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Biography and career
Hiba Al Kawas graduated from the Lebanese University with a degree in experimental sciences and a Bachelor's Degree in clinical psychology. She followed this with a Master's Degree in opera singing with high distinction from the Lebanese National Higher Conservatory and a Master's Degree in composition and studies in musicology. She completed final studies for a Diploma in piano. Al Kawas was awarded a special scholarship from the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Italy where she pursued advanced studies in opera singing with Carlo Bergonzi and composition with Franco Donatoni.
Hiba Al Kawas has composed for symphony orchestra, chamber orchestra, string orchestra, various ensembles, piano, and voice. In her compositions traditional Arabic instruments are included in the orchestra. Her compositions combine Oriental-Arabic music components with international composition techniques, forming a bridge between Oriental-Arabic music, classical and neo classical forms, and contemporary music.
Hiba Al Kawas has recorded 21 works of her own composition with the Dnepropetrovsk Symphony Orchestra-Ukraine under the direction of Vyacheslav Blinov, and 10 works with the Kraków Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Wojciech Czepiel. She has recorded 13 works with The National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine and the National Choir of Kiev conducted by Vladimir Sirenko. In 2000, participated as a composer in the Krakow Contemporary Composition Festival, where the Krakow chamber Orchestra played her Aspiration No.1 conducted by Wojceich Czepiel. At her second appearance ath the festival, her composition Moments in Krakow was given its world premiere by the Krakow Academy of Music conducted Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Wojceich Czepiel. Her orchestral work, Pleusis 1, which was premiered in 2000 by the Lebanese National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Harout Fazlian and by Wojciech Czepiel, has been played by the City of London Sinfonia, Cairo Symphony Orchestra, Krakow Symphony Orchestra, Bolshoi State Theatre Symphony Orchestra.
On 14 October 2007, her composition Rou'ia fi Maa received its première at the Opéra Bastille in Paris. The work comprises five instrumental and three song pieces based on Arabic poems by Nada El Hage. It was commissioned by the Festival d'Automne for contemporary music and performed by the Neuwe Ensemble of Amsterdam with Al Kawas singing the soprano solos. In November 2007 a short musical film Noor - Lady Light was produced using Hiba Al Kawas' song Asra Biqalbi which is based on a poem by Abdel Aziz Khoja. Asra Biqalbi and several other works by Al Kawas received their world première at the Abu Dhabi Music Festival, in the closing concert on 2 April 2008.
Since her first concert at the age of six, Hiba Al Kawas has performed in many concerts in Lebanon, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Cairo, Tunis, Bahrain, London, Paris, Italy, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Portugal, and Amsterdam. She has established a career in Lebanon and the Arab world, furthering the cause of Arabic opera. She developed and adapted operatic vocal techniques to find the proper voice placement to preserve the Arabic pronunciation and singing tradition. She frequently performs her own vocal compositions in concerts.
She performed at the opening ceremony of Tyre festival in Lebanon and the Al-Medina Festival in Tunis. On 30 November 2006, Hiba Al Kawas performed along with José Carreras in Dubai at the second anniversary of the Dubai International Financial Centre, accompanied by the City of London Sinfonia Orchestra, conducted by David Giménez Carreras and Brad Cohen. She performed songs of her own composition and sang a duet with Carreras, "All I Ask of You" from The Phantom of the Opera. On 19 February 2007 Al Kawas sang several of her compositions in the presence of President Jacques Chirac at the IMA in Paris. She dedicated her song O Liban soit sauvé! (composed to the poetry of Nada El Hage) to President Chirac and the memory of Rafic Hariri. On 2 April 2008, Al Kawas closed the 5th Abu Dhabi Music and Art Festival, accompanied by Bolshoi Theatre Symphony Orchestra. Several of her compositions inspired by Andalusian music were premiered at the Festival with Jose Maria Gallardo Del Rey on guitar. On 21 April 2008, she presented a music, poetry, and meditation evening, "The Sound of a Peaceful Heart", with Dadi Janki, the head of Brahma Komaris University, and the poets Hoda Naamani and Nada El Hage. On 19 June 2008 she performed her songs in London with the Nieuw Ensemble, Amsterdam, at the Cadogan Hall.
Al Kawas is currently a member of the board at the Lebanese National Higher Conservatory and a professor of Opera singing and Composition. She is a professor at the Lebanese University and is the Academic and Music Coordinator at the Teachers' Training College for Music in Beirut. She is a committee member of The Lebanese National Symphony Orchestra as well as a member of the High National Committee of Music at UNESCO. She is a member of the Intellectual Property Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce. In 2005, she gave several lectures at the University of Amsterdam and was commissioned by the University to compose Sada Al Akwan, which was played by the Nieuw Ensemble during Gaudeamus Music Week in Utrecht. She is the co-author of Methods for Elementary and Intermediate Music Stages in Lebanon (1997/1998) and the author of Methods for Teacher Training in Lebanese Music Schools (2000).
- On 22 January 2007 Hiba Al Kawas received the decoration from HRH Sultān Qaboos bin Said al Said, The Golden Order of Sultan Qaboos for Culture, Science and Art.
- In July 2003, a postage stamp with her name and picture was published in Lebanon.
- Received the Lebanon Creativity Award (2003).
- Received the Seal Of Beirut (2001).
- Presented with the Seal of the American University of Beirut Allumnii (1998).
- Received the Seal of the Lebanese American University Allumnii of Abu Dhabi (1993).
