30th Arab Music Festival to honour Abdo Dagher, Gamal Salama on opening day

Ahram Online , Saturday 30 Oct 2021

The festival is honouring two renowned Egyptian musicians, Abdo Dagher and Gamal Salama, who passed away earlier this year with their works to be performed on the opening day

Arab Music Festival
Abdo Dagher L and Gamal Salama R

In the segment showcasing Dagher's compositions, the orchestra will be conducted by Hany Farahat, while in the part focusing on Salama's compositions, the orchestra will be led by Nayer Nagui and will feature flutist Ines Abdel-Dayem, who is also Egypt’s culture minister, and renown violinist Hassan Sharara.

The evening will also see contributions from musician Ahmed Ibrahim, and singers Reham Abdel Hakim and Yasser Soliman.

Abdo Dagher passed away on 10 May at the age of 85.

Often referred to as "the violinist of Um Kalthoum," he also composed numerous music pieces which continue to be performed in Egypt on regular basis. Among the best known works are Al-Shabab, The Nile, Al-Mashrabiya, Akhnaton, among others. 

Together with Abdel-Halim Noweira, he founded the Arab Music Ensemble, a formation operating as part of the Cairo Opera House. He also supervised the Oriental Violin House affiliated with the Talents Development Centre at the Cairo Opera.

It was not until 1992 that his compositions and violin virtuosity began to be recognised internationally. He toured across Europe, becoming a recurring guest in France, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain. His performances attracted interest on the international stage and his technique is now taught in music schools across Germany when presenting oriental violin techniques in their curriculum.

Dagher received many local and international awards. Dagher has been praised for his very personal style, his technique and virtuosity. His talent as a composer combined with his innate sense of improvisation infused his work and performance with originality and unparalleled quality.

Gamal Salama, who passed away on 7 May at the age of 75, is primarily known for his scores and songs that he composed for films and television series of the 1960-80s.

The son of composer Hafez Ahmed Salama, Gamal Salama studied piano and earned his PhD at Moscow's Tchaikovsky Conservatory. His music is often performed on Egyptian stages by well-known singers.

Among the singers whose repertoire includes songs written by Salama are Sabah, Majida El-Roumi, Samira Said among others.

The 30th edition of the Arab Music Festival and Conference will take place 1-15 November, spanning over two weeks for the first time. Usually the festival takes place within the first 10 days of November.

The large selection of concerts showcasing Egyptian and Arab musicians, ensembles and orchestras will all take place on stages operated by the Cairo Opera House. These include theatres within the Cairo Opera House itself, in addition to the Gomhoreya Theatre and Arabic Music Institute, extending to the Sayed Darwish Theatre in Alexandria and Damanhour Opera House.

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