Art Alert: 'Eroica' and Egyptian accents with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra

Ahram Online, Tuesday 1 Oct 2013

The Cairo Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Hisham Gabr, performs on Saturday 5 October famous compositions by Beethoven, Ammar El-Sherei and Camille Saint-Saëns

Top: Composers Ammar El-Sherei, Camille Saint-Saëns, Ludwig van Beethoven. Bottom: pianist Marouan Benabdallah, conductor Hisham Gabr.

The Cairo Symphony Orchestra concert on Saturday 5 October, joined by Moroccan piano soloist Marouan Benabdallah, will feature diverse compositions ranging from Ammar El-Sherei to Saint-Saëns and Beethoven under the bâton of Hisham Gabr.

The programme will include Al Haggan by renowned late Egyptian composer and oud player Ammar El-Sherei, followed by Camille Saint-Saëns' Piano Concerto No. 5 in F major, Op. 103 The Egyptian. The second half of the evening will invite the audiences to Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major (Op. 55) "Eroica."

One of the greatest compositions of all time and Beethoven's hallmark, Symphony No. 3 stands at the threshold of musical Romanticism. It is believed that, having listened to Eroica, Haydn said of Beethoven, "He's done something no other composer ever attempted... everything is different as of today." Today, Eroica is among the staple compositions of all concert halls.

Marouan Benabdallah, who will perform Camille Saint-Saëns' Piano Concerto No. 5, is one of the leading pianists of his generation. He has performed on a number of famous stages across Europe, the United States and Asia, where his interpretations of wide-ranging works brought him the acclaim of audiences and critics alike. He has been described as having a "stunning natural virtuosity," "sheer ease and mastery of the piano" and "delicate stylishness."

The Piano Concerto No. 5 in F major, popularly known as The Egyptian, was Camille Saint-Saëns' last piano concerto. Including influences from Javanese, Spanish and Middle-Eastern music, the concerto was composed during one of Saint-Saëns' regular winter vacations in Egypt, specifically in Luxor.

Egyptian Ammar El-Sherei (1948-2012) was one of the brightest stars on the Arabic music scene. Composer and performer, El-Sherei was a remarkable artist who, despite being visually impaired, performed throughout his life until he passed away on December 2012. El-Sherei is recognised among the very few composers to write a concerto for oud and symphonic orchestra. On Saturday 5 October, the Cairo Symphony Orchestra will perform his Al Haggan Overture.

Egyptian conductor Hisham Gabr has performed extensively in Egypt and abroad, conducting symphonic concerts as well as operas and ballets. He collaborated with numerous orchestras in the past, such as the Mexico State Symphony Orchestra, Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra, Poland's Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Astana Philharmonic Orchestra.

In Egypt, Gabr regularly conducts the Cairo Symphony Orchestra and Cairo Opera Orchestra among others, in a large variety of symphonic and chamber works, operas and ballets by international and Arab composers. Since 2010, Gabr became contracted conductor of the Cairo Opera House. 

Saturday 5 October at 7pm
Cairo Opera House, Main Hall

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