Model Role Details

Donia Jarrar

Sector : Cultural Figures , Singers / Musicians

Personal Info

  • Country of residence : Palestine
  • Gender : Female
  • Age : 0
  • Curriculum vitae :

Information

It all started when she was four. It’s Donia Jarrar’s first memory: The Gulf War had just erupted and Donia’s family are in an Astrovan, fleeing Kuwait and going towards Jordan. Several years later, Donia is living in Jenin, her father’s hometown. 

Last year, as part of her master’s degree in music composition at the University of Michigan, Donia composed an entire orchestra piece retelling, in music, her life story. Incorporating poetry into her composition, Donia opened the piece by singing an Arabic poem that she had written. The orchestra, composed of 100 musicians, accompanied her as it held one note in an Arabic-influenced style.

The six-section orchestra piece is deeply personal. It starts out with her early memories, then goes into a family feud, and then on to an “explosion.” “It’s a sound representation of my family fleeing and finding freedom,” she says. 

Donia started to take piano lessons at age four and started to compose short melodies for her parents at age six.

She has always loved to improvise. And much of her work involves sitting at the piano and just playing. But composing is hard work that involves not only talent but also knowledge of the deeply intricate system of music theory. “But that’s what makes it good,” she says. “The moment you hear the orchestra playing, you realise that all the hard work was worth it.” 
Last year, Donia decided to return to Palestine. She teaches piano and music theory to Palestinian children at Al-Kamanjati and the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music (ESNCM) in Ramallah. She also teaches music for elementary school children in the Qalandia and Jalazon refugee camps. 

Working six days a week, she still finds time to compose. 

“My work is minimalist and romantic, largely influenced by twentieth-century composers,” she says. 

She rec    ently won the Marcel Khalife prize for a piece entitled “Border Crossings” and is working on several exciting projects such as composing a soundtrack for a Kuwaiti movie and publishing her piece “Batn el Hawa,” for a compilation album entitled Project Naqsh, released in November.

She is full of ideas and plans, among them is to do her doctorate in music composition in the near future, which she says would be extremely challenging. She has dreams too.

“My biggest dream is to write a symphony about Palestine,” she says.

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