Tandem Project

Brigitte Schiffer: Letters from Cosmopolitan Cairo

Book Launch & Symposium

Only very little is known about the role of European migrants and their impact on the cultural life in Arab countries in the middle of the 20th century. What role did they play in the musical life of cosmopolitan Cairo? What was the relationship between Western and Arab musical culture and music education? How was Cairo’s musical scene in contact with international developments after 1945?

Brigitte Schiffer: Letters from Cairo, 1935-63

With the Arabic translation of a selection of Brigitte Schiffer’s letters from Cairo and the re-publication of some of her writings, the publication stimulates the discussion about these questions against the backdrop of the cultural cold war and pan-Arabism. It intends to provide the impetus for reflections on transnational historiography and to highlight the importance of translation processes for the transfer and exchange of knowledge.

The book offers the possibility of a deeper exchange, especially with the Egyptian academic community and provides many opportunities to connect with the cultural scene of today’s Cairo.

Dr. Matthias Pasdzierny

The book was first released at the Abu Dhabi Book Fair in May 2022 by AGYA members Dr. Ikram Hili and Dr. Matthias Pasdzierny in cooperation with the publishers ‘Kalima Translation Project’ and falschrum books. In a joint panel, AGYA members Matthias Pasdzierny, Dr. Stefan Maneval, AGYA Alumnus Prof. Dr. Bilal Orfali, and Mustafa Al-Slaiman from Kalima discussed key aspects of the book. The panel introduced the approaches of the musicologists and ethnologist Brigitte Schiffer in a stimulating interrogation of artistic and intellectual exchange processes between Europe and Arab countries in the early 20th Century.

Book Launch & Printing Workshop: Engaging with the Egyptian Public

In a festive evening event on 23 November, the AGYA publication ‘Brigitte Schiffer: Letters from Cairo, 1935–1963’ was presented at the Goethe Institut in Cairo with a Screenprint Exhibition in the Palm Garden, live music, readings, discussion rounds and a reception.

The event was opened by a screenprint workshop exhibition in the Palm Garden of the Goethe Institute. Selected works from the workshop presented the artistic use of historical and archived material. An Egyptian String Quartet performed „Brigitte Schiffer: Quatuor a Cordes (1934)” under the musical supervision of Prof. Dr. Hassan Sharara (Cairo Conservatory, Egypt).