Background

The history of the European-Egyptian Contemporary Music Society can be viewed in its collaboration with leading ensembles and festivals worldwide, it has become one of the leading promoters of contemporary music in Egypt and the Arab world. After years of campaigning for the first Alexandrina Contemporary Music Biennale which was realized in 2009, it became obvious that a model had to be developed for strengthening the infrastructure in Egypt on a long-term basis in order to ensure contemporary music’s sustained productivity and continuity. We have also admitted that the founding of an organisation to manage various projects to this end will prove very helpful. Hence, the European-Egyptian Contemporary Music Society e.V. was established in 2010 as a non-profit organisation based in Germany. In the same year, the EECMS has witnessed the founding of the Egyptian Contemporary Music Ensemble (ECME) which consists of a number of the finest Egyptian musicians who are professionally engaged in other successful projects and ensembles. In April/May 2011, despite the unstable situation in Cairo, the EECMS has managed to realize a highly successful edition of the Cairo Contemporary Music Days which became an annual event held on a yearly basis. Since 2011, in the course of its composition initiative ON 25, the EECMS has also realized Twelve new composition commissions to Egyptian composers and an additional commission to a European composer experimenting with traditional Egyptian instruments. The EECMS managed to play an important role in the music development in Egypt and through the clear vision and awareness of its capability and potentials. The EECMS and its team kept on building a solid infrastructure to secure and provide for long-lasting development and focusing on establishing the needed tools and network for such development.

With the kind support of Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne, the EECMS has been able to obtain an assortment of high-quality percussion instruments which led to independence in our planning and making decisions to bring contemporary music to various locations. The work of the EECMS was broadened to include many other activities as academic cooperation with the Cairo Conservatoire and other universities in Egypt. Our educational project has allowed young students to experience the tools of performing a contemporary music theatre, commissions program, this is besides a number of lectures and seminars in the focused on music Journalism and publishing policies and copyrights. This wide range of activities has helped in growing more sense of the curatorial ideas which widened the scope of EECMS. The unlimited number of possibilities started to increase as well as the international recognition we managed to obtain at the same time of the political upheavals and unrest in many Arab countries the thing which has led us to use a more strengthened and supported infrastructure we established with the support of more than thirty cultural institutions and foundations to dedicate our work ( concerts, Festival and productions) to Cultural heritage and identity.

A number of very successful projects took place since then. For example, Negmeyat, one of the most welcomed and most diverse contemporary music events, in which ECME have managed to introduce six Egyptian premieres inspired and driven by the power of the words on late poet Ahmed Fouad Negm. The participating composers; Amr Okba, Rageh Dauod, Hassan Khan, Mohamed Saad Basha, Ahmed Madkour and Sherif Mohie el Din, were commissioned by the EECMS to write contemporary music based on a text or more of el Fagoumie. Also, Caprice has also included premiere works for the Oud and Ensemble as it The Concert has featured new premieres of Zaid Jabri, Oscar Bainchi and Wilbert Bulsink commissioned by Ernst Von Seimens, the EECMS and Gaudeamusmuziekweek. that is besides the most recent, prestigious project “Heritage and Modernity”. The project can be least described as a huge international composers gathering that aims to discuss the music tradition and its relation with European Modernism. The forum has included many activities such as roundtable discussions, pitches, seminars, showcases, masterclasses and performances. This project with the kind support of the renown Allianz Culture Foundation helped establishing a meeting point in the heart of the Middle East and link artistic thinking of those in the Arab countries and the rest of the world. The realization of such forum has proven that satisfying the need for building such bridges on that level has been very crucial and essential and that helps demonstrate the intellectual and artistic outcome in major festivals and international events.

Certainly, the EECMS is now aware of the importance of networking and being a part of a larger global community such as the participation in several  International Contemporary Music Delegations and becoming a full associate member of the international Contemporary Music Society (ISCM)

The EEACM maintained its partnership with the Department of Performing and Visual Arts (PVA) of the American University in Cairo (AUC) and the Foreign Cultural Relations Sector – Egyptian Ministry of Culture since 2010.