Emad Hamdy
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Emad Hamdy

Cairo, Al Qāhirah, Egypt | Established. Jan 01, 2005

Cairo, Al Qāhirah, Egypt
Established on Jan, 2005
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Although the guitar is purely a Western instrument, the number of guitar music lovers is on the rise in Egypt, and all guitar fans gather around one guitarist: Emad Hamdy. Not only is he Egypt's sole classical guitarist, Hamdy is renowned as one of the world's best. His love for his instrument is beyond imagination, and this is translated in his par-excellence performance and his unique relationship with his audience.

Last week, Hamdy held a guitar concert at the Small Hall of the Opera House. The hall was almost full, with guitar music lovers from all walks and nationalities cramming the auditorium. The ambiance was intimate as he began the evening by exchanging a few words with his audience and outlining his carefully-tailored programme for the evening. "Guitar Forever", was the title for the occasion, which was mainly dedicated to Tango music. Although the music increased one's appetite to dance, Hamdy kept his classical posture on stage.

Born in 1965, Hamdy has given several concerts and recitals, and presented chamber orchestral and orchestral works since the mid-1980s. His story with the guitar is a rather romantic fairy-tale. "I fell in love with the instrument when I was 13 years old. I was once tuning in to the radio when the sound of the instrument invaded my heart. Ever since, I suave found myself a slave of this beautiful instrument," he says. He adds that it was as if he were taken by a scent of a charming woman, and he followed it.

"In the end of the 1970s there were very few channels for academic teaching of the guitar. I was helpless. I finally found Leonardo Davinci , who used to teach music and art. It was in 1982, when I joined the institute. And it took me only two years, instead of four, to obtain the diploma. When I graduated I was appointed by the institute as a tutor, and directly afterwards I started to perform as a guitarist at cultural centres."

In 2001 Hamdy obtained another diploma from the Royal Academy in London, which is regarded as the most sophisticated music academy worldwide. "It required a hell of an effort on my part to obtain a certificate from the Royal Academy," he says.

It was in 1988 that he proved his brilliant talent. "It was the first concert to accompany the inauguration of the Cairo Opera House, where I was the first guitarist in Egypt to play a guitar concerto with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra," Hamdy says.

To promote his favourite instrument, Hamdy initiated a new and unique tradition in the music scene in Egypt, where he formed several unique classical chamber ensembles including guitar duos with violin, flute, cello, piano and soprano. "The most successful of these is the duo with veteran violinist Hassan Sharara. We began our very unique cooperation in January 2003, and we celebrate this event every year with an increasingly larger audience each time."

Consequently, Hamdy's popularity has grown with time among the various categories of Egyptian audiences. I asked if he could explain this craving for Spanish music in Egypt. "The Arab culture can easily be traced in contemporary Spanish contemporary culture, obviously because of the historical impact of the Islamic culture in Spain," he said. "However, I would like to confirm that the lute is not the original form of the guitar, as is commonly but mistakenly thought. The original form of the guitar was the vehuella, which appeared in the 16th century and which was developed in the 19th century by the Spanish carpenter Antonio Torres. The guitar was shaped to resemble the body of a female Spanish dancer," Hamdy adds.

Besides his complete involvement in the musical scene, Hamdy is a tutor of the guitar in the music department of the American University in Cairo. Last year he set up a school to teach the guitar to children and adults alike. The school is attached to the Opera House centre for the development of musical talent, and the each season's graduates are allowed to perform on the Opera House stage.

"Nowadays, there are many private music centres that have been established for commercial reasons, and I do not think they yield any good musical outputs," he says. "It is a pity that the Conservatoire lacks a special department for guitar music, simply because it is a popular instrument. My target is to initiate a department for guitar at the Conservatoire, although it needs a lot of work."

Hamdy perceives himself only as a guitar player who adores global music and whose role is to "spread a love of guitar music among Egyptians".

"I am not a composer. I do not have the talent," he says. "My aim is to continue as a guitar player and help in establishing an academic musical forum to teach guitar in Egypt, as the popularity of the instrument is clearly on the rise more than at any time before. It is not odd to dedicate my whole life to this beautiful instrument. It is not a waste of time."

Hamdy's infatuation with the guitar has obliged him to stay faithful to it, and he has never approached any other instrument. "I have never felt anxious to play on any other instrument. I have six guitars of different materials and origins at home, and I practise for about 12 hours a day."

Despite his peerless success, he complains that production companies are still reluctant to produce CDs of guitar music. "This is apart from the usual routine obstacles that I usually encounter with the junior officials at the Opera House. It is part of the cultural chaos prevailing through the cultural and artistic scene in Egypt," he shrugs his shoulders. - Al-Ahram Weekly


New York Radio in the USA granted iconic Egyptian Musician Emad Hamdy the Oscar Best Music Award for his composition “La Balayya” (No misfortunes).

The decision was made based on the jury’s report. The jury is made up of critics and musicians from around the world.

Musician Emad Hamdi has won numerous international awards, titles and honors during his musical career. Hamdi was dubbed the “No. 1 musician in Egypt and the Middle East” in Japan and was chosen as the region’s representative.

Prominent guitarist Emad Hamdi graduated from the Royal British Academy of Music while his musical repertoire came from the Egyptian Opera House to the world.

Hamdy has earned an impressive reputation internationally as a classical guitarist. The music press has included him in the Pantheon of the world's best guitarist. Anyone who has attended one of his uncountable concerts will easily agree with this appraisal.

The world-class musician achieved something a few people accomplish in our day; The perfect harmony of expertise, musicality and perception. This prominent guitarist is often heard performing Chamber works, Recitals and Orchestral works.

Hamdy is the first guitarist in Egypt who ever played guitar concerto with Cairo Symphony Orchestra in 1988. The world-famous musician created and mastered countless unique classical chamber ensembles for the first time in Egypt, including guitar duos with violin, flute, cello, soprano and piano.

Furthermore, Hamdy offers startling repertoires of original arrangements of several classical works as well as Spanish dances, Argentine tangos and Latin-American folk songs. - Egypt Today


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Anyone who's at all interested in classical guitar can hardly avoid this name.

Iconic Musician Emad Hamdy has won numerous international awards, titles and honors during his musical career. Hamdy was dubbed the “No. 1 musician in Egypt and the Middle East” from Yamaha Corporation in Japan and was chosen as the region’s representative ( YAMAHA ARTIST ) .

Prominent guitarist Emad Hamdy graduated from the Royal British Academy of Music while his musical repertoire came from the Egyptian Opera House to the world.

Hamdy has earned an impressive reputation internationally as a classical guitarist. The music press has included him in the Pantheon of the world's best guitarist. Anyone who has attended one of his uncountable concerts will easily agree with this appraisal.

The world-class musician achieved something a few people accomplish in our day; The perfect harmony of expertise, musicality and perception. This prominent guitarist is often heard performing Chamber works, Recitals and Orchestral works.

Hamdy is the first guitarist in Egypt who ever played guitar concerto with Cairo Symphony Orchestra starting 1988 till the time being. The world-famous musician created and mastered countless unique classical chamber ensembles for the first time in Egypt, including guitar duos with violin, flute, cello, soprano, percussion, oud and piano.

Hamdy is the founder of the only and most important guitar schools in Egypt to teach & master guitar and fundamental music  in academic way at Cairo Opera House & The American University in Cairo.

Furthermore, Hamdy offers startling repertoires of original arrangements of several classical works as well as Spanish dances, Argentine tangos and Latin-American folk songs.

New York Radio in the USA granted iconic Egyptian Musician Emad Hamdy the Oscar Best Music Award 2019.

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