Saed Haddad

Nuages funèbres was composed in 2018 for the 32 Bright Clouds project and received its World Premiere on January 24, 2019 in Washington, DC. It is connected to Beethoven’s Piano Sonata no. 27 in e minor, Op. 90

Haddad’s treatment of the musical material reflects his concern for the limitations of peace agreements, and the challenges in creating a deep and meaningful peace in the world.


Jordanian-born composer Dr. Saed Haddad studied philosophy in Belgium, followed by music composition in Jordan, Israel and England. After having explored in his works from 2004-2006 his identity as a simultaneous resident-outsider to Western and Arabic traditions, Haddad has been questioning the idea of forgetfulness and distance of one's own tradition.

Haddad's music has been commissioned and performed by the most prestigious international ensembles and orchestras in Europe, North America, Australia, Africa and Asia such as Ensemble Modern, Klangforum Wien, Ensemble Intercontemporain, London Sinfonietta, SWR Orch. Baden-Baden u. Freiburg, West Eastern Divan Orch., City of Birmingham Sym. Orch., Deutsches Sym. Orch.-Berlin, Donaueschinger Musiktage, Frankfurt Oper, Köln Philharmonie, Lucerne Festival, Wienerkonzerthaus, Salzburger Festspiele, Festival d’Automne, Festival Présences, Aldeburgh Festival with conductors such as Daniel Barenboim, Heinz Holliger, George Benjamin among others.

Haddad has served as ‘composer-in-residence’ with numerous ensembles, orchestras and festivals. He has been a guest lecturer at many universities, and an invited guest at many radio and TV stations including SWR, BR, RBB, Radio France, France 2, RFI.

Many honors have rewarded Haddad's work including the French and German ‘Prix de Rome’ 2008-10, the deutsche Schallplattkritik Preis 2010, Nomination for the German Music Composers’ Prize 2013, The Koussevitzky Music Foundation Commission- Library of Congress 2014 and Le Prix Coupleux-Lassalle 2015 (shared with Ensemble Musica Nova – Lyon).

His music can be heard on labels such as WERGO, NEOS and Ensemble Modern.


Composer’s Note:

“Nuages funèbres” (Funereal Clouds) is a response to the ‘32 Bright Clouds project: Beethoven Conversations Around the World’. It has been asked that the piece relate to Beethoven’s Op. 90 Piano Sonata as well as to a ‘peace motif’ (dona pacem pacem) taken from the end of his Missa Solemnis.

 Nuages funèbres’ relationship to Beethoven’s Op. 90 Sonata is expressed via:

1-    Focus on E as the main tone-center
2-    Focus on a minor/dark Arabic modality as reference to Beethoven’s E minor in 1st movement
3-    Ending with a major/luminous chord as an allusion to Beethoven’s E major in 2nd movement

 Nuages funèbres’ relationship to the aforementioned ‘peace motif’ from the Missa Solemnis is expressed rather abstractly via focusing on some of the latter’s most frequent intervals such as major 3rd, minor 3rd and minor 2nd.

 It is worthwhile noticing that the span of the minor 3rd (A-G-F#) which occurs in Beethoven’s soprano line when singing “pacem, pacem” is emptied deliberately from its inner tone (G) in Nuages funèbres; thus the focus is made on the two outer tones. This is perhaps an allusion to the futility of peace making: When a peace agreement takes place, it looks nice from the outside, yet fails often to realize its inner dimension, namely, changing human beings to the better.