The idea of combining the Western and Eastern musical worlds started out in 2009 by Lamees Audeh and Wafa Al Zaghal who performed as a duo of the piano and the qanun - the two major instruments of both musical cultures.
This idea was explored further by creating fusion music that combined Western and Eastern musical elements and a lot of the music performed by the orchestra now is a continuation and an elaboration on this main idea.
Between 2009 and 2014 more musicians were brought in and the group became the Canadian Arabic Ensemble. However, due to the fact that an Arabic music ensemble has no Western instruments and is called a “Takht” – whereas the Western classical ensembles have numerous names based on the number of instruments used – it was agreed upon to name the ensemble The Canadian Arabic Orchestra (CAO), and make the number of musicians who wish to enter unlimited. In April 2015, the orchestra registered as a not for profit organization.