Yasmina Sabbah is a Lebanese choir and orchestra conductor who holds a Masters of Music in Conducting from the University of Cambridge. As one of the only female orchestra conductors in the MENA region, it remains her mission to break stereotypes by using her platform to elevate the image of Middle Eastern women in leadership positions and to empower young musical talents by fostering an open and inclusive mindset through the power of music.
In July 2021, Yasmina Sabbah was appointed as conductor of the Firdaus Orchestra, a pioneering all-female musical ensemble developed exclusively for Expo 2020 Dubai under the patronage of Oscar-Winner A.R. Rahman. Set to perform at all major events and celebrations at the Expo, the orchestra brings together musicians of 23 nationalities from the MENA region to create an innovative sound by merging Western, Eastern, and Oriental instruments and performing a varied repertoire from classical western symphonic works to oriental and newly commissioned pieces. The orchestra, under Sabbah’s baton, has performed at the Expo Dubai Opening Ceremony with international stars such as Andrea Bocelli, Hussain Al Jassmi, Ahlam, Mayssa Karaa among others.
Sabbah is also the Director of Music at the Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth and has led the Choeur de l’USJ since 2016. Founded in 2015 by Pr. Salim Daccache s.j., the USJ Choir has grown to include over seventy singers. Sabbah also directs the Ensemble Vocal Baroque de l’USJ, an advanced chamber choir specialized in early music. She has curated and conducted a large and varied repertoire ranging from Baroque to Contemporary music, most notably performances of Vaughan Williams’s “Dona Nobis Pacem”, Mozart’s “Requiem”, Handel’s “Messiah”, Haydn’s “Nelson Mass”, J.S. Bach’s “St. John Passion”, Jenkins’ “The Armed Man” along with many others. Increasingly recognized and praised for its nuanced musical interpretations, the USJ Choir places significant emphasis on musicality, meticulously shaded dynamics, and articulation. As a result, in its now seventh year, the choir has already earned its place next to the leading choirs in the region.
In 2019, Sabbah made her debut conducting the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra, and has been a guest conductor since. She was then elected as President of the Jeunesses Musicales du Liban, a member of Jeunesses Musicales Internationales (JMI), the largest youth music NGO in the World.
In parallel to her conducting career, Sabbah has also been very active as an educator, her work aiming to have a hand in forming better citizens by focusing on the advancement of music education in the region and creating equal opportunities and platforms for young students in learning music and sharing in musical experiences. She has taught at the American University of Beirut and the Lebanese American University and has led the Lebanese National Higher Conservatory of Music Children and Youth Choirs.