Nizar Rohana is a Palestinian oud player currently based in the Netherlands distinguished for combining virtuosity within fresh contemporary compositions, while maintaining the oud’s idiomatic language.
He was born in the village of 'Isifya on Mount Carmel near Haifa city to a father who played oud in communal celebrations and a mother who accompanied him on percussions. From a young age, Rohana played music, picking up the oud when he was 13.
Following extensive studies in oud performance and composition, and musicology, Rohana immersed himself in developing contemporary oud compositions, taking inspiration from the practices of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin and Brahms all the way to Tanburi Cemil Bey, Kemani Tatyus Efendi, Muhammad Al-Qasabji and Muhammad Abdel Wahab.
In 2001 he was awarded a Bachelor of Music and Arts (specialisms in oud performance and musicology) from the Arabic Music Department of the Jerusalem Academy for Music and Dance and the Musicology Department of the Hebrew University. For some time he then focused his work on the music of the great Egyptian composer Muhammad Al-Qasabji, completing his Master’s degree in 2006.
Between 2000 and 2007 Rohana worked as one of the main oud teachers at the Edward Said National Conservatory in Jerusalem, Ramallah and Bethlehem.
Since September 2013, Rohana has been based in the Netherlands pursuing his PhD in improvisation and composition in solo oud performance at Leiden University Academy for Creative and Performing Arts. He is working under the supervision of Prof. Joep Bor, Prof. Frans De Ruiter and Dr. Anne Van Oostrum, as part of the doctoral programme designed for musician-researchers, docARTES.
As a performer, Rohana’s wide stage experience as a soloist and within groups encompasses playing traditional, modern, experimental and world music. During the last fifteen years, he performed in countries such as Japan, Morocco, Egypt, Turkey and in the USA and Europe, releasing his first album Sard (Narration) in May 2008.
In 2012 he formed his own trio together with the Hungarian double bass player Matyas Szandai, and French-Lebanese percussionist Wassim Halal, releasing their debut album Furat (Euphrates) in 2016.
In 2015, Rohana was invited by the renowned Dutch bass player Tony Overwater to participate in the music recordings for the recent IKON documentary series 'Om de Oude Wereldzee' (‘Around the Ancient World Sea’), based on the travels of Dutch politician Abraham Kuyper. In 2016, Overwater and Rohana formed the Rohana-Overwater Ensemble together with the Dutch clarinetist Maarten Ornestein; Tunisian violinist and viola d’amore player Jasser Haj Youssef and Jordanian percussionist Nasser Salameh.