About Hafez

Hafez Kotain is the owner and Chief Executive Officer at Hafez Percussion Inc. Hafez Percussion collaborates with many artists (national and international) and organizations to bring people together and build cultural bridges one beat at a time. Kotain is an accomplished master percussionist with fluency in both Arab and Latin rhythms. In 2022, Hafez was selected as an immigrant Everyday Genius by Da Vinci Art Alliance and I Belong Philly. This award is a way to celebrate Philadelphians who are innovators and artists. He is a recipient of the prestigious 2013 Pew Fellowship in the Arts, which is awarded each year to 12 Philadelphia artists who are of exemplary talent. Kotain began studying the doumbek at the age of seven, first performed on stage at the age of nine, and went on to study with master percussionist Hady Jazan, winning the national percussion competitions in Syria for several years. Kotain first began his career as an educator, teaching a variety of percussion styles to dedicated students, musicians, and music teachers. In 2010 and 2011, Kotain taught at the Arab Music Retreat led by the internationally acclaimed Arab music performer, Simon Shaheen. He has toured with Lebanese composer/musician Marcel Khalife and Al Mayadine Ensemble in their latest US and Canada tour for “Fall of the Moon: An Homage to the Poet Mahmoud Darwish.”. Kotain has performed with acclaimed artist Sting, the Philadelphia Orchestra, actor and tenor Mandy Patinkin, Syrian singer George Wassouf and many others. He has also performed and recorded with the GRAMMY® Award-winning choir The Crossing for their 2021 album release of “Words Adorned: Andalusian Poetry and Music.” Throughout the year, Kotain teaches with Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture in various school and community-based programs, including a summer camp for youth. He also teaches 2 semester courses in Arab percussion at the University of Pennsylvania.