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Joseph & James Tawadros Program content

Music | Daylight Express

Joseph & James Tawadros

Dates: 6 Mar 2024
Venue: Elder Hall
Duration: 1hr, no interval

Presenting Partner:




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Joseph Tawadros, oud
James Tawadros, percussion




Joseph Tawadros

“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 Tawadros AM is a leading oud virtuoso, composer and 8 time ARIA-award winner.

Born in Cairo, his chosen instrument, the oud is an Arabic lute, the ancestor of the lute and modern guitar. 

A virtuoso of diversity and sensitivity, Joseph performs in concert halls worldwide and is known for his brilliant technique, deep musicianship, storytelling and joyous style of performance.

Joseph’s drive to push musical boundaries has inspired collaborations with diverse performers and a solid repertoire of innovative, original music. He performs live as a soloist, in duo with his brother James on Egyptian percussion, with his jazz quartet or with chamber orchestras and symphony orchestras all over the world.

Joseph has performed his own works with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, BBC Symphony, Melbourne, Western Australia and Adelaide Symphony, The Brodsky Quartet, Ukraine National Orchestra, Camerata Salzburg, the Morphing Chamber Orchestra and his Concerto for Oud & Orchestra with the Sydney Symphony was performed and released by ABC Classics, Australia in 2019. He was also the first and only Australian composer to be performed by the Academy of Ancient Music in the United Kingdom.

He has recorded his music with many jazz luminaries such as John Abercrombie, Jack de Johnette, Roy Ayers, John Patitucci, Bela Fleck, Mike Stern, Joey DeFrancesco, Richard Bona and Christian McBride. Classical collaborations include Richard Tognetti, William Barton, The Grigoryan Brothers, Christian Lindberg, Gurrumul, James Crabb and his songs have been performed/recorded by The Song Company and Andreas Scholl. 

His oud can also be heard in films and TV such as Ali’s Wedding, The Last Days of Yasser Arafat, Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo, I Remember 1948, The Water Diviner, Checkpoint, The Tentmakers of Cairo, All About E, Love Marriage in Kabul, The Portal, Haneen, The Black Balloon, The Transfer, Memory Film; a Filmakers Diary, House of Cards and The Last Ride starring Hugo Weaving.

His 2023 highlights include performing at the opening of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and the premiere of his new work The Three Stages of Hindsight with the prestigious Britten Sinfonia. He also performed a sell-out Australian tour with the Australian Chamber Orchestra led by Richard Tognetti. He is also one of the 50 Australian composers to be chosen to write a fanfare celebrating the Sydney Opera House’s 50th birthday. Finishing off the year Tawadros performed a recording breaking 25 hours of continuous oud playing at the Kings College Chapel in London, raising £20,000 for charity.

Joseph was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia for services to music in 2016.

James Tawadros


“If genius is partly exceeding all likelihood of a given potential, then James Tawadros was flirting with genius as he played the riq’, a small tambourine. He extracted an array of sounds, textures and rhythms to shame most kit-drummers.” - Sydney Morning Herald 

James is a world class percussionist and soloist. His main instrument is the Riqq; a small hand-held tambourine, traditionally with skin covering and five pairs of cymbals. A autodidactic child prodigy, James’ unique innovative style and mastery of this ancient instrument that has brought him great acclaim worldwide, making his Australian Chamber orchestra debut at just 15 years of age.

His dexterity, rhythmic variety and virtuosity continue to amaze audiences and He has performed internationally with many celebrated artists and regularly accompanies his brother Joseph in concert.

Some of his career highlights as soloist include orchestral tours with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Camerata Salzburg, as well as a duet recording collaboration with legend jazz drummer Jack DeJohnette (of Miles Davis fame) for the album The Hour of Separation. He has performed with greats such as Béla Fleck, John Abercrombie, John Patitucci, Howard Johnson, Richard Bona, Joey DeFrancesco, Roy Ayers, Christian McBride and Mike Stern to name a few. 

Alongside his brother Joseph, he has picked up five ARIA Awards for Best World Music Album in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2020 and 2022.

In 2017, James made his premiere with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms and most recently performing with the Morphing Chamber Orchestra at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

James holds a Masters degree in Biomedical Engineering from University of Technology in Sydney.


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