Joseph Tayoun, a second generation Lebanese American, is an accomplished Middle Eastern percussionist. He started playing at age eight at his family’s renowned Middle East Restaurant in Philadelphia where live authentic Arabic, Turkish, Persian, Armenian, Greek, and Israeli music and dance were performed nightly for forty years. Learning from many of the area’s top Middle Eastern players, Joe became adept at the many styles of drumming within these different traditions. He performs much of this repertoire with an ensemble at the Nile restaurant (the former Middle East Restaurant) in Philadelphia, and with other ensembles locally and nationally, including Jaffna, a band that combines styles of Middle Eastern and Indian music.
Having taught music in a New Jersey public school for years, he currently teaches drumming at St. Maron’s Hall in the heart of Philadelphia’s Lebanese community, in part, through PFP’s FAME program. In the summers, he teaches at Al-Bustan Arabic Day Camp along with Middle Eastern dancer Michele Tayoun. He also conducts workshops at conferences and universities.
Joseph’s performance history includes seasons at two of the world’s largest casinos: the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City and Foxwoods in Connecticut. He has participated in several residencies with Zakir Hussain and with Simon Shaheen at Swarthmore College and The Painted Bride Art Center in Philadelphia. He accompanied Yair Dolal of Israel for performances in Princeton, New Jersey, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and performs with Philadelphia Orchestra cellist Ohad “Udi” Bar David, and his Intercultural Journeys ensemble. For over a a decade, Joseph played “Concerts for Peace” with the Arabic-Jewish ensemble Atzilut, with whom he has performed at the United Nations, and traveled throughout the U.S. as well as Germany and Portugal. He also participated in PFP’s Folk Arts Education program, and collaborated in Tito Rubio’s PFP artist residency.