Ahmed Al Abaca

Ahmed Al Abaca

b. 1984



Ahmed Al Abaca is an African American composer, conductor, songwriter, pianist, and community facilitator. Creating power and possibility, through music, for themselves and the diverse communities they are a part of is the bases of Ahmed’s work. Raised in San Bernardino, CA, Ahmed understands the value of hard work and perseverance in the face of systemic and interpersonal challenges. Ahmed’s vision is “a new renaissance” for underrepresented composers, which centers the works of people of color, and creates opportunities to perform, record, and archive their work.

Ahmed received their B.A. in Music from Hunter College in New York and attended advanced classes in film scoring at Juilliard and UCLA extension. While in New York, Ahmed began their professional career as a composer. Scoring over 3 plays and 2 musicals. Here is where Ahmed met their creative partner Lily Raabe-Lily directed every show Ahmed scored. Lily was a perfect collaborator because she shared the same views of how art can be the conduit of change in overlooked communities. Ahmed, Lily, and Brandon Estrella created and produced an Art Festival in Hilo, Hawaii. The Live Aloha Art Festival (named by Waiakea high school students) combined Theatre, Music, and Film. As a collective, they worked together with local organizations and schools to provide a festival for the people by the people.

Over the years, Ahmed has advocated for compassionate, honest, and genuine community engagement. Currently serving as music director of South Loop Symphony, a community orchestra in Chicago, Ahmed’s passion for honest community engagement and the importance of true transparency, has connected them with Chicago’s increasingly diverse artistic communities. By programming music from the 20th and 21st centuries with an emphasis on Black and Women composers, Ahmed has exposed their audiences to music that has been largely forgotten or overlooked. Since moving to Chicago, Ahmed has also worked with some of the nation's best musicians-from D-Composed, a premiere All-Black string quartet to the Chicago Sinfonietta Orchestra, as a co-presenter demonstrating the roles and responsibilities of a conductor to students in the Chicago area.

Over the past 20 years, Ahmed has had the pleasure of working with all kinds of communities from being a peer educator for 4 years while in high school to now, working with young Black and Latino music students on the south and west sides of Chicago. Composing and arranging music for professional and community orchestras all over the US, and providing affordable music lessons to those who are passionate about learning more about music. They will continue to promote the importance of genuine, compassionate, and honest community engagement through conversation, action, and music.