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.
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.