording of an enchanting
instrument that blew my mind! When I asked the taxi
driver which instrument was that and told him that I
was determined to learn, he laughed and said: it's the
KANUN and said that it was very rare to see a female
KANUN player. At the same day and to the shock of
my parents I cancelled my registration at the Violin
class and registered at the KANUN class"


Maya's musical renown was already set in motion tow
years later, when she won the Best Musician Award in
Syria's youth national music competition.

In 2007 Maya completed her BA in Music from the
High Institute of Music & Theatrical Arts in Damascus,
where she was trained in classical Arabic, Western,
and Azerbaijani KANUN schools by the masters
of these schools: Salim Sarwa from Syria, Almira
Akhondova from Azerbaijan.

Also, Maya went to expand her musical skills with
the masters of Turkish Kanun :Khalil karaduman &
Guksel Baktagir.

Parallel to her music studies, she obtained a BA
degree in English Literature from the University
of Damascus in 2011.

With her talent gaining international prominence,
Maya gave vibrant solo performances and founded
the Syrian Female Orientale Group (SFOG) in 2003,
along with five of her musician colleagues. The
SFOG regularly performed at many important
events in Syria, as well as in distinguished Asian
and European cities. The inspiring and inspired
group took their music to Dubai, Beijing, Bologna,
Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Athens among other
vibrant destinations.

In 2007, Maya moved to Dubai to focus on her solo
career. Eminent venues that have hosted Maya's
KANUN performances include Al Qasba Sharjah, The
Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Foundation in Dubai, and Burj
Al Arab.

As a high-profile and acclaimed KANUN expert,
Maya was invited in 2009 to teach at Oman's Sultan
Qaboos University in the Department of Music and
Musicology, Which is part of the College of Arts &
Social Sciences. Until December 2011, she taught
KANUN and Theory of Arabic Music there.

In early 2012, Arts Council of England recognized
Maya as an Exceptional Talent, which has enabled her
to come to the UK to develop her international career.

Maya continues to expand her performance portfolio,
to introduce KANUN to new audiences, and to
experiment in exciting collaborations. She is now
sharing her unique talents and expertise as a leading
KANUN player with audiences in the UK.


2009 Music teacher in Pakistan International School of Damascus.
2007 Teaching music and French at the Pakistan International school of Damascus.
2003 - 2007 Teaching music at Shaheen Institute of Music.
2005 Teaching music in the French International school of Damascus.

Design by Hala Muhanna