Conflict & Justice

Concerto 'Tahrir for Clarinet and Orchestra' Inspired by Egyptian Uprising


Mohammed Fairouz (Photo:

For the Global Hit, Arab American composer Mohammed Fairouz comments on a piece he wrote about the Egyptian uprising.

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The piece is called "Tahrir for Clarinet and Orchestra," and it is the first movement of what will become a concerto in three movements.

I spoke to Mohammed Fairouz about what prompted him to write the piece, and he talked about a few moments in it, as they relate to events that began on Tahrir Square, one year ago today.

Imagine the composer writing music as he watched the uprising on television – with the sound off.

That's what Fairouz did, from his apartment in New York City.

What he saw happening on TV, thousands of miles away, inspired "Tahrir for Clarinet and Orchestra," which he wrote for his friend, clarinetist David Krakauer.

Krakauer, as Fairouz describes him, is a musician well-versed in Middle Eastern, Jewish Klezmer, as well as Arabic music, which made him a perfect fit for this piece.

In the music, the Egyptian people's voices are represented by the orchestra, while the clarinet expresses the voice of the individual protester.

Fairouz talks about the sense of tension and angst in "Tahrir," as well as a restlessness, and a dynamic sense that the protest movement is the only way forward.