Chamber ensemble promotes Egypt in Slovakia

WHEN many hear the phrase “Egyptian culture”, images of ancient pyramids, pharaohs’ tombs and traditional Oriental dance immediately spring to mind. But in Egypt classical music has become a celebrated genre with a well-established tradition and its own domestic composers. Classical music’s grounding in Egypt is solid enough to make it an effective vehicle for promoting Egyptian culture around the world.

Egyptian orchestraEgyptian orchestra (Source: Zuzana Vilikovská)

WHEN many hear the phrase “Egyptian culture”, images of ancient pyramids, pharaohs’ tombs and traditional Oriental dance immediately spring to mind. But in Egypt classical music has become a celebrated genre with a well-established tradition and its own domestic composers. Classical music’s grounding in Egypt is solid enough to make it an effective vehicle for promoting Egyptian culture around the world.

The Egyptian Philharmonic Orchestra played in Bratislava back in 2011, and since then, the Egyptian Sinfonietta has taken over as a continuation of the original ensemble. On June 16, the latter performed in the Slovak capital, opening with the “Prologue for Chamber Orchestra” by Ahmed El Saedi, who also conducted the Egyptian Sinfonietta, followed by works of Mozart, Haydn and Schubert. Soloists were Abdel-Hamid El Shwekh on violin and Victoria Kapralova (of Russian origin) on violoncello.

The big Concert Studio in the Slovak Radio building was not packed – which can be partially ascribed to the heat outside – but the audiences present praised the performance. As one of the visitors noted, it might have been worth promoting the concert more among students of music who would have probably appreciated it, especially due to the piece composed by Maestro El Saedi, which stood out among the rest of the programme and which is a rarity to hear in central Europe.

The concert in Bratislava was organised by the Egyptian Embassy to Slovakia and during the intermission, promotional materials were distributed, with a reception after the concert the cap off the evening.

In addition to the Slovak capital, the Egyptian Sinfonietta also performed in the Hungarian and Austrian capitals, as well as in Finland, between June 14 and 19, as a messenger of this lesser known yet well-received form of Egyptian culture.

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