Ahmed Mukhtar- TMS Director

Oud Master, Advanced Oud Teacher, Music Theory, Percussion & Rhythms

Mukhtar was born in Baghdad and has played the Oud and Arabic percussion since 1979, working with many folk music groups and musicians in Baghdad. 1983 Studied Oud and percussion at the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad with the Masters. Ganim Hadad and Jameel Jerjis. 1985 Worked with Arabic orchestras and performed on Iraqi TV with a variety of Iraqi groups.  1990 Studied Oud and Western percussion at the High Institute of Music in Damascus. 1999 Studied at the London College of Music, M.H. Diploma. 2003 – At SOAS (the School of Oriental and African Studies) where he obtained a Master’s Degree in Performance, including Middle Eastern and Arabic music. He is currently teaching Oud, percussion and Arabic music theory in many places in London, including SOAS, University of London, and Taqasim Music School, plus working as Musical Programme Director in Al-Fayha, Iraqi TV.

He is Director of:taqasim-7080

*Taqasim Music School**Iraqi Music Week***Solo programme in Alfayah Iraqi TV (Presenter and Producer)****Sleep Song project in France***** Music Coordinator for the Babylon International Arts & Cultural Festival.

Awards and Prizes

2009 He was granted the Alhambra Award for Excellence under the auspices etc.   2015 He was chosen as the 1st Artist from the Middle East for the ‘World Music for War Child’ Project, in support of children living in war-torn regions.  The project is run by ARC International Music Production.

Compositions and Works

Mukhtar released four CD’s, two in 1996 and 1999, and the ARC Music Company also released another two CD’s – ‘Rhythm of Baghdad’ – 2003, and ‘Road to Baghdad’ 2005, with music he composed.  In 2015 he completed his fifth CD, ‘Babylonian Fingers’.

Mukhtar has written music for plays and films for Arabic TV stations (MBC, ART, Mustakela and BB5), and has also composed music for: The new Iraqi-European version of Stravinsky’s ‘The Soldiers Tale, produced at the Old Vic Theatre, London, in January 2006, by Andrew Bigley. Music theatre, ‘My Name is Jamaal’, directed by Algerian Director, Abdul Nasser Khalaf. Music to accompany the series of dramatic poems ‘Baghdad Open Sky’ written by Selah Al-Hamada. Music for the film ‘Al-Baghdadi’, the Gold Award winner at the International Filmmaker Festival, directed by British-Iraqi Director Mayhem Riadi, in 2008.

Mukhtar has participated and performed in more than 250 international festivals worldwide

For more information, please visit www.amukhtar.com

Julian Harris

Oud and Music Literacy teachertaqasim-7088

Julian has been a student of oud master Ahmed Mukhtar since 2009. Before that he studied piano, voice and composition variously at Junior Guildhall School of Music and Drama London, Girton College Cambridge (BA) and Worcester College Oxford (MPhil). He is currently researching (for his PhD at King’s College London) styles of contemporary composition for the oud with musicians living in London and the Gulf.

Mike Smith

Oud teacher

Mike was born in Tranmere, Merseyside, UK in 1958. He has been interested in music since the age of eight when he was staying at his Grandmothers in Liverpool and heard Anton Karas on the television playing the Zither in the film “The Third Man”. He was also fascinated by the electronic music of the Dr Who Theme. Other televison music such as the “Z-Cars” theme (actually the taqasim-7265
Liverpool folk tune “Johnny Todd” arranged in the style of an Irish Flute and Drum band). and the work of Barry Gray with Gerry & Sylvia Anderson’s television series such as Stingray give an idea of Mike’s breadth of musical influences at that time. Mike’s mum played piano occasionally but Mike never felt drawn to this or the other instruments such as the recorder or brass band instruments available at school. Until bands like Dr Feelgood appeared and then the punk rock revolution happened. Whereupon, in 1976, Mike started to teach himself the guitar. By 1977 Mike was working full-time in the chemical industry and his musical tastes were expanding to Irish and other folk music and jazz, both early (Jelly Roll Morton) and modern (John Coltrane). He considers himself very lucky to have met three outstanding musicians in his life – Jim Hall the US Jazz Guitarist, Joe Hutton the Northumbrian (British) Shepherd and Smallpiper and Ahmed Mukhtar the Iraqi Oudist . At one time or another Mike has played acoustic guitar, mandolin, Northumbrian Smallpipes, English Concertina, and tried 5-string Banjo, Flute and harmonica(s). There are all good in their own way but in 1998 Mike acquired a cheap Turkish Oud. In frustration in not being able to play it he looked for a tutor. By chance he was directed to Ahmed Muktar, then living in Islington in London. Mike met Ahmed in January 1999, took lessons for some years and now teaches the beginners Oud course at the Taqasim School. Mike is interested in all aspects of Arabic music and would like to investigate further the musical implications of Professor Barry Cunliffe’s work on cultural links between the ancient Celtic world (such as Ireland) and the ancient Near East (such as what is now Syria). Mike still owns one or two guitars, a Concertina and a zither but the Oud is king of them all.

Fadi Alnaji

Oud teacher

Fadi is a Palestinian performer and Oud player born in 1980 in Saudi Arabia. Fadi has joined Taqasim school in February 2013. He has started learning Oud in Damascus since 1997. taqasim-7060
He participated and played in many occasions to celebrate the Oud and its cultural influence. Fadi has written and performed a play called Fareed & Frida in Exeter 2010. In the play, Fadi introduced the Oud as an individual character through which the human characters communicated. Fadi also initiated a project called “a musical painting” in which he used the Oud, Piano, Flute, and a singer to produce a musical conversation based on Middle Eastern and western masterpieces. Fadi is also passionate about writing lyrics and composing music, he has written a few songs one of them is a tribute to Mahmoud Darwish (A lover from Palestine). He is currently developing a performing style where he plays the Oud and recites poetry simultaneously.

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