About Mukhtar

Born in Baghdad, Mukhtar has been playing the oud and Arabic percussions since 1979. He has worked with many folk music groups and musicians in the city. In 1983, he began studying both the oud and percussion at the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad with the Masters Ghanim Haddad and Jameel Jerjis. In 1985, Mukhtar began working with Arabic orchestras and performing on Iraqi TV with a variety of Iraqi groups. A few years later, in 1990 he attended the High Institute of Music in Damascus where he continued his studies of the oud and Western percussions. In 1999, Mukhtar earned an MA from the London College of Music, and in 2003, he received a Masters Degree in Performance with a focus on Middle-Eastern and Arabic music from SOAS (the School of Oriental and African Studies), London.

He is currently teaching oud, percussion and Arabic music theory in many institutes around London including SOAS, the University of London, and the Taqasim Music School. This is in addition to working as the Musical Programs Director for Al-Fayha, an Iraqi television channel.


  • 2003 MA in Performance – SOAS, London
  • 1999 MA from the London College of Music
  • 1990 Studied Oud and Western percussion at the High Institute of Music, Damascus
  • 1985 Worked extensively with Arabic orchestras and performed on Iraqi TV
  • 1983 Studied Oud and Percussion at the Institute of  Fine Arts, Baghdad with the masters Ghanim Haddad and Jameel Jerjis


  • Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Taqasim Foundation 
  • Founder and Director of Taqasim Music School
  • Member of the High Committee of the Babylon International Arts & Cultural Festival, Hilla, Iraq
  • Producer and presenter of the “Solo Program”/”عزف منفرد”, Al-Fayha, Iraqi TV
  • Former Musical Director – Sleep Song project in France
  • Former Director – Iraqi Music Week


  • 2015 Award for Excellence in music composition
  • 2009 Alhambra Award for Excellence under auspices of the Queen of Britain
  • 2003 Chosen to be 1 of 16 artists to have the opportunity to record original work on a UN released CD benefiting victims of terrorism and war
  • 1999 Award for Best Non-Western Musical Composition from the Musicians Union, UK


  • 2018 – Music from Iraq
  • 2015 – Babylonian Fingers
  • 2005 – Road to Baghdad
  • 2003 – Rhythms of Baghdad
  • 1999 – Words from Eden
  • 1997 – Tajwal (Live Oud Recital)

Other Work

  • Author of the Mukhtar Method series of 11 books: learn the oud, darbuka and Arabic Music Theory
  • Musical compositions for TV programs including MBC, ART, Al-Mustakela and BBC5
  • Theatre: Music composed for “The Soldier’s Tale”; an Iraqi/Eurpoean rendition of Stravinsky’s classical work directed by Andrew Bigley, performed at The Old Vic Theatre, London, UK in January 2006
  • Musical Theatre: Music for “My Name is Jamal”. by Algerian Director Abdul Nasser Khalaf
  • Poetry: “Baghdad Open Sky” Music composed for the readings of dramatic poetry written by Saleh Al-Hamada
  • Film: “Al-Baghdadi” a film by British/Iraqi director Mayham Riada; winner of The Gold Award at the International Filmmaker Festival

Festivals and Performances

  • 2019 – Ahmed Mukhtar & Yair Dalal: Taqasim on Oud – Ismaili Centre London & Cambridge University (Woolf Institute) 
  • 2018 – Maqam Moods – The Mosaic Rooms
  • 2018 – Borderless – an improvisational concert, Leominster, Wales
  • 2018 – Opening concert of The London Strings Festival with the Veles Ensemble
  • 2018 – FRRME concert (Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East), Westminster Abby, London
  • 2017 –  Tainan University of Technology China (Concert and Masterclasses)
  • 2017 – Charity Concert: Common and Kind – International Collaborative Fundraiser, Union Chapel, London, UK
  • 2017 – Ketevan World Sacred Music Festival, Goa, India
  • 2017 – Hill Top Music Festival, Goa, India
  • 2017 – Babylonian International Festival, Iraq
  • 2017 – Mixed Messages: Music and Poetry – English & Arabic, The Old Church, Stoke Newington, London, UK
  • 2016 – Charity Concert: Remembering Srebrenica, St. Ethelburga’s Church, London, UK
  • 2015 – Babylonian International Festival, Iraq
  • 2015 – Baghdad Music Festival, Iraq
  • 2014 – Babylonian International Festival, Iraq
  • 2014 – World Humanitarian Festival, SOAS, London UK – click here
  • 2013 – Babylonian International Festival, Iraq
  • 2012 – Hajj is the Journey to The Heart of Islam Festival, British Museum, London, UK
  • 2011 – Music composed for the Sleep Song Project, France
  • 2010 – General Supervisor and performer at the Iraqi Children Celebration, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, UK
  • 2009 – Kamel Shiaa annual Festival, Brussels
  • 2009 – Babylon: Myth and Reality, a concert hosted by The British Museum, London
  • 2008 – General Supervisor of the Salih Al- Kuwaiti Celebration, University of London, UK
  • 2008 –  Institute of the Arab World “From Baghdad to Cordoba: In the footsteps of Ziryab”, Paris, France
  • 2007 – Iraqi Cultural Week, UNESCO, Paris, France
  • 2007 – Guest performer a the Arabic Films Festival, Italy
  • 2007 – Gust performer at the Conference of Arab Writers, Algeria
  • 2007 – Al Mada Festival, Iraq
  • 2006 – Director and performer, Iraqi Music Week, London, UK
  • 2005 – Guest performer, International Book Exhibition, U.A.E
  • 2004 – Guest performer, International Music Day, BBC Radio 3, UK
  • 2004 – Mediternatian Festival, Italy
  • 2003 – WOMAD Festival, Reading, UK
  • 2003 – Festival of Iraqi Culture, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2002 – Festival of Iraqi Culture, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 1998 2002 – International Conference and Festival of Lute and Music, France and Spain
  • 1997 – The International Music Festival, Cambridge University, UK
  • 1995 – Conference of Arabic Music, Damascus, Syria
  • 1994 – International Festival of Arabic Music, Cairo, Egypt
  • 1987 – International Festival, Poland