When oud virtuoso Joseph Tawadros last performed in Bellingen in 2017, he and his percussionist brother James treated the packed Memorial Hall crowd to a mesmerising display of both their prodigious talent and their trademark good-natured humour.
A colourful figure who revels in fast-fingered runs on his lute-like oud, non-stop jokes, bad puns, and bright fashion choices, Tawadros was born in 1983 into a Coptic family in Cairo, Egypt, and immigrated to Australia when he was just three years old. Now 36, he has established himself as one of the world's leading oud performers and composers, and his genre-defying style has seen him build dedicated followings that combine classical, jazz and world music audiences.
Joseph has received 12 nominations and won 4 ARIA Awards - in 2012, 2013 and 2014 for 'Best World Music Album' - and as a contributor to the Ali's Wedding soundtrack album in 2017. A prolific recording artist and performer, he's released 17 albums, which have featured such high-profile guests as Richard Tognetti, Slava and Leonard Grigoryan, Jack DeJohnette, Bela Fleck and Christian McBride. He's also collaborated with Zakir Hussain, Kate Miller-Heidke, Neil Finn and Katie Noonan, and regularly performs with both international and Australian symphony orchestras.
Relocating from Sydney to London in 2016, Joseph has toured extensively in Europe, America, Asia and the Middle East, and appeared with the Academy of Ancient Music in London, making him the first and only Australian composer whose music has been performed by this prestigious orchestra.
Having expanded the oud's profile in mainstream western culture, he has also been recognised in the Arab world, appearing on the judging panel of the Damascus International Oud competition, and taking part in Istanbul's first Oud festival in 2010.
Tawadros 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 in 2016 was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (AM) for his services to music and composition.
"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
Joseph and James Tawadros will perform at the Memorial Hall on Sunday, September 29 at 2:30pm, as part of the Bellingen Fine Music Festival.
Details and bookings available online at: www.bellingenmusicfestival.com.au, or from the Waterfall Way Visitor Information Centre