A. J. Racy is a performer, composer, and Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Originally from Lebanon, Dr. Racy is internationally recognized for his extraordinary musicianship, and is a master of many traditional instruments, particularly the nay, a reed-flute, and the buzuq, a long-necked fretted lute.
Racy has performed and lectured extensively in the Middle East, the United States, and throughout the world. He is the author of numerous publications, including the award-winning book, Making Music in the Arab World: The Culture and Artistry of Tarab (Cambridge University Press, 2003). His music has been released on several CDs, including four Lyrichord albums: Ancient Egypt, Taqasim, Mystical Legacies, and When the Rivers Met, and on Kronos Quartet’s Caravan.
Since 1979, Racy has directed UCLA’s Near East Ensemble, whose repertoire of music from the Arab world includes old court music genres from the Ottoman era, mystical works related to the Sufi Islamic sect, modal and drum improvisations, nightclub pieces, and songs from rural folk celebrations.