The American University in Cairo (AUC) has announced the launch of the ‘Spring 2021 Concert Series’, as well as the latest initiatives under the Department of Art’s Music Program.
The announcement came during a virtual media roundtable discussion last Monday, which was attended by: Chelsea Green, Associate Professor and Director of the Music Program; Ashraf Fouad, AUC Concert Series Director and Adjunct Professor; Nesma Mahgoub ‘AUC Concert Series’ Member, Adjunct Professor and Singer; as well as Tasneem Elaidy, a Junior Student of Music Technology and Music Performance.
The discussion was followed by a live stream of the Mosaic Quintet, performing selected works by Egyptian pioneers in Arab music from the mid-1800s to the mid-1960s, and many other Arab musical forms.
The AUC said that the Concert Series will present 13 professional concerts this year, followed by six student performances at the end of the semester.
“This year, [the] AUC Concert Series includes Pawel Kuzma and Taha El-Mansy performing the Lineage: Music for classical guitar; Isis string orchestra’s performance, from Classical to American Music; a Lions of Cairo performance; Baroque and Before as well as, an Opera for peace Concert, which will feature young Arab singers performing with Cairo Festival Orchestra,” the AUC said in a press release.
Fouad said that the AUC Concert Series is one of the oldest and most prestigious within the region, noting, “[It] has been present since the founding of the university.”
The AUC said that the series hosted the legendary Umm Kalthoum along with American Pianist and Composer Herbie Hancock at the Ewart Memorial Hall. The same series invited the Cairo Conservatory and Cairo Ballet, with the university’s Ewart Hall also witnessing Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, an opera buffa, or comic opera in three acts, in collaboration with Cairo Opera House.
The production featured AUC students alongside professional singers. The world renowned Russian ballet company, The Bolshoi, also gave a special performance of The Nutcracker ballet in this series.
The roundtable presented the AUC’s Music Program, which teaches theory, literature, and performance of music, as well as the theory and practice of music technology. It holds an orientation towards performance and study in both Western and Arab music.
“The Bachelor of Arts in Music Technology is the only degree of its type in the region,” Green said, “We have students coming from Lebanon and other areas of the Middle East to study with us, as the programme offers cutting-edge technology, including a recording studio and a mastering studio.”
She added, “Our students not only get the theoretical knowledge but also, get a lot of practical experience.”
With the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic disrupting the music industry and live concerts worldwide, the AUC’s Music Program had to get creative, using the latest technology to live-stream concerts.
According to Fouad, “Everyone is welcome to attend our concerts, whether face-to-face or through live-streaming, as some events are open to a limited number of audiences, and others are only live-streamed.”