Dr. Riad Abdel-Gawad



Composer and violinist, Riad Abdel-Gawad apprenticed and performed many years with Islamic art of sound (handasah al sawt) composer and violinist, Abdo Dagher.  Riad composed two acclaimed albums: El Tarab El Aseel and Egypt: Mother of the World, distributed world-wide by City Hall Records.  Dr. Abdel-Gawad has performed in numerous festivals and venues and for organizations around the globe, including: Musik der Welt in Basel, The Institute of the Arab World in Paris, the International Festival of Culture in Pyrenées, the House of Cultures of the World in Berlin, and the Egyptian Academy of Arts in Rome.  He earned his Ph.D. in music from Harvard University. 

Recently, NPR (National Public Radio) interviewed Dr. Abdel-Gawad and featured his music on the series: Ecstatic Voices - Sacred Music in America.  Democracy Now!, an independent TV news organization, featured his music, on DVD, for a special two-hour program about the Egyptian revolution. His film credits include music for the documentary, Words of Witness, recently featured on Al Jazeera America.  Additionally, Dr. Abdel-Gawad gave online and live music workshops for Carnegie Hall and headlined at the Chicago World Music Festival.  Barclays’ Wealth engaged him to perform on Stradivarius and Guarneri violins in collaboration with the European Operations of the Stradivari Society at the Islamic Museum of Qatar.

Dr. Abdel-Gawad presently teaches at Bayan Claremont: an Islamic College at Claremont Lincoln University.  He taught at the American Universities in Beirut and of Cairo. 


He received an academic fellowship from the Belgian American Education Foundation to reside in Brussels and received an artist fellowship from the Akademie Schloss Solitude to reside in Stuttgart.  He is the founder of Midan Elmusica Inc. an organization dedicated to disseminating Egyptian music.  Dr. Abdel-Gawad is also an artist-activist who champions projects which call attention to climate change: his music was featured on the Global Climate Change Music Project and is a founding member of the Green Communications Initiative.  He has received grants from Art Moves Africa and AMI (a Marseille-based contemporary music fund) to collaborate with artists living in Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

He co-taught at the Academy of Arts’ Institute for Arabic Music in Cairo with Abdo Dagher, who taught generations of musicians through oral transmission: note by note, rhythm by rhythm, in which the Sufi form of teacher-pupil lineages are evident all of over the Muslim world. Dr. Abdel-Gawad is considered by his teacher and his peers in Egypt to be one of the most serious artists to come out of this distinct stylistic school.