Zahia Ziouani grew up in a family of music lovers. She learned classical guitar before learning viola. She then decided to learn conducting. Student of the master-classes of Sergiu Celibidache in Paris, she was only 16 when she was noticed.
Followed several months of intensive courses. Then she founded her own ensemble, the Divertimento Orchestra, which since 1998 has animated the territory of Seine-Saint-Denis. She also conducted the National Orchestra of Algeria from 2006 to 2013. Fascinated by the stage, she creates shows with actors, athletes or choreographers, while opening her repertoire to other genres such as hip-hop or Mediterranean music. She helps young musicians with the Divertimento Academy, which she founded in 2008. Zahia Ziouani willingly talks about her atypical career, which saw her face the prejudices attached to her social and cultural origins, her career in Seine-Saint-Denis or her desire to be a female conductor, during conferences and in her autobiography La Chef d’Orchestre. Her story was brought to the screen in 2023 by Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar in the film Divertimento.