Riad plays violin (i.e. kaman in Arabic) and his own compositions with influences of Classical, Jazz, Arabic and Contemporary music. Dr. Abdel-Gawad also interprets the numerous classic pieces by Egyptian legendary accompanist to Oum Kalsoum: Abdo Dagher. The unique new music Sufi traditional instrumental compositions of Abdo Dagher is played by Riad Abdel-Gawad (violin, kaman). Riad Abdel-Gawad, long-time collaborator of Dagher, whose inimitable Sufi new, absolute instrumental music is obligatorly performed in a virtuosic manner and based on compositions transcribed as musical compositions alongside freely improvised passages. Recently, Riad performed at Art Base in Brussels with his Ziryab Duo, with Aykut Dursen, contrabassist. Riad teaches violin as well as singing lessons. He applies the singing method of his master and collaborator Abdo Dagher who was an autodidact and worked in all of the musical fields of Egypt: folk, traditional, religious, classical. Dr. Riad lives in Brussels, Belgium and has established a variety of ensembles: a duo with contrabass, a quartet with nay, oud, percussion and violin. He is presently Choir Director at the Community Center of Chant d’Oiseux in Brussels. He also animates music sessions for the Jeunesses Musicales’ Belgian public school program. He also gave a conference/masterclass last February (2023) at the Royal Brussels Conservatory.
Harvard-trained, Riad Abdel-Gawad is former Executive Director of Egyptian Music and Culture Hub, which disseminated and educated the US public about Egyptian (Arabic) music. Dr. Abdel-Gawad (PhD from Harvard) worked with such musicians and composers as Samir Bendimered, Baudouin De Jaer, Tom Johnson, Frederic Lagnau, Martin Ingenhutt, Abdo Dagher, Khaled Dagher, Jan Rzewski, Francois Essindi, TJ Troy, Yousri Abdel-Maqsoud, and Mohamed Foda. Riad also collaborated with the Levantine Cultural Center, the Arab American Museum in Dearborn and performed at the Chicago World Music Festival. Additionally, he gave a groundbreaking online and live workshop and musical method training for the Carnegie Hall Musical Exchange. His workshop explored the Sufi Egyptian master musician, Dr. Riad was fortunate to attend many of Abdo Dagher’s legendary saharat in the popular district of Hadayak el-Qobba in Cairo. Dr. Riad transcribed Dagher’s maqam method — musical exercises, compositions and improvisations – which helped scores of accomplished musicians learn this authentically Egyptian, new music. Dagher was a legendary accompanist on recordings with the great Oum Kalsoum. As well, three Arab women artists contributed to Riad’s CD album art: Ezmeralda, Carelle Homsy, and Behia Shehab for the albums: Egypt: Mother of the World and Words of Peace. Earlier, El Tarab El Aseel, was initially released on the ME Incognito Label of CD-Theque of Beirut; then, distributed by City Hall Records in San Rafael, California. Dr. Abdel-Gawad was commissioned by the New Music Ensemble of Liège for the Ars Musica Festival in Belgium. Last, he was also engaged to perform in collaboration with Eduard Wolfson of the European Division of the Stradivarius Society, with Lawrence Assadourian of Middle East Stradivarius, and through Barclays Wealth to perform in a special concert for the Ministry on Stradivari and Guarneri violins at the Islamic Museum of Qatar.
El Tarab El Aseel
Word Of Peace
Egypt - Mother Of The World