Cairo Symphony Orchestra
Cairo Symphony Orchestra
The standing ovations with which the concerts of Cairo Symphony Orchestra were met in both Great Halls of the Vienna Musikverein and Salzburg Mozarteum during its tour to Austria in May 2017, reaffirms the important role of the orchestra as an eminent and unique cultural ambassador of Egypt on the one hand as well as its contribution as a participant in enriching the serious musical life in Egypt. The orchestra was founded in 1959 under its first principal conductor Franz Litschauer as a development of its forgoing Egyptian Broadcasting Orchestra. Since 1990 and under its music director Maestro Ahmed El Saedi (1991-2003), the orchestra has succeeded in reaching new horizons in both repertoire, outreach to public and artistic level. Works by Bruckner, Mahler, Ravel, Debussy, Bartok, Hindemith, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Messiaen have become an integral part of the Orchestra’s repertoire.
Since the integration of A Cappella Choir into the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, both have performed together major works for chorus and orchestra. Handel’s “Messiah”, Mozart’s “Requiem”, Verdi’s “Requiem”, Beethoven’s “Missa Solemins” Ninth Symphony and Mass in C major, Brahms “ German Requiem”, Dvořák’s “Stabet Mater” Mahler’s Second Symphony, Haydn’s “The Creation” and Szymanowski’s “Stabat Mater Delorosa” were performed by the Cairo Symphony Orchestra and the A Cappella Choir.
The season program 20014/2015 opened with performances of all Beethoven’s nine symphonies with new and more authoritative approach by Maestro Ahmed El Saedi. Following seasons included the performance of Beethoven’s 5 piano concerti, all Schumann’s and Mendelssohn’s symphonies.
The Cairo Symphony Orchestra, as part of its mission towards audience with no previous profound exposure to classical music heritage, also performs concerts dedicated to musical education and appreciation scheduled in two separate series of concerts under school and family concerts.
The Cairo Symphony Orchestra has been conducted by many international guest conductors such as Charles Munch, Carlo Zecchi, Ottokar Truhlik, Ole Schmidt, Yehudi Menuhin, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Janos Kukla, Patrick Fournillier, Daniel Barenboim and others. Among the soloists who have performed with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra are Rudolf Buchbinder, Abdel Rahman El-Bacha, Joerg Demus, Ramzy Yassa, André Navarra, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Viktoria Postnikova, Stefan Vladar, Christian Altenburger, Christiana Ortiz and Anastasia Chebotareva.
The Orchestra under the music director Ahmed El Saedi has released recordings of Beethoven’s five piano concerts, and the ”Choral Fantasy” featuring Ramzi Yassa as piano soloist.
During the past years, the Cairo Symphony Orchestra has regularly toured many European countries with great success. His last performances in the Vienna Musikverein and Salzburg Mozarteum were met with standing ovations. Invitations for the coming seasons include concerts in Germany and China.
Principal conductors of the Cairo Symphony Orchestra since its residency at the Cairo Opera House in 1991 include Maestro Ahmed El Saedi (1991 – 2003), Maestro Sergio Cárdenas (2003 – 2004), Christophe Mueller (2004 – 2005), Steven Lloyd (2005 – 2007), Andreas Spörri (2007 – 2008), Marcello Mottadelli (2008 – 2011) and Jiří Petrdlík (2012 – 2014).
Since the beginning of the season 2014/2015, Maestro Ahmed El Saedi is the Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Cairo Symphony Orchestra for a second period.
« Il Barbiere di Seviglia » Overture
W. A. Mozart
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in C minor K. 491
L. v. Beethoven
Symphony No. 2 in D major Op. 36
Ahmed El Saedi
El Saedi’s international debut took place, in 1982, conducting the Slovak Sinfonietta at the Wiener Konzerthaus in Vienna. Since then, he has collaborated as a guest conductor with over Sixty international orchestras and opera companies all over the world, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (London), the Suk Chamber Orchestra, the Poznan Philharmonic Orchestra, L’Orchestre de la Société Philharmonique de Montréal (Canada), the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra (USA), the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra da Camera Milano Classica (Milan) the Sofia National Opera, the Prague Symphony Orchestra, the Prague Chamber Orchestra, and the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra and the San Remo Symphony Orchestra.
