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Arabic Music Days

While in European music history the organ has traditionally been regarded as the “Queen of Instruments,” it is without a doubt the oud that takes the same place in the music of the Arabic world. Few artists today have achieved greater recognition in promoting the instrument than Naseer Shamma, curator of the Arabic Music Days.


As a virtuoso performer, educator, and cultural ambassador, Naseer Shamma has not only raised the profile and visibility of the oud around the world, but also developed the instrument itself by adding and changing details of its construction. The “Oud Houses” he established in several cities across the Arabic world have become important training centers for the next generation of musicians.

During the Arabic Music Days, acclaimed oud virtuosos as well as ensembles of different sizes from the Oud Houses in Cairo, Abu Dhabi, and Khartoum will be heard at the Pierre Boulez Saal.

For the finale of the festival—which has been extended to five days for the first time—Shamma will lead a veritable oud orchestra. As in previous years, an extensive program of film, literature, and visual art will provide additional perspectives of contemporary Arabic culture on site and online.

Supported by the Abu Dhabi Festival

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Additional information
Participating artists
Islam Taha
The Cairo Oud House Trio
Michael Onsy Messiha
Azza Mandolin
Salma Mokhtar