Shireen Abu Khader

Shireen is a Palestinian Jordanian Canadian artist, composer and educator living in Toronto, Canada. After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from Oberlin College Conservatory in 1994 and a Master’s degree in Choral Music from the University of Southern California in 1998, Shireen’s musical odyssey drew her to Palestine to teach music for several years.

Expanding on her experience and passion, Shireen founded Dozan wa Awtar Music Establishment in 2002, which contributed greatly to her personal and professional development. She earned her PhD Music Education from the University of Toronto in 2019.


Shireen’s inspiration for Dozan wa Awtar Music Establishment stemmed from her experience with the Edward Said Conservatory in Ramallah, Jerusalem and Bethlehem from 1998 to 2000. Prioritizing innovation as the choir’s mission, Shireen ensured every show was meticulously designed to inspire, create, unite, and respond to the changing socio-political context. Her vision continues to shape the local musical identity through a rich variety of compositions, arrangements, and experimentation with choral sounds and concepts.

Dozan World

In 2008, Shireen directed Aswatuna choral festival in Jordan, where choirs from Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Iraq and Sweden came together for the first time. The event ignited numerous choir networks, collaborations and exchanges while Shireen’s CD Introducing Dozan took her choral work to the world stage. As the Jordanian council member for the World Choir Games, she conducted Dozan wa Awtar Singers in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Latvia and Germany. More recently, Dozan wa Awtar Singers earned gold medals at the Sochi World Choir Games in the folkloric and spiritual categories, becoming the only Arab choir to ever receive this honour.

Shireen attended orchestral conducting workshops at the Aspen Music Festival, and performed in the final opera concert. She conducted the orchestra in Bulgaria for Schumann’s 4th, and was invited by the Royal offices in Jordan to learn the intricacies of opera houses at the John F. Kennedy Center for the
Performing Arts in Washington D.C. There Shireen took in five performances of Carmen, culminating in a final concert showcasing Andrea Boccelli and Placido Domingo.

In 2020, Shireen evolved Jordan’s Dozan wa Awtar Music Establishment into a global entity called Dozan World. Its mission is to preserve the folkloric musical heritage of the Levant region. Through a collaborative library hub that promotes and shares regional sheet music and beloved compositions, educators, singers and music aficionados alike can now appreciate these treasures.

Through Dozan World, Shireen is overcoming geographic barriers to encourage all people to discover the musical richness of the Levant, celebrate the stories in the songs and join the movement in each melody.