Karim Sulayman

"lucid, velvety tenor

and pop-star charisma"

-BBC Music Magazine

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Songs of Orpheus

Avie Records

I Love You To Hell And Back. Lebanese-American tenor Karim Sulayman’s neat encapsulation of the Orpheus myth infuses his solo recording debut, Songs of Orpheus. Orpheus, the greatest singer of all time, famously followed his deceased beloved Eurydice to the gates of Hades in an attempt to bring her back to life. He was thwarted by the gods who forbade him to gaze at her during their journey back to earth. He could not resist, and the tale has been told in numerous musical interpretations including those of Monteverdi and his 17th-century compatriots who are represented on this imaginative album, performed with leading baroque orchestra Apollo's Fire.

Debuted at #5 on Billboard Traditional Classical Chart!

Debuted at #3 on iTunes Classical Chart!

iTunes Classical A-List!

Named "Critic's Choice" in OPERA NEWS (full review available online soon)


"...his lucid, velvety tenor and pop-star charisma best suited to melodious arias... He casts beguilingly mellifluous lines..., and captures the wistful melancholy with mellow tones... Sulayman's Italian diction is impeccable... pure beauty of sound." (full review available online soon)


"Tenor Karim Sulayman and the Cleveland-based ensemble Apollo's Fire run this historical/stylistic gamut with emotional engagement and technical aplomb. Sulayman sings with a smooth, at times sweet, and above all even tone that remains balanced and poised through a variety of affects... The legends don’t discuss Orpheus’s virtuosity, but Sulayman tosses in some impressive displays... demonstrating both the tenor’s phenomenal sense of line and his sensitivity to the text without overstatement... The overall effect is of listening closely to a person nobly in touch with their emotions rather than a character tossed around by their feelings." (read the full review here)


"This elegant and heartfelt new release... a pleasure in its own right... rendered with stylishness and an easy grace. Sulayman boasts a clarion but richly textured sound." (read the full review here)


"...music by Tarquinio Merula (very attractively sung by the tenor Karim Sulayman)..."


"...Sulayman has a wonderfully resonant voice, and he contributes, in his singing and in an elegant note, a sense of personal involvement with the story of Orpheus, mythology's most famous vocalist... where Sulayman really excels is in forging a little "I love you to hell and back" narrative to tie together these pieces... An audience of the 17th century, one suspects, would have loved both the idea and its execution by Sulayman, who manages to produce a big yet intimate sound." (read the full review here)


"...the evidence of the present CD Sulayman seems likely to have been a highly personable Orfeo. His tenor is a pleasing lyric instrument, capable of a range of colour. His greatest asset is an acute awareness of text, an asset so essential in this music. Sulayman uses this awareness to effect with, fluid musical shaping that obeys the demands of the text, while never being slave to the rigidity of the bar line. He has, too, the technique to open ‘Rosa del ciel’ with a true messa di voce  and the intelligence to bring, for example, delicious shaping and a sense of the joy of awakening love..." (read the full review here)


"With Songs of Orpheus from Karim Sulayman & Apollo's Fire out now via AVIE Records, it has to be said that once you've listened to this quite incredible recording, you'll simply hit repeat and allow it to waft over and through you all over again... simply put, one of the most breathtaking works of classical art I have ever beholden."  (read the full review here)





Lebanese-American tenor KARIM SULAYMAN has garnered international attention as a sophisticated and versatile artist of his generation. Consistently praised for his sensitive and intelligent musicianship, riveting stage presence, and beautiful voice, he regularly performs on the world’s stages in orchestral concerts and opera, as well as in recital and chamber music.


A native of Chicago, Karim’s musical education began with violin studies at age 3.  He spent years as a boy alto in the Chicago Children’s Choir and was hand selected by Sir Georg Solti and Leonard Slatkin as a soloist with Chicago Symphony Orchestra and St. Louis Symphony. He graduated with highest honors from the Eastman School of Music, where he worked in the Collegium Musicum under the tutelage of Paul O’Dette, and earned a Masters degree from Rice University.  He later moved to Paris, France, where he studied with renowned tenor/haute-contre, Howard Crook. He also studied improvisation at the Second City Training Center in Chicago.


This season he makes his debut at Stockholm’s Drottningholm Slottsteater as Claudio Monteverdi in the world premiere of Syskonen i Mantua, his Australian debut as Testo in Monteverdi’s Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, his debut with the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center in Messiah, and his title role debut in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo with Apollo’s Fire on a US national tour.



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"The vocal star of the evening, however, was Sulayman, whose subtle and wide-ranging tenor voice was marvelous throughout...” 

- Mark Satola, The Cleveland Plain Dealer


In 2017, he created the role of Albert in the world premiere of Laura Kaminsky’s Some Light Emerges for Houston Grand Opera. He has also appeared with Boston Lyric Opera, Chicago Opera Theater and New York City Opera. Other highlights include appearances at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, the International Bach Festival, and the Aldeburgh Festival, and collaborations with such conductors as Harry Bicket, Jane Glover, Helmuth Rilling, Yves Abel and Robert Spano. As a passionate advocate of new music, he has performed world premieres at Carnegie Hall, the Casals Festival and the Aspen Music Festival.


His focus in Baroque music has led him to engagements as Eurillo (Scarlatti’s Gli Equivoci nel Sembiante), Arnalta and Lucano (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Eumete, Anfinomo and Eurimaco (Il ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria), Delfa (Giasone), Tabarco (Almira), Oronte (Alcina), Acis (Acis and Galatea), as well as the tenor solos in Monteverdi’s Vespro della Beata Vergine (1610)


A dedicated chamber musician, Sulayman was a frequent participant at the Marlboro Music Festival under the direction of and in collaboration with pianists Mitsuko Uchida and Richard Goode. He has since been presented by many leading chamber music festivals and in 2017, he appeared in concerts of French chamber works at the Roman River Festival in the UK which were recorded and aired by BBC Radio 3.


His growing discography includes the title role in Handel’s Acis and Galatea, two releases for NAXOS in works of Grétry and Philidor, Apollo’s Fire’s Sephardic Journey on AVIE, and an album of 21st-century chamber works, Piercing are the Darts, on Furious Artisans.  His debut solo album, Songs of Orpheus, is set for release in April 2018 on the AVIE label.  He is also featured in the ARTE documentary Leonard Bernstein - The Composer, to be aired throughout Europe in the summer of 2018 and subsequently released on DVD.


Karim also created a social experiment/performance art piece called I Trust You, designed to open better pathways of communication in a divided political climate.  A video version of this experiment went “viral,” receiving millions of views on the internet, and was honored as a prizewinner in the My Hero Film Festival.



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