Egyptian flautist Rania Omar wins She Arts music competition

Ati Metwaly , Wednesday 12 Oct 2022

Performing with her formation, Flute & Bow, Rania Omar won the first place in a music competition organised by the She Arts festival.

Rania Omar
Flute Bow sextet (Photo: Ahmed Hassan)

 

The competition was part of the second edition of She Arts, an annual festival dedicated to showcasing women's creativity.

Omar applied to the competition with her project Flute & Bow, a sextet of professional musicians, graduates of the Cairo Conservatory, and members of national orchestras.

The ensemble’s protagonist is the flute, accompanied by four string players: Mohamed Sharara on violin, Mahmoud Zakareya on viola, Mohamed Ahmed on cello, Karim Adnan on double bass, in addition to Mohamed Arafa on percussion.

“Since its foundation in 2018, Flute & Bow has given a number of concerts in a variety of venues in Egypt, such as the Cairo Opera House, El Sawy Culturewheel, Bab 18 Art Space, Room Arts Space, etc. Yet since the festival competition looks into women's creativity and their projects, it was a natural step for me to try my luck. This year seven women musicians submitted their projects,” Omar told Ahram Online.


(Photo: courtesy of She Arts)

 

During the competition, together with the sextet, Omar performed three compositions including the famed Libertango by Astor Piazzolla.

The compositions come from the formation’s repertoire that focuses on tangos by Western and Arab composers.

“With Flute & Bow, we perform works that are easily absorbed by the listeners, representing light and dance music arranged for the formation. Apart from the tangos from the Western music, we also include those by Omar Khairat and Farid Al-Atrash, as well as compositions performed by Asmahan, among others,” Omar adds.

“With flute being the main instrument, the listeners have a chance to rediscover its beauty as fused especially into Oriental works which originally do not feature this instrument.”

Here, Omar sheds light on the fact that the flute known to the Western classical music (typically made of metal, with 16 tone holes), is not used in Arabic music, and as such is hardly known by many listeners. Arabic music relies on the nay, a wooden flute with a different technique that produces sound through 7-9 tone holes.

 


(Photo: courtesy of She Arts)

Today in her 30s, Omar is a graduate of the Cairo Conservatory (2005). She obtained her masters degree in music in 2014 and is currently working on her PhD. Omar is a flute player at the Cairo Symphony Orchestra and a music researcher at the National Research Centre for Music and Traditional Arts, Cairo.

The second edition of She Arts took place between 30 September and 4 October. Founded and managed by Nevine Kenawy, and fully dedicated to women’s creativity, the festival’s activities filled the stages of Tahrir Cultural Centre in Cairo.

The second prize went to Abrar Band, an ensemble consisting of women Sufi chanters.

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