Nebal Maysaud is an award-winning queer Lebanese Druze composer based in the land originally inhabited by the Tauxenent, Pamunkey, and Nacotchtank. A recipient of the first Kluge Young Composer’s Competition and the James Ming Prize in Composition at Lawrence University, Maysaud converges Western and Middle Eastern classical music styles to explore questions of faith, identity, and power.
Their music has been performed by the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, Juventas New Music Ensemble, and Lawrence University Wind Ensemble and Opera Department; and also featured in Art Song Lab 2016 and the District New Music Conference 2018.
They have contributed articles about diversity and classical music to NewMusicBox and convened community music workshops at YallaPunk 2019. Maysaud studied with composer Mark Camphouse before entering the studios of John Benson, Andrew Cole, Dirk D’Ase, Joanne Metcalf, and Asha Srinivasan. They hold a B.M. in Music Composition from Lawrence University.
Alternate, More Informal Bio
Knave culture war grifter Nebal Maysaud is a queer Lebanese composer, writer, content creator, and marketer based in the original land shared by many indigenous nations, tribes, and people, including, but not limited to the Tauxenent and the Pamunkey, and the Nacotchtank - whose land we continue to enact violence on through settler colonialism and the myth that land is something one owns. This violence can only be healed by returning the land to its original inhabitants and making amends to the bodies stolen and killed through imperialism.
As an artist, Nebal focuses on creating spiritual experiences that build compassion among people of diverse backgrounds and experiences.
While peace and healing is her ultimate goal, Nebal recognizes the importance of sharing the unfettered truth in all her terror. Their work guides the audience through a process of recognition, grappling, and acceptance of hard truths so that we can move forward and unite towards a future of justice, accountability, and compassion.
My Composition Process
A lot of musicians, artists, and curious friends ask me what the commission process is like. Everyone’s process is different.
For me, I developed this process to make the commission experience understandable to everyone while also ensuring that pieces are submitted on time.
Stage 0: Initial Consultation
Schedule Consultation: Interested in working together? Reach out and we can schedule a time to meet.
Approve Proposal: You’ll receive a proposal based on our discussion that lays out cost, timeline & review process
Sign Contract & Submit Deposit: You can accept the proposal by signing the attached contract and submitting your first payment. Once that’s done you’re officially a commissioner!
Stage 1: Research & Discovery
Attend Discovery Meeting & Workshop: This is where we dive deep into what we want out of this commission. This is a safe space for complete honesty & transparency
Create Spotify Playlist: One of the more fun parts about my process is that we develop a Spotify (or YouTube, or whatever) playlist together full of music that’s inspiring us both. This helps me get clarity on the sound world you’re looking for.
Review Formal Structure & Initial Sketches: Once I have an idea of what kind of soundworld you want to create, then you’ll review a proposal for how I intend to translate everything we talked about into a new piece.
Stage 2: The First Draft
Receive Regular Updates: Depending on the timeline, we’ll either set up a phone call or I’ll send email updates regarding where the piece is and what progress I’m making.
Receive First Draft: Only after I’ve created numerous drafts of my own, and had the piece edited and approved by a respected composer colleague will you receive the first draft. This guarantees that you will not be reviewing any work that is low quality, unplayable, unidiomatic, or poorly engraved.
Stage 3: The Review Process
Review 1st & 2nd Drafts: Even though the piece should be polished by the 1st draft, sometimes there are changes you want to make for the piece to better fit what you want to do. Don’t be afraid to make any requests.
Review 3rd Draft & Submit Recording: By this draft, you should play the piece with your ensemble (or alone, depending on the commission) and send a recording. We make any final minor changes until the score and recording are satisfactory for both the composer & performer.
Stage 4: Sign-Off
Sign-off: Once you’re satisfied with the work, you’ll sign-off on the piece, stating that you and I are both satisfied with the work and ready to perform it!
Receive Final Draft: Once you’ve gone through three rounds of review, you’ll receive the final draft! Congrats, you now have a final piece!
Submit Invoice: Usually the final payment is made upon receiving the final draft, although monthly payment plans are available.
Stage 5: Performance
Rehearse: Although you’ve submitted a recording to sign-off, that was just to show that you are able to play the piece. I’m more than welcome to attend any rehearsals and workshop the piece further with you.
Perform! You did it! Now it’s time to premiere the piece and share our collaboration with the world.
Liberate our communities by any means necessary
Accept that art alone is useless for liberation.
Connect our art to liberation through communal labor.
Divest and boycott harmful institutions that keep people of color from creating art.
Create alternate sources of funding, and resources exclusively for BIPoC artists. Especially Black & Indigenous communities.
What Kind of Music Do You Write?
My music is a unique mix of influences across several genres, particularly Arabic and Contemporary music. I encourage you to listen for yourself or if you want to know more about the music that inspires me, check out this Playlist of my Listening Guides, which I go more in depth about on Patreon.
What is a Commission?
A Commission is when you pay a composer to write a piece of music for you. Usually this comes from performers: musicians who like your music and want to play something written just for them. However, you don’t have to be a performer or ensemble to commission a piece of music. You can also commission some music for a film you’re working on, or even just a quick song to commemorate something or someone. Anyone in any genre with any (or no) experience can commission a piece.
How Much Does a Commission cost?
Most commissions I’ve done so far are between $1,500-$3,500 for small chamber pieces. NewMusicBox has a great commission fee calculator if you want to explore more.
I’m considering doing a commission, what do I do?
That’s great! Working together to create a work of art specifically for you is one of the most magical experiences you can have. Whether it’s me or another composer, I always recommend reaching out to the composer and letting them know what your situation is. I’m happy to arrange a meeting where we can talk about working together, or just have a consultation to learn more about commissioning new music. Use this link to schedule a meeting.
I’ve Never Done a Commission Before, Can We Still Work Together?
Of course! Whether this is your first commission or your hundredth, my process is organized, informative, and collaborative. I want everyone to have the opportunity to create art and that means being transparent and organized so that anyone can follow along.
4 Truths and a Lie
Studied Religious Studies with an emphasis in Buddhism
Ben Shapiro retweeted a thinly veiled death threat against me
I freaking love hummus
I’ve shut down Nazis in Drag
Pronouns are they/she