Karim Wasfi is the director, soloist and artistic advisor of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra. Born in Cairo, he studied the cello at the Music and Ballet School in Baghdad. After teaching at Cairo Conservatory, he went to the United States to study the cello with Janos Starker. He also studied electronic music technology and conducting, as well as political studies. Wasfi has served as the principal cellist of several ensembles and has taught at the Music and Ballet School of Baghdad, the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and the Cairo Academy of Arts. Wasfi returned to Iraq Orchestra after the US invasion.