The resident group of the Cairo Opera House, the Cairo Symphony Orchestra has dominated the classical music of Egypt for more than four decades. While their repertoire includes compositions by Mahler, Ravel, Debussy, Bartók, and Stravinsky, the group has increasingly focused on the traditional music of their homeland. The first of a series of recordings of Egyptian music was released in 2001. Formed in 1959 under the musical direction of Franz Litschauer, the Cairo Symphony Orchestra originally supplied music for Egyptian radio and television. Affiliated with the Ministry of Culture, the group continues to perform weekly symphonic concerts on their own and have accompanied such international ensembles as the Bolshoi Ballet, the Kirov Ballet, and the London City Ballet. They have worked with a lengthy list of guest conductors, including Charles Münch, Carlo Zecchi, Ottokar Truhlik, Ole Schmidt, and Yehudi Menuhin. In addition to performing in all of the opera productions at the Cairo Opera House since 1990, they have brought their music to Lebanon, Tunisia, Germany, France, and Austria. The principal conductor since 1996, Ahmed Elsaedi is a professor and head of composition and conducting at the Academy of Arts in Cairo.
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