• Professional Studies in Violin Performance, Cleveland Institute of Music
  • Master’s of Music in Violin Performance, Cleveland Institute of Music
  • Bachelor’s of Music in Violin Performance, San Francisco Conservatory of Music


  • Orchestra Ensemble

Professional Memberships

  • Member of San Antonio Philharmonic
  • Member of West-Eastern Divan Orchestra


A native of Damascus, Syria, Bassam Nashawati began playing the violin at the age of seven. After graduating from the Arab Institute of Music, he immigrated to the United States to pursue his musical studies at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he earned a Bachelor’s degree studying with the late Isadore Tinkleman. Subsequently, he continued his musical education with renowned professor Donald Weilerstein at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he earned a Master’s and a Professional Studies degrees.

As a compliment to his educational and performing experience, Bassam has participated in many music festivals in the US and abroad. He later performed with the New World Symphony for three years under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas, during which he had the opportunity to lead the orchestra as Concertmaster and Principal Second Violin in its 10th anniversary tour in Europe.

Bassam joined the San Antonio Symphony’s first violin section in fall 1999 and held a position as an adjunct faculty at St. Philip’s College for several years. Since that time, he has been active teaching and performing locally in recitals and chamber music concerts. He particularly enjoys working with young students and performers, coaching and leading sectionals with the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio (YOSA). Recently, he has worked with a young Syrian violinist prodigy, Jad Ibrahim, through Zoom and helped him to come to the US to participate in the prestigious Interlochen Arts Camp and the Academy at age 15. He joined the adjunct faculty at St. Mary’s University as the Orchestra director in the Fall of 2023.

Nashawati has appeared many times as a recitalist and soloist with the Syrian National Symphony in his native country performing the Beethoven Violin Concerto, which took him on a tour to the US in 1998. You can hear some samples of his performances on his YouTube channel.

Since 2004, Bassam has practically toured the world performing with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra (WEDO) as Associate Concertmaster and Principal Second Violin. WEDO is an orchestra comprised of Israeli, Palestinian and other Arab musicians, founded by world-renowned conductor/pianist Daniel Barenboim and his friend the late Palestinian Edward Said, promoting peace and dialogue among its musicians. He rejoined the West Eastern Divan Orchestra as recently as of summer 2023, performing in Berlin, Cologne, Lucerne Festival and Salzburg Festival.

Nashawati had the privilege to perform several chamber music concerts with Daniel Barenboim and members of Berlin Philharmonic including the concertmaster (at the time) Guy Braunstein, at the historic Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Barenboim’s first public concert at the age of 7, and at the Salzburg Music Festival in Austria. In addition to his involvement with WEDO, Nashawati has been part of the Palestinian National Orchestra since its founding year in 2011 and has toured with them in Indonesia, Jordan, and the West Bank.

Bassam has also pursued a theological degree in Orthodox Christian Studies and has been serving as a deacon since 2005 at St. Ephraim Orthodox Church in San Antonio, Texas, of which he is a founding member. He has been married to his beautiful wife Melissa since 2002 and they have two wonderful boys, Stefan and Ilyan.

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