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Violist Noémie Chemali’s Debut Album, “Opus 961”

Released on the Dreyer-Gaido label, the album features works by numerous Lebanese composers 


The French-Lebanese-American violist Noémie Chemali is a graduate of McGill  University’s Schulich School of Music, Mercer University, and The Juilliard School. Her principal teachers include Becca Albers, Hsin-Yun Huang, and Carol Rodland. 

Her debut album, “Opus 961,” features works for solo viola and chamber music by Lebanese composers Layale Chaker, Saad Haddad, Wajdi Abou Diab, Sami Seif, Mary Kouyoumdjian, and herself.

The album’s title 961 is a nod to Lebanon’s telephone code and celebrates the resilience of the people of Beirut after the seaport explosion in 2020.

Chemali will be donating 100% of album sales to Médecins sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders, who provided humanitarian support after the Beirut explosion and continue to bring medical aid to conflict zones around the world.  

Pieces on the album were written between 2016 and 2021 — they include Abou Diab’s The Moraba’ Dance, Seif’s La’ib an-nard/The Dice Player, Chaker’s Cadenza from “The Brown Texts,” Chemali’s Kadishat, Kouyoumdjian’s The Revolt of the Stars, and Haddad’s Dohree

Musicians on the album include Chemali, violinist Shaleah Feinstein, cellists Raffi Boden and Yann Chemali, double bassist Kebra-Seyoun Charles, flutist Lauren Scanio, and harpist Deanna Cirielli.

“Opus 961 is my debut album of solo viola and chamber music by young Lebanese composers,” Chemali wrote in the album booklet. “An ode to Lebanon, 961 nods to the country’s telephone code and celebrates the resilience of the people of Beirut after the 2020 seaport explosion. As a first-generation Lebanese French-American, this tragedy hit close to home as my grandmother’s home was destroyed in the blast that day.”

To purchase and listen to the album, click here


During her time at Juilliard, Chemali made her Carnegie Hall solo debut in the UN Chamber Music Society’s Arabic Language Day concert and collaborated with dancers of the New York City Ballet

She has performed alongside faculty members of the Cavani and Ehnes String Quartets; at the 2018 Musical Chairs Chamber Music Festival, she collaborated with students from Austria’s Mozarteum and Singapore’s Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music. 

She is also the recipient of a Juilliard Career Grant, George J. Jakob Global Enrichment Grant, Gluck Community Engagement Fellowship, Juilliard Entrepreneurship Grant, Barenboim-Said Foundation Grant, and a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Creative Engagement Grant.

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