In October 2015, the Egyptian Contemporary Music Ensemble, which was founded by the European Egyptian Contemporary Music Society, is celebrating five years of existence. The ensemble seeks fostering a national and regional repertoire of new own compositions and present them on the highest possible artistic level through its core members involved in different successful collaborations such as Medhat Abdel El Salam engaged in the Orchestra of Suisse Ramonde, Sherif el Razzaz with many involvements in international contemporary music scene or others active regionally such as Khaled Dagher, Nesma Abdel Aziz, Tamer Kamal and Rasha Yehia who are bringing very rich self-experience and background to the Ensemble.
The Ensemble followed from the beginning a very thoughtful planning where in the first stage was to study and perform the masterpieces of the twentieth and twenty-first century, which are essential for its artistic development and coming together as an ensemble, working with leading international conductors, musicologists and interpreters in the field. In a later stage of development, the Ensemble initiated ON 25, an action that reflects Egyptian compositions after the revolution in January 2011, reflecting the composers’ interaction with the socio-political change at that time. The action, ON 25, could have added 10 new compositions to our recent repertoire. The Ensemble followed the policy further and calibrated in 2014 the Ultras Project which though was “hand pocket project’ and can be performed with only four musicians. Beside the very successful concert in Forum Wallis in Switzerland May 2015, the Ensemble performed in different other Festivals and larger productions and currently cooperating with world leading Festivals as Gaudeamusmusiekweek and others towards new projects planned 2016-2017. After such various activities between 2010 and 2014, including the portrait series as annual concerts at the Ewart Memorial Hall, AUC, Cairo, the Ensemble calibrated other five world premieres in Présences festival, as the only foreign ensemble invited. The Festival dedicated its program to the occasion “European Capital of Culture 2013”.
Meanwhile, The Ensemble is ready to play its part in our society’s development, foster own contemporary music repertoire and broaden its activities to cover educational school projects, academic activities and young composers platform. Certainly, such development is very much supported by the international recognition of the European Egyptian Contemporary Music Society (EECMS) and its presence on the professional international market through institutional networking, involvement in such as the international music council or the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM).
The EECMS and its Ensemble are also stepping beyond many borders with the currently in-planning Northern Light project, a long term artistic collaboration with the Nordic Countries creating several collaboration projects between Egypt and the Nordic region starting with the Nordic Portrait to be adopted in the Ensemble concert series.
Meanwhile, the ensemble is dedicating its focus to bring contemporary classical music achievement closer to public in Egypt through demonstrating the variety of artistic (sound particles, rhythmic patterns and constructions, and harmony conception) and components of relevant music writing in national and regional contexts. Nowadays contemporary arts are universal, access to technology, researches and experiments are almost handy to everyone. Nationalism in music is no more challenging but what can composers worldwide benefit from the very developed studies and researches and the constant firmly holding in their aesthetics particularly the nations with moulded musical and artistic tradition (France, Germany and Austria) in the classic or romantic periods. The Ensemble and its core members thought of more attractive models that can grasp international attention and such as Caprice which could add enormously to the regional classical contemporary composition with huge international participation and visibility. Caprice for example has already gained the support of E.V. Siemens Music Foundation supporting two commissions plan to premier in April 2016, Other Projects also on the way as Negemyat, Five new compositions inspired by the Lyric of Ahmed Fouad Negm , the best-known vernacular poet in Egypt to be premiered in February 2016 or ´Arayis Al-Muruj’ by Jubran Khalil Jubran, an educational project Involving Contemporary Dance, Theater and Music workshops and surly a highlight of our work is Heritage and Modernity supported by the renown Allianz Culture Foundation, the Initiative is a huge step forward and will lead to establish a solid platform for Cultural exchange and new Networks.
We believe the activities will open up new expression forms, speak directly to Arab audience with the potential to build bridges with the international market and foster partnerships with the most important venues and festivals among the Lithuanian Ensemble Network (LEN) or in negotiation with Acht Brücken Festival, Soundofstockholm and several sections of the ISCM. The projects include several large number of collaborations with leading artists from different fields such composers like Amr Okba, Hassan Khan, Rageh Daoud, Bassam Halaka, Zaid Jabri, Oscar Bianchi, Wibert Bulsink, Ahmed Madkour, Vykintas Baltaks and many others. In addition to Arab musicians and singers like Alaa Saber,
Belal Al Shaikh and Maged Sorour.