Honoring Zaki Nassif at the American University of Beirut
Zaki Nassif was a student at AUB from 1936 to 1941. Following his passing in 2004, a group of AUB faculty members and lovers of his art, "Muhibbu Fann Zaki Nassif fi'l Jami'al-Amirikiyya," began to look for ways in which AUB could honor the memory of Zaki and keep his art alive. Since AUB is the institution that can provide the recognition he deserves, the group has been encouraged and supported by Dr. Khalil Bitar, former dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at AUB from 1997 to 2009, and Dr. Walid Gholmieh, president of the Lebanese National Higher Conservatory of Music, of which Zaki Nassif was a Board Member until his death. In order to Keep Zaki's music alive, an announcement was made as to the establishment of an endowed fund to support a "Zaki Nassif Music Program" at AUB.
Zaki Nassif Music Program
The Program is placed in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and is managed by an academic committee whose members are AUB Faculty appointed by the Dean of the Faculty.
Mission of the Program
The Program aims to preserve and promote the musical heritage of Zaki Nassif and seeks to foster excellence in the teaching of music by contributing to its advancement through a variety of activities that include:
- Organizing competitions, concerts, conferences, and seminars.
- Inviting professional musicians and academics to the University.
- Awarding prizes, scholarships, and fellowships to students in Zaki Nassif 's name.
- Recruiting scholars and new Faculty members in order to initiate new courses and new graduate programs in Lebanese Oriental Music at the department of Fine Arts and Arts History in AUB Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
- Reinstating Musical studies programs and Music curricula at AUB.
Achievements of the Program
One of the first achievements of the Program has been completed on January 10th 2008, through the transfer of the composer archives to AUB Jafet Library . Such significant milestone has been reached through cooperation between the Program, the Nassif Family, the Presidents Office, AUB Office of Development and Jafet Library. The hard work and dedication of Miss Gisele Hebbo, Masters in Musicology, has also been capital. These combined efforts have resulted in the signature of a deed of gift document by which the Family grants, assigns and transfers to AUB for the purpose of the Program all legal title and intellectual property rights.
Projects under way
- Publication of scholarly editions of Zaki Nassifs extant contributions to the music of the Middle East that will include scores, song texts, recordings, and his writing and correspondence.
- Cataloguing the archival material at AUB according to international library standards.
- Transfer, documentation, and conservation of the aforementioned materials into electronic form.
- Establishment of a framework for the legal protection of the composers rights as transferred to the American University of Beirut.
Actions being planned
Five years after Zakis passing, active plans are under way to revive degree-granting Programs in the department of FAAH. The scope of these Programs will be new in Lebanon and Middle East with a main objective of initiating new graduate Programs and activate Research in the field of Lebanese-Oriental Music. Within a period of two years starting from January 1 2009, a Graduate and Research Center in Musicology should emerge at AUB. For that purpose, recruitment of scholars and artists who will be able to teach courses, carry out research and put together Curricula and Research Programs intended to bring out new generations of Musicians and Musicologists versed in Excellence in creation and performance of Lebanese Oriental Music in particular and Middle Eastern Music in general.