Roger Zahab instigates complex relationships through his activities as composer, violinist, conductor, teacher, and writer. He has written chamber, vocal, and orchestral music in addition to work in dance, theater, and video.

Roger Zahab enjoys instigating fairly complex and unpredictable interactions through his activities as composer, violinist/violist, improvisor, conductor, teacher, and writer. Born in Akron, Ohio of Lebanese-American ancestry, his interests have ranged far and wide. He has fostered premieres of more than 200 works and his repertoire spans some 700 years—from Guillaume de Machaut to the present.

Recent activities include conducting Daron Hagen’s film opera Orson Rehearsed, editing primary and revised versions of Julia Perry’s Concerto for violin which he also gave the world premiere of in February 2022, composing the flute concerto wild woods for Lindsey Goodman, and the role of Strolling Violinist/Charon in Daron Hagen’s film opera 9/10 Love before the Fall. A new album of his music for piano, Roger Zahab – at the piano, performed by Robert Frankenberry, (and recorded and engineered by VCFA alumnx Reed Robins) was released in 2023 and is available on Bandcamp and streaming platforms everywhere.

Roger’s work as composer and improvisor is primarily focused on music’s place in society at large. His work for young students to experienced new music specialists approaches more than 400 works. Recordings are available in many locations including Albany, Bandcamp, Crystal Records, Koch International Classics, Naxos, and Truemedia as well as through iTunes, Spotify and YouTube.

His own work and his editions of other composers are published by C. F. Peters Corporation, New Music Shelf, Carl Fischer Music, Boosey and Hawkes, and Smith Publications.

Roger studied violin and music performance at the University of Akron (BM) and State University of New York/Stony Brook (MM) where his instructors included Vincent Frittelli, Carla Spannbauer, Paul Biss, Louis Lane, Hiroko Yajima, John Graham, Arthur Weisberg, and Paul Zukofsky. His studies in music composition and aesthetics were independently mentored by Tison Street, Ursula Mamlok, and John Cage.

After a decade in New York as a freelance musician he founded (and directed for 13 years) the University of Akron’s New Music Group/Daedalus while also teaching at Mount Union College and the University of Pittsburgh. In 2001 he moved to full time work at the University of Pittsburgh, where he is Teaching Professor, Director of the Orchestra, and Director of Undergraduate Studies.

In 2011 Zahab was invited by the Vermont College of Fine Arts to join as a founding core faculty member of the Master of Fine Arts in Music Composition program and is currently co chair of the program.


MM - Violin Performance | SUNY Stony Brook

BM - Violin Performance | University of Akron

Lisa Mezzacappa

Core Faculty, MFA in Music Composition

Don DiNicola

Core Faculty, MFA in Music Composition

Ravi Krishnaswami

Faculty, MFA in Music Composition

Frank J. Oteri

Residency Faculty, MFA in Music Composition

John Mallia

Core Faculty, MFA in Music Composition

Rob Frankenberry

Residency Faculty, MFA in Music Composition