Joseph Tawadros b. Cairo, Egypt. 1983
“One of the most impressive musicians to emerge in Australia … with a dazzling technique dispensing hair-raising tempos… His writing displays a real depth of emotion …revelling in a zest for life and celebration.” – THE AUSTRALIAN NEWSPAPER
At 37, Joseph Tawadros is established as one of the world’s leading oud performers and composers. A virtuoso of diversity and sensitivity, Joseph performs in concert halls worldwide and is known for his brilliant technique, deep musicianship and joyous style of performance.
His drive to push musical boundaries has led to many collaborations with significant performers and a solid repertoire of innovative, original music. He has recorded 14 albums – Storyteller, Rouhani, Visions, Epiphany, Angel, The Prophet: Music Inspired by the Poetry of Kahlil Gibran, The Hour of Separation, Band of Brothers, Concerto of the Greater Sea, Chameleons of the White Shadow, Permission to Evaporate, Truth Seekers, Lovers and Warriors, World Music, Live At Abbey Road and The Bluebird, the Mystic and the Fool. Joseph has received 12 nominations and achieved four ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Awards – in 2012, 2013 and 2014 for Best World Music Album – and as a contributor to the Ali’s Wedding soundtrack album in 2017.
Born in Cairo, and a resident of Sydney since he was 3 years old, Joseph was nominated for Young Australian of the Year in 2014, received the NSW Premier’s medal for Arts and Culture in the same year and was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (AM) for his services to music and composition in 2016.
Joseph is acknowledged for expanding the oud’s notoriety and acceptance in mainstream western culture and has also been recognised in the Arab world, appearing on the judging panel of the Damascus International Oud competition in 2009, and taking part in Istanbul’s first Oud festival in 2010.
He has toured extensively, headlining in Europe, America, Asia and the Middle East, and has collaborated with celebrated artists such as Zakir Hussain, Sultan Khan, Béla Fleck, John Abercrombie, John Patitucci, Jack DeJohnette, Richard Bona, Roy Ayers, Joey DeFrancesco, Howard Johnson, Jean Louis Matinier, Ivry Gitlis, Camerata Salzburg, Christian Lindberg, Neil Finn, The Grigoryan Brothers, Kate Miller-Heidke and Katie Noonan. He has performed and recorded with Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and the Academy of Ancient Music in London, making him the first and only Australian composer whose music has been performed by this prestigious orchestra. He has regularly performed with the Sydney, Adelaide and West Australian Symphony orchestras.
Joseph has been based in London through the COVID pandemic period, UK but previously traveled often to perform in Europe US, Middle East and Australian tours each year. Highlights in the last few years include performing his own works with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms in Dubai and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s premiere Joseph’s Concerto for Oud & Orchestra, touring with the acclaimed violinist, Valeriy Sokolov, and the Morphing Chamber Orchestra in Europe and the Ukraine National Chamber Orchestra in Kyiv.
Two years ago Joseph performed in Australia and Japan with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and his own band then returned to London for a solo oud recital for the BBC Proms. Joseph is the first world music artist to present a solo concert of original contemporary music for the Proms.
In 2019 Joseph presented his Concerto for Oud & Orchestra with Sydney Symphony Orchestra for three nights at the Sydney Opera House which is was released as an album, winning the 2020 ARIA Award for Best World Music and the 2021 AIR Award for Best Independent Classical album.
Recorded live in concert in June 2019, this album features the world premiere of Tawadros’ Concerto for Oud and Orchestra alongside works from throughout his career. It marked the first time Tawadros released an album with a full symphony orchestra, demonstrating both the extraordinary textures of the oud itself as well as its rich and complex interactions with the orchestra’s many instruments.
Through 2020 and 2021, when all concerts and tours were cancelled due to the worldwide pandemic, Joseph presented a series of live stream concerts from his home and was guest artist for online concerts presented by Dubai Opera House, Tait Memorial Trust London, Dubai Opera House, Melbourne Recital Hall, Sydney’s Earfest.
In July 2021, Joseph released ‘Hope In An Empty City’ – recorded in New York with an exceptional ensemble of Layth Sidiq (Violin), Scott Colley (Double Bass), Dan Weiss (Drums) and David ‘Fuze’ Fiuczynski (Guitar).
The album has “a distinctive individual energy from each player as they come together creating a new sound for Joseph’s compositions with a cinematic breadth that will take listeners on an evocative and emotional musical adventure.”