Founded in 2000 by pianist, conductor and composer Nayer Nagui, the Cairo Celebration Choir (CCC) will represent Egypt during the annual Prague Voices International Choir Festival of Popular and Jazz Music, Spiritual and Gospel, held 8-12 November in Prague, the Czech Republic.
The participation of the choir was the result of a suggestion by Robert Kopecky, cultural attaché at the Czech Republic Embassy in Cairo, and is fully supported by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture.
This is the first time for the Egyptian choir to represent the country officially at an internationally renowned choir festival. According to Nagui, members of the group have already participated in events outside Egypt, such as at various venues in Morocco, but this occasion is the first time the choir will travel as a group.
The choir will give concerts on 9 and 11 November, and they will include arrangements of compositions by Sayed Darwish along with folkloric songs by Gamal Abdel Reheim and Awatef Abdel Kerim.
"The concerts are also an opportunity for international audiences to listen to important and valuable works from the Egyptian composers," Nagui comments to Ahram Online. "Egyptian music is not only about darabouka (an oriental drum) and riq (a type of tambourine); it can offer more than tanoura (Sufi dancing) shows. Egyptian music can be in harmony with the world and can be understood by all audiences."
The concerts that will take place as part of Prague Voices 2012 will include 18 Egyptian professional amateurs. Members of the Cairo Celebration Choir will be joined by two oriental percussions musicians, along with Nagui who will conduct the choir and play piano.
The Cairo Celebration Choir was formed in 2000 by Nagui, an Egyptian pianist, composer and conductor. Since its creation, the choir has expanded and today it includes over 100 members of eight different nationalities. The choir has built a vast repertoire of Western classical compositions, including masses and oratorios for voices, as well as Arabic music gems.
The choir gives annual Christmas concerts held at the Cairo Opera House, which includes soloists from the Cairo Opera Company.
Since 2011, Nayer Nagui has been principal conductor and artistic director of the Cairo Opera Orchestra.