George Sawa

Kanun, Frame Drum

Arabic, Turkish


Born in Alexandria, Egypt, Sawa has over 50 years of experience in Arabic music performance, history and theory, and has performed and lectured extensively worldwide. He studied piano with Mme Irene Drakides, a student of the famed educator Alfred Cortot. He studied qanun, theory, and voice at the Higher Institute of Arabic Music. After immigrating to Canada, he studied ethnomusicology at the University of Toronto and obtained his doctorate in historical Arabic musicology. He has taught courses on medieval, modern, and religious music of the Middle East at the University of Toronto and at York University and has several publications in his name. In 2005, he received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the Egyptian Ministry of Culture for his research in Arabic music history.