Honoring the Life of Kent State International Music Legend Halim El-Dabh

He was a music pioneer, a world-famous composer and a beloved member of the Kent State University community for more than four decades. On Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017, Halim El-Dabh passed away at the age of 96.

El-Dabh’s interest in music started at the age of 11 when he experimented with the sound of wind and scrap metal to scare the beetles away from his family’s crops in Egypt. Over time, his curiosity for music grew, as did his talents, opportunities and performances.Halim El-Dabh

From performing his piano compositions in Cairo to studying in the United States and performing at the United Nations, El-Dabh became a pioneer of electronic music. He was a member of Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center in New York City, where he composed the first-ever electronic music opera piece.

He came to Kent State in 1969 to teach ethnomusicology. He was involved in the School of Music and the Department of Pan-African Studies. Last October, the Martha Graham Dance Company performed a special revival of Act II of “Clytemnestra” at Kent State to honor El-Dabh, who held the distinguished title of University Professor Emeritus. The performance celebrated his 1958 musical collaboration with legendary dancer Martha Graham. 

Learn more about El-Dabh’s accomplishments in Kent State Magazine.

Watch a video of The Making of Clytemnestra.

Read more about the celebration of El-Dabh’s life from:

Akron Beacon Journal

The New York Times

The Record Courier