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  • Born

    4 March 1921

  • Born In

    Cairo, Al Qāhirah, Egypt

  • Died

    2 September 2017 (aged 96)

Halim Abdul Messieh El-Dabh (Arabic: حليم عبد المسيح الضبع‎‎, Ḥalīm ʻAbd al-Masīḥ al-Ḍabʻ; March 4, 1921 – September 2, 2017) was an Egyptian American composer, performer, ethnomusicologist, and educator, who has had a career spanning six decades. El-Dabh is best known as an early pioneer of music. HIs "Wire Recorder Piece" (1944), produced before the introduction of tape recorders, can be considered the very first piece of . In 1950 he moved to the US where he worked at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, creating pieces such as "Leiyla Visitations" (1959). His early electronic work can be found on the compilation "Crossing Into the Electric Magnetic".

His 21st century music activities include performing his works with a group of KSU musicians and the String Orchestra of Alexandria at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt in 2005. He performed with prominent African musicians, including Ismael (Pops) Mohamed, in Johannesburg, South Africa, at the UNAZI ("lightening" in Zulu) conference (2005). This was the first African Electronic Music Festival in history.

In the same year El-Dabh presented "Africa meets Asia," a series of workshops that explored the encounter of African and Chinese music at The Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China. While here, he also explored the idea of African pianism with Akin Euba, a distinguished African ethnomusicologist and composer. El-Dabh and Euba continued this exploration in conferences held in Cambridge, England, and St. Louis, Missouri.

In 2007 El-Dabh’s concerto “Invisible Bridge,” commemorating the Underground Railroad, was premiered in Dayton, Ohio by the Dayton Symphony Orchestra and Black American cellist Karen R. Patterson.

El-Dabh wrote "Egyptian Calypso" for “Flash In The Pan,” the KSU Trinidadian style steel drum ensemble, and has written for the KSU Orchestra and several chamber ensembles performing at KSU. He wrote “Symphony for 1000 Drums,” which was portrayed by one thousand drums in Cleveland (2006) and in Fort Collins, Colorado (2008).

El-Dabh also participated regularly in activities in the Kent, Ohio community.

Publisher - C F Peters, New York City
Licensed by BMI - Broadcast Music Incorporated, New York City

Pan African Studies Kent State University Kent, Ohio 44242
tel - 330 678 9118
tel - 330 319 3142

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