He has studied at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Vienna with Othmar Suitner (conducting), Friedrich Cerha (composition) and Franz Eibner (theories of Heinrich Schenker). He has also studied conducting and musical phenomenology with Sergiu Celebidache in Germany.
Maestro El Saedi has performed in many prestigious halls, such as the Wiener Konzerthaus (Mozarat-Saal), Musikverein Wien (Brahms and Großersaal), Österreichischer Rundfunk Grosser Saal, Berlin Philharmonic (Kammermusik-Saal),
Mozarteum Salzburg (Großersaal), Liederhalle (Stuttgart), Ötkerhalle (Bielefeld), Kieler Schloss (Kiel), the Ateneul Roman (Bucharest), the Rodolfinum and Smetana Hall (Prague), the Place des Arts Théâtre Maisonneuve (Montréal), the Queen Elisabeth Hall (London), the Royal Opera House Muscat and the Konzerthaus Berlin. Moreover, his performances in festivals such as the Festival Lyrique de Saint-Céré (France), Nuits Musicales du Suquet (Cannes, France), Zagreb Summer Festival (Croatia), the Plovdiv Verdi Festival (Bulgaria) and the IItti Festival in Finland have been met with standing ovations. He has also collaborated with many outstanding soloists such as: Markus Schirmer, Nikolai Petrov, Christina Ortiz, Stefan Vladar, Husseyin Sermet, Naum Shtarkman, Abdel Rahman El-Bacha, Kjell Bakkelund, Christian Altenburger, Anastasia Tchebotoreva, Franco Maggio Ormezowski, Paul Meyer etc…
El Saedi’s recent engagements included the Orchestra Filarmonica di Calabria (Italy), the Vogtland Philharmonic Orchestra (Germany), the Timisoara Philharmonic Orchestra, the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra, the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Neotonearte Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra Roma Sinfonica, the Orchestra da Camera Florentina and the Orchestra and the Orchestra da Camera Florentina.
His permanent engagements have included the Wiener Virtuosen Chamber Orchestra (1986-1988), The Egyptian Chamber Orchestra (1989-1995), the Cairo Symphony Orchestra (1991- 2003), the Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra and the Egyptian Sinfonietta (2003 – ) and since 2014 the Cairo Symphony Orchestra for a second period.
He was also the founder and mentor of the Cairo International Workshop for Orchestra Conducting (2001 & 2002), of the Arabic Perspectives Festival of the Cairo Symphony Orchestra (2002 & 2003), and the artistic director of the Cairo Music Competition (2004-2010). Also, he was the mentor of the Workshop for Perspective Band Conductors in Bahrain (2007) and the Cairo Symphony Workshops for Young Conductors (2015 & 2016).
Maestro El Saedi’s discography includes Alexander Glazunov’s Saxophone Concerto in E-flat Major, op. 109 (1931), the Piano Concerto (1959) and Intermezzo from the opera Anas Al-Wogood (1966) by the Egyptian composer Aziz El Shawan (1916-1993), concertos for double bass and orchestra by Giovanni Bottesini (1821-1889), Giuseppe Antonio Capuzzi (1755-1818) and Giovanni Battista Cimador (1761-1805) with soloist Gerd Reinke, Ludwig van Beethoven’s nine symphonies, five piano concertos and Choral Fantasy, op. 80, featuring Egyptian pianist Ramzi Yassa as soloist.
El Saedi’s compositions, which have been performed internationally with great success, include works for orchestra, chamber orchestra, chamber music ensembles, voice and works for the media. His Prologue for Full Orchestra commissioned by the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra was met with standing ovations at its premiere in May 2014.
His achievements have been recognized in a broad range of awards including the Villa-Lobos Centennial Medal from the State of Brazil (1988), the State Prize for Composition (1995) and the State Prize for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts (2000) from the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, and the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art (2004).
Maestro Ahmed El Saedi is the chairman of the Egyptian Philharmonic Society, which, since 2004, has become a platform for presenting serious music activities of international caliber.
He is also the chairman of the Pro Classica Tonkunst Verein in Vienna, Austria since 2012.
El Saedi’s perspective engagements include Aida at the Craiova Opera Festival, concerts with Orchestra Roma Sinfonia and the Quimera Music Festival in Mexico.