Jamshied Sharifi

Composer, producer and keyboardist Jamshied Sharifi ’83 premiered “Awakening” in commemoration of the revolutionary uprisings of the Arab Spring.

Composer Jamshied Sharifi wrote Awakening in 2012 for the MIT Wind Ensemble. In 2015, Sharifi was joined at MIT in concert with the MIT Wind Ensemble, Frederick Harris, Jr., music director, MITWE alumni and guest performers. MITWE’s premiere of this piece is the subject of the 2014 Emmy-winning documentary “Awakening: Evoking the Arab Spring Through Music,” that aired on PBS.  Also on the program was the world premiere of a wind ensemble work by Peter Godart ’15;  Holst, Second Suite in F;  Grainger, The Gum-Suckers March; and Francaix’s 11 Variations on a Theme of Haydn.

The MIT Wind Ensemble is composed of outstanding MIT student musicians studying a wide variety of fields. Since 2001, the MIT Wind Ensemble has commissioned 20 original works by MIT faculty and internationally renowned composers.

Presented by the MIT Visiting Artists Program and MIT Music and Theater Arts.

Jamshied Sharifi is a New York-based composer, producer and keyboardist. He was born in Topeka, Kansas, to an Iranian father and an American mother.

Sharifi graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1983 with a degree in humanities, and Summa Cum Laude from Berklee College of Music in Boston, with a degree in Jazz Composition and Arranging. At MIT and Berklee, he studied with the legendary Herb Pomeroy, who asked him at graduation to lead the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble. While in Boston, Sharifi studied piano with Charlie Banacos, and West African drumming with Godwin Agbeli and Abubakari Lunna.

Sharifi’s previous work ranges from composing scores for major motion pictures, performing and recording with his own world music ensemble to producing and arranging for other artists. He also served as an arranger for President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Concert We Are One. He has performed at many prestigious venues throughout the world, including Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall in New York, the Hollywood Bowl and the Getty Center in Los Angeles, the Opera Theater in Sydney, Cité de la Musique in Paris and Svetlanovsky Hall in Moscow.

Jamshied Sharifi’s remarkable professional career as a composer and keyboardist, producer and arranger, has included work for motion pictures, his own world music ensemble, collaboration with artists such as Ray Charles and arrangements for the Inauguration of President Barack Obama. Sharifi is an MIT and Berklee College of Music alumnus.

More at the artist’s website: Jamshied Sharifi.


Past Events

Awakening, composed by Jamshied Sharifi
March 13, 2015 / 8:00pm
MIT Kresge Auditorium
48 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA

Awakening: A World Premiere by Jamshied Sharifi
March 17, 2012

MIT Wind Ensemble concert program: Divertissement for Winds; Copland, Variations on a Shaker Melody; Schuman, When Jesus Wept; Bernstein, Profanation from Symphony no. 1; and the world premiere of Sharifi’s Awakening. Performed by the MIT Wind Ensemble: Frederick Harris, Jr., Music Director, Kenneth Amis, Assistant Conductor and Jamshied Sharifi, Composer-in-Residence.


Awakening the Arab Spring Panel
March 13, 2012
A panel with Visiting Artist Jamshied Sharifi, Philip S. Khoury, Associate Provost and Ford International Professor of History, and MIT students Obaidah Abuhashem and Emily Jackson


Residency Schedule

Artist Presentations
Guest Composer and Director of MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble
March 15, 2012

Class Visits
Guest Lecture in Introduction to World Music class
February 13-14, 2012

Exploratory Research
Music at MIT Oral History Project interview
February 27, 2012

Student Dinner for MIT Wind Ensemble
March 12, 2012

MIT News: In profile: Jamshied Sharifi ’83, Tony Award winner

NPR Music: Jamshied Sharifi: The World’s Music as ‘One’

All Music: Jamshied Sharifi

World Music Central: Jamshied Sharifi

WBUR: Here and Now

NPR: Day to Day

TechTV: Rehearsal for Awakening World Premiere March 2012

MIT Video Productions: Three movements of Awakening 2014 Emmy Award Winning film

Awakening Lecture: Awakening Lecture Video

Fred Harris, Director of the MIT Wind Ensemble and the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble and Lecturer in Music, MIT Department of Music and Theater Arts


Visiting Artist Jamshied Sharifi


Selected Past Projects