News of the death of Farag El-Antari, music historian critic, has spread sadness in many quarters since the morning of Wednesday, 29 February. Antari, who was 83, is best-known for his contribution to Egyptian music history in the second half of the twentieth century – championing Eastern (Arabic) singing and work by the 1970s oppositional composer Sheikh Imam Issa.
Writing in Al- Kawakeb, Al-Hilal and Al-Qahira, among others, he was among the earliest critics to formulate the notion of the popular musician who expresses and embodies public consciousness. One long battle involved calling for the protection of the Arab musical heritage – the Sinai Bedouin music, especially – against Israeli sabotage.He wrote at length about methods of collecting and preserving music.
Antari began his career as a volunteer musician during as a Military Academy student in 1957, then he received a Diploma in Theatrical Music from the Higher Institute of Music.
Following his graduation, he worked as an inspector at the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, then a supervisor of the technical department. His works include "The Greek Roots of Our Music", "Singing in Egypt: 1852-1980", "Egyptian Musical Instruments from the Dawn of History", "The Zionist Robbery of Arabic Music", "The Quran of Egypt", and "Abdel Halim Hafez: An Era of Beautiful Singing".