'A graceful voice' (The Daily Telegraph)
'marvellously expressive' (St David's Hall, Cardiff, Review: 2009)

Merit Ariane Stephanos is a singer and composer specialising in Arab and Middle Eastern vocal music. Inspired by her German/Egyptian heritage, and her initial training as a Western classical singer, Merit draws on classical Arabic and Western contemporary influences in her music, and is passionate about exploring a musical dialogue between these cultures.

Merit sings with Arabic Jazz Trio Hjaz and Arab/Eastern European ensemble Jaljala. Her recent collaborations feature her with early music singers The Clerks, in their acclaimed programme 'Qudduson' (Sacred songs from East and West) and on a new music theatre project for Opera North about the figure of St George, led by composer Joe Townsend. Last July, she premiered a new work by British composer Peter Wiegold, written especially for her and his ensemble 'notes inegalès', at the opening of the 'Brunel Institute for Contemporary Middle Eastern Music'.

Committed to exploring new musical avenues, Merit sings and composes contemporary vocal music for her Soprano Quartet Tongue Stuff and performs with the avantgarde New London Chamber Choir. Merit is also a professor at the Royal College of Music.

Merit has recently returned from Lebanon where, supported by a Gerald Finzi Scholarship, she spent 3 months researching the chants of the Middle Eastern Christians. Her debut album of her interpretations of classical Arabic songs will be available later this year.

Click here to read Merit's full biography (pdf)