Skip to Main Content

Top Searched


Malek Jandali

Composer in Residence
Art, Design & Music Department, College of Arts & Sciences


Queens alumnus and world-renowned composer and pianist Malek Jandali ’97 became Queens University of Charlotte’s first composer-in-residence in October 2020.

Thanks to a gift from Sam and Carolyn McMahon, this appointment offers opportunities and international visibility to Queens students, particularly in the music department. During his time at Queens, Jandali will compose and produce major symphonic works commissioned by Queens, with the goal to engage professional orchestras for the world premiere performances.

“I am so grateful to Queens and Sam and Carolyn McMahon for making this possible,” Jandali said. “I sought a university connection to broaden my humanitarian and education efforts, and there is not a better fit than my alma mater. Under the mentorship of my professor Paul Nitsch, I deepened my passion and honed my craft. I am fortunate to be able to give back to Queens in this unique way.”

On February 20, 2021, in celebration of the first anniversary of the Carolyn G. McMahon Center for Music and the Sarah Belk Gambrell Center for the Arts and Civic Engagement on the Queens campus, Jandali released his 11th album, Piano Concerto No.1. Recorded in London with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra before the pandemic, it was the first album commissioned by Queens University since he became the university’s composer-in-residence.

“We are beyond proud to have Malek in the Queens family,” said Queens President Dan Lugo. “He has remained connected to the university and we have celebrated his successes with him over the years. The appointment of composer-in-residence will formalize our relationship, enable current Queens students to benefit from his global learning and experiences, and bring innovative, original music to the Charlotte community and beyond.”

Jandali’s achievements are global and impressive. He was selected by The Carnegie Corporation of New York as a 2015 Great Immigrant and has been honored repeatedly for preserving and protecting his Syrian heritage. Founder of Pianos for Peace, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building peace through music and education, Jandali is also the recipient of the 2014 Global Music Humanitarian Award. His works have been performed by numerous orchestras such as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra at such prestigious venues as the Sydney Opera House, Wiener Konzerthaus, and Carnegie Hall, among others.

Malek Jandali’s most recent premieres include his Viola Concerto for Roberto Diaz, his Clarinet Concerto for Grammy-nominated clarinetist Anthony McGill, and his Violin Concerto with Rachel Barton Pine. His 2023 album “Concertos” on the Cedille Records label received four stars from BBC Music Magazine.

During his time at Queens while studying under Professor Paul Nitsch, D.M.A., Jandali received the Outstanding Musical Performer award from the university in 1997. Professor Nitsch says of Jandali, “Malek Jandali is passionate. He’s passionate about music, with an intrinsic understanding of the power of music to touch the human spirit, to move humanity in positive directions toward peace, beauty, and respect for all humans around the globe. His music speaks to all that is inexpressible about humanity. To be as young as he is and know what he does is a rare bit of genius.”

As the founder and CEO of Pianos for Peace, Jandali’s nonprofit organization uses music and education to foster peace and understanding around the globe. Jandali’s passion extends to nurturing young talent through the Malek Jandali International Youth Piano Competition, offering a platform for aspiring musicians from all corners of the world.


B.A. Music, Queens University
MBA, University of North Carolina at Charlotte