Peter Croton (European Lute) & Nehad El Sayed (Arabic Oud)



The European lute has its origins in the Arab world. “Al ’ud” was introduced in medieval times into Spain by the Moors and it gradually took on the form, music and playing technique associated with the ‘Renaissance lute’. Although the lute and oud developed differently, it is their common ground that brings us together in a program that presents the instruments alone as well as in collaboration - a meeting of related instruments with a common history. This program includes traditional and modern solo music for each instrument, as well as duets which highlight the instruments individuality as well as their similarities. 


"Peter Croton comes from the USA; Nehad El-Sayed from Egypt. Both are famous virtuosos on their instruments, both live in Switzerland, and they have come together to form a unique duo. … Croton und El-Sayed presented a fascinating musical event with Renaissance and contemporary music.” 

(Toccata Nr. 97; September/October 2018)

“… their high-level virtuosity and perfection increased as they began to play as a duo. … A highlight of the program was the improvised Passacaglia, in which the musical diversity between East and West was united”
(German Lute Society, Lauteninfo 2-3/2018)


 Concert excerpts 

The love he left behind 


“Nehad El Sayed … enriched the evening with his incomparably virtuoso oud playing. He is undoubtedly one of the most talented oud players in the world” OLTNER TAGBLATT

Nehad El Sayed born 7.08.1975 in Kairo. He is one of the most talented oud players in the world. In 2001, he completed his education at the Beit El Oud in Cairo, the only academy for Arabic lute, with honors. At this academy and also at the Cairo Opera House, he was already employed as a teacher during his studies in 2004 and sent as its representative for three months to Algeria. He is well familiar with the different types of the Arabic classical music repertoire and also plays Sufi music. In addition, he has dealt with aspects of the modern Arabic composition since his musical beginnings.

The open-minded musician earned some fame with brilliant appearances at several major festivals in Cairo and Alexandria, visited together with the prestigious Oyoun Ensemble Oman, Syria, Lebanon, Algeria, Jordan, Tunisia and Italy, was a guest of the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris (2000) and the oud symposium in Marrakech (2002), and appeared in the same year with the Beit El Oud El-Araby Trio at the Babylon Festival. He is also the winner of the first oud competition which was organized by the Arab League in Amman (Jordan) in 2000. In 2005, he was invited as an artist in residence by Switzerland’s national arts foundation Pro Helvetia and during that time realized three cross-cultural projects. This was a crucial moment. El-Sayed returned to Bern in 2005 and was accepted as a composition student at the Hochschule der Künste Bern / HKB, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Summer 2008 and graduated with a Master of Arts in Composition and Theory in September 2010.

In the meantime, Nehad El-Sayed has made himself known as an oud performer and a likeable ambassador of Arabic music also in Switzerland. In addition, several of his compositions have been performed, and he received several commissions from the Medizinerorchester Bern, Ensemble Vortex Genève, Spiegel Choir Bern, Bernese Chamber Orchestra and Youth Orchestra Köniz / JOK). The Swiss national radio DRS2 made possible a recording and his first CD. On the one hand well-informed and deeply rooted in the Egyptian-Arab culture, Nehad El Sayed is also a cosmopolitan who with his musical creations enters in a discourse with the West and allows himself to be inspired by very different influences. This bridging, this continuation of maintaining and updating the old exchange between East and West, is an important concern, both in his compositional language and intercultural projects.

It's not just about synthesis and evolution, but also the co-equal dialogue and the playful juxtaposition of different mentalities and stylistic positions - from the Arabic tradition to John Cage and musique concrète. No wonder that his compositions are written for very differing and often surprising instrumental combinations. Similar to El-Sayed’s biography, they present with empathy and humorous humanity something from the heterophony or cacophony of the today’s world society. 

 Award-winning lutenist and romantic-guitarist Peter Croton is an active performer & recording artist as soloist & accompanist who has been teaching lute, romantic guitar, continuo, and historical performance practice at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis since 1989 and the Conservatory of Music in Bern since 1984. In the press he has been called a “lyric poet of the lute” and has been praised for his “breathtaking virtuosity” and “astonishing range of tone colors and dynamics”. His compositions for voice & lute have been described as “challenging and refined... highly suited for inclusion in today's concert repertoire. 

He studied lute and classical guitar with Dr. Loris Chobanian (Oberlin Conservatory of Music) and lute with Eugen Dombois and Hopkinson Smith (Schola Cantorum Basiliensis). He won first prize at the Erwin Bodky Competition for Early Music in Cambridge MA (1984) and has also won prizes at other international competitions. He has recorded numerous CDs, appeared on television and radio as soloist and chamber musician, and has performed at many international festivals. Peter is the author of four books on the subject of lute, guitar and historically inspired performance.

Since 2011, Peter Croton has been included in the Marquis Who's Who in the World, featuring biographies of “the most accomplished men and women from around the world and across all fields of endeavor”. Peter is President of the German Lute Society (Deutsche Lautengesellschaft), and is the initiator & artistic director of BASEL PLUCKS - festival for lute & guitar. 


Peter Croton, European Lute & Nehad El Sayed, Arabic Oud

Francesco Spinacio (fl. 1507)


Mamdouh El-Gebaly (*1967)

Samaai Rahet Arwah

Peter Croton (*1957)

Quietness (Prelude)

Searching for Dalza

Marcel Khalife (*1950)

Jadal (excerpts)

Jamil Bashir (1920-1977)


Peter Croton (*1957) 

Variations on Greensleeves

Nehad El Sayed (*1975)

Variations on Greensleeves (improvisation)

Croton/El Sayed

Passacaglia (improvisation)

Joan Ambrosio Dalza (fl. 1508)

Salterello & Piva