John Kameel Farah is a Toronto–based composer, pianist and visual artist. Born in 1973 in Brampton, Ontario, he took piano lessons from an early age at the Royal Conservatory, and later studied composition and performance at the University of Toronto, where he received the Glenn Gould Composition Award twice during his studies.  In 1999 he had private lessons with Terry Riley in California, and later at the Arabic Music Retreat in Hartford. In 1998, he performed the complete solo piano works of Arnold Schoenberg in Toronto. Toronto’s NOW Magazine named his as Best Pianist 2006. Recently John received the 2011 K.M. Hunter Artist Award for Music from the Ontario Arts Foundation.

Farah focuses primarily on a creative hybrid of improvisation, composition and electronic music. Simultaneously using piano, synthesizer, computer, and at times harpsichord, his solo performances exist somewhere between the concert hall and an experimental DJ set, mixing forays into free improvisation, jazz, electro–acoustics, ambient minimalism and middle-eastern rhyming structures and tunings; distilling them into cohesive, imaginative surrealistic structures. Farah's work combines the formal and structural with the fantastical and other-worldly.

Farah performs regularly in his native Toronto, and has toured internationally across the U.K., Europe, USA, the Middle–East, Brazil, South Korea and Mexico. In 1999 and 2002, he visited the Edward Said National Conservatory in the West Bank, giving performances and masterclasses in Ramallah, East Jerusalem and Bethlehem. In 2008 he performed a concert in front of the Aztec Great Pyramid of Cholula, near Puebla, Mexico, accompanying projections of galaxy formations and collisions, created by U oft T astrophysicist John Dubinski. He has released three full-length CD's: a compilation of electronic tracks entitled "Creation" (2006), a cycle for piano and electronics called Unfolding (2009) and a piano duo album with Attila Fias called Pieces of the Earth (2011).

Farah's Soundmakers residency was funded with support from the Ontario Arts Council.


Artist Compositions


Premiere Title of Commission Listen
03/21/2014 Mediaeval Dance Listen Close

A contemporary piece for piano, synthesizer and computer that employs arabic rhythms, electronics and sampled percussion, and combines meticulous notated structures with modal improvisation sections.