One of Lebanon's international artists, born and raised in the cosmopolitan Beirut of the 60's and 70's, Rabih learned to play the oud (the king instrument of Arab music ) at the tender age of 4 years. The Lebanese civil war, forced him to leave his country in 1978 to study classical flute in Munich in Munich Academy of Music with Walter Theurer. Studies of classical Western music allowed him to combine the theory of Arabic music with diverse other styles. While classical Oud instrumentalists strove to imitate the human voice inflections, Rabih Abou Khalil explored new paths for the instrument. Currently Rabih's technique are recomended as study material for jazz guitarists, while his compositions comprise a summary of centuries of Arab culture, without sound, even remotely, as traditional Arab music.
Rabih Abou Khalil has established itself as avant-garde composer and one of the most renowned musicians of the oud. Not only because their compositions are timeless but also because it raises questions that nobody dared to take before getting create its own language. Commissioned by the South West German Radio, wrote a very unusual composition for string quartet. The release by the famous Kronos Quartet was the highlight of the Stuttgart Jazz Summit in 1992. In his CD: "Arabian Waltz" with the Balanescu Quartet managed to integrate the string quartet (for centuries the queen ensemble for Western classical music) in Arabic music and language.
His last work "in Portuguese”, is a new adventure: the composition of a full concert inspired by the Fado. Ricardo Ribeiro's voice one of the most dedicated young fado (also involved in the film "Casa de Fados by Carlos Saura) sings contemporary melodies that retain both the essence of Fado, such as the Arabic roots of Rabih Abou Khalil. All this on an upbeat contemporary jazz, halfway made between the North-American drummer, Jarrod Cagwin, bassist French: Michel Godard and Italian accordionist Luciano Biondini, all partners of Rabih musical adventures since the early 90's.