Saudi Arabia to establish Bait Al-Oud Arabic Music Institute

Ati Metwaly , Wednesday 12 Jan 2022

Saudi Arabia announced the establishment of the Bait Al-Oud Arabic Music Institute that aims to promote the region's talents and develop a new generation of musicians.

(Photos: Ahmed Hassan)

Bait Al-Oud (“House of Oud”) is an institution that provides music education on a variety of traditional Arabic instruments with a focus on the oud, a string instrument with a pear-shape like a lute that is considered one of the most important instruments in Arabic music.

It is yet to be revealed when Saudi Arabia’s Oud House will begin operations. In addition to the oud, the institute will offer trainings in other instruments, including duf, mizmar and rebab.

The launch of the Bait Al-Oud in Jeddah is one of the most important cultural and music education events in Saudi Arabia.

In December 2020, Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan announced the opening of two other music institutes, the International Music Training Center and the Music House Institute for Training.

Earlier the same year, Saudi authorities developed a plan for incorporating music education into primary schools' curriculum. Those steps are being taken in cooperation with Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) and the Education and Training Evaluation Commission.

The commission has also released an open call to all music educators wishing to open music learning centres, announcing the procedure to submit applications to obtain a license for cultural and art institutes.

Oud is a popular instrument and an important part of many compositions from the Arab world and Turkey. As such, there are many different schools teaching oud, with the most notable being those from Egypt, Iraq, Syria and Turkey.

Egypt is known for its own Beit Al-Oud, an educational institution established in 1998 by the renowned Iraqi oud player and composer, Naseer Shamma.

However, Cairo's Oud House was preceded by an institute in Tunis founded by Shamma in 1993. This was followed by numerous oud institutes being established across the Arabic region, whether by Shamma or other musicians and arts managers.

Over the past decades, many of them have trained a new generation of Arabic music performers, oud players as well as musicians performing on other instruments such as duf, rebab, mizmar, among others.

Most recently, in last months of 2021, the artistic advisor to the City of Arts and Culture at the New Administrative Capital, Ahmed Abouzahra, revealed that a new oud house will be established in the city, along with many other institutes of music.

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