Egyptian composer Attia Sharara's birth centenary to be celebrated in concerts

Ati Metwaly , Wednesday 22 Feb 2023

A series of concerts is planned this year to celebrate the birth centenary of Egyptian composer and violin virtuoso Attia Sharara (1922-2014).

Attia Sharara


Born on 18 November 1922, Attia Sharara was among the leading Egyptian musicians of his generation.

The violin virtuoso left a large body of compositions which are performed by numerous ensembles, particularly by the Sharara Sextet, an ensemble gathering the family members.

"2023 will be marked by numerous concerts commemorating my grandfather's music legacy," Kholoud Sharara told Ahram Online, adding that the upcoming concert featuring Attia Sharara's Arab Concerto no. 1 for Violin and Orchestra will take place at the Cairo Opera House on 25 February.

In the concert, the Cairo Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by Mohamed Sharara, with Hassan Sharara (Attia's son) as solo violin. The programme which also includes works by other Arab musicians is part of Arabic Perspectives Festival. More concerts featuring Sharara's compositions are planned for the upcoming months, with Sharara Sextet yet to reveal their dates.

Attia Sharara studied music at the Fouad I Institute for Traditional Music, where he also studied Western classical music.

Throughout his career, Sharara carved his name as a virtuoso violinist and performed with many ensembles presenting a variety of music genres. He accompanied Um Kolthoum and Mohamed Abdel-Wahab, but he also participated in Western classical music events. 

As he began composing music in the 1950s, he became more interested in Western harmonies and performance techniques. As such, his legacy includes many works for vocal, chamber, and orchestral formations. He also composed concertos for nay (Egyptian cane flute), oud, as well as cello. 

Sharara taught music -- violin, music theory, and Arabic music composition -- at the Arab Music Institute of the Academy of Arts in Cairo.

In 1981, Sharara founded his own sextet, an ensemble comprising mainly his sons. Today, the formation features several string instruments: double bass, cello, violin played by Ashraf Sharara and Hassan Sharara, younger generation including Ahmed Hassan and Mohamed Mohie Sharara, as well as Kholoud Sharara (daughter of Ashraf Sharara) on flute. 

They are often joined by other musicians performing on the qanoun, darbouka and req, among other percussion instruments.

Over time, the sextet has built its very own original repertoire, including known works such as Layali El-Mansoura (Mansoura Nights), Layali El-Qahera (Cairo Nights), and Layali El-Eskendereya (Alexandria Nights).

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