Joseph Tawadros


Australian-Egyptian Joseph Tawadros is established as one of the world’s leading oud performers and composers. A virtuoso of diversity and sensitivity, Joseph has performed in many of the world’s leading concert halls and venues and is known for his brilliant technique, musicianship and exuberant performance style.

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 the Order of Australia Medal (AM) for his services to music and composition in 2016. Joseph is acknowledged for expanding the oud’s renown in mainstream western culture and 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.

He has toured extensively, headlining in Europe, America, Asia and the Middle East and 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, Melbourne and West Australian Symphony Orchestras.

Joseph is currently based in London, and his recent performances include programmes of his own works with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms in Dubai,  a tour in Europe with the Morphing Chamber Orchestra and acclaimed violinist Valeriy Sokolov, and appearances with the Ukraine National Chamber Orchestra in Kyiv.   He was also the first world-music artist to present a solo oud recital for the BBC Proms in London.

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 fourteen albums which have received twelve ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) nominations and won four for Best World Music Album.

Concerto for Oud & Orchestra       

Commissioned by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Joseph Tawadros’ Concerto for Oud & Orchestra was premiered at the MSO’s Metropolis Festival of Modern Music.  The work combines elements of traditional Arabic music and rhythms, Jazz, Blues, Classical and the Baroque.  Following its premiere in Melbourne, the work was given three performances with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House, alongside other works for Oud and Orchestra composed by Joseph.  This programme has since been released commercially on CD and download as Joseph Tawadros: Live at the Sydney Opera House.  It has since also been performed with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra conducted by Benjamin Northey.

The Concerto for Oud & Orchestra is written in three movements and is set primarily in the Arabic mode called Nawa Athar, similar to a harmonic minor scale (here in C) with a raised 4th (F sharp).  This gives the work a Middle Eastern sound, but the scale allows for flexibility to change to other scales also from the tonic of C.   All three movements are played in the key of C intentionally, to give the work a feel of the wasla: in Arabic music a set of songs, instrumental pieces and improvisations all unified by a common mode.

Joseph plays this concerto on a seven-course oud (five double strings and 2 single strings) and in total the work lasts roughly 28 minutes.

Joseph Tawadros

General management

Robert Gilder
Managing Director