Born in Lebanon in 1971, Rony Barrak began playing the darbouka (Middle Eastern tabla) at the age of four. When he was 17, Barrak won a gold medal in a televised competition for young musicians in Lebanon and the Middle East. In 1990, he moved to London, where he studied orchestral percussion and drum kit at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He later taught Middle Eastern percussion at Trinity College of Music.
Barrak has recorded and performed with many great musicians, including Sarah Brightman, Dave Grusin, Don Grusin, Patrick Leonard, Vanessa Mae, Bond, Jaz Coleman, Fairuz, Ziad Rahbani, Talvin Singh, Richard Galliano, Art Lande, Nelson Rangel, Alex Acuna, Ibraham Loberial, Derek Nash, Justo Almario, Oscar Castro-Neves, Antonio Forcione, and Arnie Roth. His latest album, Darbouka City, was released in 2009.
Barrak is a versatile percussionist, blending eastern and western flavors. In addition to the darbouka, he utilizes djembes, cajons, bongos, udus, clay pots, cymbals, parts of a drum kit, and even car parts. His work has been featured in the Symphonic Game Music Concerts, as well as PLAY!, a video game symphony.
Classical music remains Barrak's first love, however, and it provides the basic framework, technique, and musical grammar for most of his work. He has performed with several orchestras, including the London Philharmonic, the Chicagoland Pops, and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic. In 2009, he performed with the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra a world premiere of his composition Beirut Sensations. Barrak has participated in the Conference on World Affairs yearly since 2003.