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Composer and Kent State Professor Halim El-Dabh dies at 96

Halim El-Dabh in 2008  while collaborating with a Korean music ensemble (photo urycki)

The acclaimed Egyptian music composer Halim El-Dabh died over the weekend at his home in Kent, Ohio.  He was one of the first in the world to compose electronic music.  

In 2006 El-Dabh told WCPN that he created "The Expression of Zar" from a group of women performing a healing ritual in 1944.

“They did healing with sound.  So I hide and went in there.  I recorded their voice with the equipment of a Cairo radio station – on wire at that time.     I was just fascinated with these voices that had healing power.  If I took some of the vibrations and some of the frequency out I would have a new experience. “  

In 1950 El-Dabh came to the U-S, studied with composer Aaron Copland, wrote ballet music for dancer Martha Graham, and later taught at Kent State.  

Today his music is still played each night at the Great Pyramids of Egypt.   

Halim El-Dabh died Saturday at age 96.