Congratulations to Tarek Yamani, winner of the 2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Composers Competition, sponsored by BMI. Yamani’s winning composition is titled “Sama’i Yamani.”
Tarek Yamani was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. He studied classical piano as a child and then turned his attention to guitar and heavy metal until he discovered jazz. At age 19, Yamani taught himself jazz theory and immersed himself in jazz recordings. His musical curiosity also led him to explore other styles of music, including Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, Flamenco, electronic, and Arabic. In 2001, after receiving a bachelor’s degree in computer science, Yamani decided to focus full-time on music. In 2005, he received a full scholarship to attend The Netherlands’ Prins Claus Conservatorium, where he graduated summa cum laude in 2009. Yamani has performed at festivals and venues across Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa with artists including Ambrose Akinmusire, Jimmy Greene, Rene McLean, and Theodosii Spassov. He has produced and performed with the hip-hop band Aksser, written music for dance and theater performances, and led jazz workshops at the Palermo and Realmonte jazz festivals. In 2010, Yamani was chosen to perform at the Montreux Jazz Piano Solo Competition, presented with the prestigious Prins Bernhard Cultural Foundation grant, and selected to participate in the 2011 Betty Carter Jazz Ahead residency at The Kennedy Center.