Fouad Fakhouri (M.M.-Composition/Theory '97, M.M.-Orchestral Conducting '01) has received an honorary “Doctor of Humane Letters” degree from Methodist University (North Carolina). As part of that honor, he delivered the fall commencement address at the university.
Fakhouri serves as music director and conductor of the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra —an appointment received in 2004. The internationally acclaimed Lebanese-born American conductor and composer has been credited with raising the artistic standards of orchestras that he conducts while dramatically increasing symphony attendance. He is the fifth music director in the symphony’s 58-year history, and his work continues to receive accolades for “musical accuracy” and “emotional intensity.” “When he waves his baton, you get the feeling that Maestro Fakhouri is summoning forth musical notes born in each musician’s soul,” writes the Fayetteville Observer.
Fakhouri has been conducting internationally for nearly two decades, starting with a performance at age 22 in the International Jerash Festival of Jordan. In 1999, he conducted the first West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in Weimar, Germany, as one of only three students invited by world-renowned pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim to participate in his conducting masterclass.
Since then, Fakhouri has received increasing recognition on the worldwide stage. As a result, he has been invited to conduct extensively throughout the United States and abroad, with recent engagements that include serving as principal guest conductor of the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra (North Carolina) and music director and conductor of the Greensboro Symphony Youth Orchestra, to which he was named in 2009.
International guest conducting appearances include the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra, the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, the Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra, and the Amman Symphony Orchestra (Jordan). In the summer of 2009, Fakhouri was invited to study with Neil Varon at the Eastman School of Music Summer Conducting Institute, where he conducted the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.
Fakhouri’s past positions include an assistant professorship at Methodist University, and an instructor position in theory at Penn State. He has also held the post of assistant conductor of the University of North Texas New Music Ensemble, Penn’s Woods Music Festival Orchestra (where he partnered with conductor Pu-Qi Jiang), and the Penn State Philharmonic.
Lauded for his artistry and ability to elicit the best musical results from orchestras he conducts, Fakhouri is a committed proponent of the subjective interpretive style of conducting. As such, his performances have been celebrated for their broad, dynamic, and powerful interpretations, which model the Austro-Germanic conducting tradition of Furtwangler and Celibidache in going beyond the score to capture both the essence and spirit of the music.
In addition to conducting, Fakhouri is also a distinguished and diverse composer of orchestral, chamber, choral, and solo music, whose work has been enjoyed internationally. His orchestral music has been premiered and performed by orchestras including the English Chamber Orchestra, the Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra, the Mediterranean Orchestra, the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, and the Amman Symphony Orchestra.
Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Fakhouri was trained on the piano and is the fourth generation in a line of musicians and composers. He received his bachelor’s degree in music theory and composition from West Texas A&M University, and holds a master’s degree in orchestral conducting and master’s degree in composition/theory from Penn State. He received his doctorate in composition from the University of North Texas. Fakhouri currently resides in New York City with his wife, Diane Lavelle-Fakhouri, and their daughter, Isabella Margaux.