The Tribal Gallery presents George Sawa in concert Sat Jan 29
Saturday January 29, 2011, at 8 pm, $10 adv, $12 at door, at Artword Artbar 15 Colbourne St. The Tribal Gallery presents a special concert with the renowned Egyptian musician George Sawa, virtuoso master of the qanun (Egyptian psaltery). He plays traditional Arabic music, accompanied by Suzanne Meyers Sawa. Listen to sample tracks from their Juno-nominated two-vol CD. http://www.georgedimitrisawa.com/media.html
Advance tickets at The Tribal Gallery 174 James St. North, 905-385-1829.
George Sawa was born in Alexandria, Egypt. He studied piano with Irene Drakides, a student of Alfred Cortot, and at the Higher Institute of Arabic Music he studied voice, theory, and qanun (Arabic psaltery). His qanun teachers are Muhammad al-Sa`duni (a student of Mustapha Bey Reda), Milad Mansur (a student of Abdel-Hamid al-Addabi), Amin Fahmi and Mustapha Kamel. After immigrating to Canada in 1970, he studied ethnomusicology at the University of Toronto, and obtained his doctorate in historical Arabic musicology at the Department of Middle Eastern Studies. He has taught graduate and undergraduate courses on medieval, modern, and religious music of the Middle East at York University, and at the University of Toronto (1982-1995), and held the Noor Visiting Professorhip at York University (2006-2007).
George is the author of the fundamental and well-received study Music Performance Practice in the Early cAbbasid Era, 132-320 AH/750-932 AD (Pontifical Institute for Mediaeval Studies, Toronto, 1989; rpt. by The Institute of Mediaeval Music, Ottawa, in 2004). His second book, Theories of Rhythms in Arabic Writings, 750-950 AD (Institute of Mediaeval Music, forthcoming) is now being edited. He is the author of 40 articles on Arabic music history, including entries for The Dictionary of the Middle Ages, The Encyclopedia of Music in Canada and The Encyclopedia of Islam. He is frequently invited to give papers, presentations, and lectures at international conferences in the Middle East, North America, and Europe, speaking on various aspects of medieval and modern Arabic music, as well as workshops on the performance of Arabic classical music.
George has given numerous concerts in Europe, North America and the Middle East. He is founder and director of the Traditional Arabic Music Ensemble, which has been heard in venues across Canada and the USA, and has been broadcast on the CBC. He has recorded with Maureen Forrester, Raffi, Bram Morrisson and R. Murray Schafer. He has appeared as a guest soloist with several groups specializing in Middle Eastern music, and Early Music, and he has been a musical director for many of the productions of the Arabesque Dance Academy. He is the recipient of many SSHRCC grants, Canada Research Fellowship, Canada Council and OAC Grants: he was awarded a Chalmers Foundation Grant to compose two chants for R. Murray Schafer’s The Litany of RA (1982); an Ontario Folk Arts Recognition Fellowship from the OAC for his performances on the qanun (1990); Canada Council Grant for Small Ensemble (Music and Opera Section, 1992) to produce his own concert; Venture Fund Grant from the OAC, to share and develop Arabic music in Toronto (1993). He has also received the prestigious Life-Time Achievement Award from the Egyptian Ministry of Culture for his research in Arabic music history, and has been honored with the award of excellence under the category for Arts and Culture by the Canadian Arab Federation. Beside his research and performance, he teaches privately in his studio (qanun, nay, finger cymbals, theory and music appreciation for belly dancers). Among his students are many members of the maza meze ensemble (Sofia Grigoriadis, Ernie and Maryam Tollar, Jennifer Moore and Jayne Browne); he has also been a member of the teaching staff at the Arabic Music Retreat, Mount Holyeke College, South Hadley, Mass., where he has also performed with Ali Jihad Racy, Simon Shaheen, Bassam Saba, Youssef Kassab and Michel Merhej.