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Featured Composer: Halim El-Dabh

Halim El-Dabh (1921-2017) was a composer, musician, ethnomusicologist, and educator. Born in Egypt, El-Dabh originally studied agricultural engineering at Fuad I University, studying music and composition informally. His early electro-acoustic compositions (including his famous The Expression of Zaar, one of the earliest musique concrète pieces) led to a move to the U.S.A. as a Fulbright scholar, where he continued his studies with Ernst Krenek, Aaron Copland, and Luigi Dallapiccola, among others.

He continued his work with electronic music at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, working along side Otto Luening, Vladimir Ussachevsky, and John Cage. In addition to his compositions, El-Dabh is known for his investigations and studies into music throughout Africa, including Egypt, Ethiopia, Mali, Senegal, Guinea, Niger, and Zaire.

Though much of his performing was on traditional Egyptian instruments (especially the darabukha), he was also a highly-regarded pianist, with many of his compositions written for the piano. Long considered one of Egypt's preeminent composers, we encourage you to dive into his oeuvre and discover his music for yourself.


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