For symphony orchestra
- Ilaik (Overture), (1995)
- Pleusis No.1 in 3 movements, (2000) - Dedicated to Mrs. Nazik Hariri, in recognition of her support and patronage and played for the first time by the Lebanese National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Harout Fazlian.
- Moments In Krakow (Overture), (2002)
- Baina Nahrain, (2004) - Commissioned by Al Jazeera television.
- In the Path of Light, (2008)
- Beiteddine (Overture), (2010)
For string orchestra
- Aspiration No.1, (1999)
For the Neuwe Ensemble
- Sada Al Akwan, (2005)
- Rou'ia Fi Maa', (2007)
- Wajd, (1994)
- Those days, (1995)
Duets for oud and piano
- Itab, (1997)
- Love Hurts, (1990)
- Faragh, (1991)
- Rhapsody For Piano, (2005)
Arabic arias for soprano, choir and symphony orchestra
- Ma Asani Aqoulu, poetry by Houda Naamani, (1995)
- Unshoudat Al Matar, poetry by Badr Shaker Assaiiab, (1995)
- Ode to Peace, poetry by Houda Naamani, (2000)
- To Saida, poetry by Hamza Abboud, (2000)
- Qalbi Yuhaddithuni, poetry by Ibn El Farid, (2003)
- Salam El Hurriya, poetry by Nada El Hage, (2005) - Dedicated to the memory of the late Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafic El Hariri. This composition was also produced as a musical film by Milad Tawq.
- Ya Ayyuha El Ati Mina Zzaman, poetry by Henry Zgheib, (2005)
- Liajli Lubnan, poetry by Houda Naamani, (2005)
- O Liban Soit Sauvé, poetry by Nada El Hage, (2007)
Arabic arias for soprano and symphony orchestra
- Arousa Asharq, poetry by Souheil Al Kawas, (1989)
- Tashkou Thalam Allail, poetry by Mohammed Bin Ahmed Al Souweidi, (1994)
- Laallaka Tushiluha Thata Yawm, poetry by Ounsi El Hage, (1994)
- Liajlika, poetry by Houda Naamani, (1995)
- Being you being me, poetry by Houda Naamani, (1995)
- Hatta Law Inhalat Eshshams, poetry by Houda Naamani, (1995)
- Intu Nsitouna, poetry bu Mohammed Bin Ahmed Al Souweidi, (1996)
- Tabqa Li, poetry by Ounsi El hage, (1997)
- Dummani, poetry by Houda Naamani, (1998)
- Aiqithni Thaniatan, poetry by Houda Naamani, (1998)
- Wa Tuhibbuni, poetry by Houda Naamani, (1999)
- Lakaannaka, poetry by Houda Naamani, (1999)
- Yaduka, poetry by Houda Naamani, (2000)
- Arda, poetry by Nada El Hage, (2001)
- La Arifu Baitan Siwah, poetry by Nada El Hage, (2001)
- Lianni Ahya, poetry by Nada El Hage, (2002)
- Araftu Beirut, poetry by Hussa, (2002)
- Biekfi Twaddeni, poetry by Ragheda Mahfouz, (2003)
- Ashamamta Itri, poetry by Nada El Hage, (2005)
- Fi Biladi, poetry by Nada El Hage, (2006)
- Intel Hawa, poetry by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, (2006)
- Asra Biqalbi, poetry by Abdel Aziz Khoja, (2007)
- Habibi, poetry by Abdel Aziz Khoja, (2008)
- Njom Eddini Binaik, poetry by Nada El Hage, (2008)
- Sawti ya Ssamma, poetry by Zahi Wehbi, (2008)
Arabic arias for soprano and orchestra
- Zaman Ghaddar, poetry by Hiba Al Kawas, (1982)
- Ours Saida, poetry by Hiba AL Kawas, (1984)
- Ana Man Youhibba Al Anjouma, poetry by Omar Abu Risha, (1985)
- Min La Makan, poetry by Abdel Wahab El Baiati, (1986)
- Min El Qalb Bisrakh Sawt, poetry by Ragheda Mahfouz, (1988)
- Ilna Haq Bdaw Eshshams, poetry by Ragheda Mahfouz, (1988)
- Blahfit Whanin Ettair, poetry by Ragheda Mahfouz, (1988)
- Oughannika Habibi, poetry by Ounsi El Hage, (1992)
- Awwal Essafar, poetry by Adonis, (1992)
- Sarraq El Omr, poetry by Talal Haidar, (1992)
- Abda'u min Raqmin Yamshi, poetry by Hamza Abboud, (1992)
- Ya Naseema El Reeh, poetry by Al Hallaj, (2005)
Arabic arias for soprano and piano
- Lashou Jina, poetry by Ragheda Mahfouz, (1988)
- Boukra Btikbari, poetry by Raghed Mahfouz, (1988)
- Limatha Nuhawilu Hatha Assafar, poetry by Mahmoud Darwish, (1992)
- Min Ghiabika La Yahda'u Ellail, poetry by Hamza Abboud, (1996)
Notes and references
- Artist's Biography: Hiba Al Kawas 5th Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Festival
- Rainer Hermann, "Sängerin Hiba al Kawas: Ich habe Beirut gekannt", Frankfurter Allgemeine, June 2, 2008.
- Opera de Bastille[dead link]
- 5th Festival Finale with Hiba Al Kawas, Jose Maria Gallardo del Rey and the Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra
- The National Interview with Hiba Al Kawas
- Festival d'automne