Last Sunday saw the passing away of the spiritual father of Sudanese musicians, Prof Alfatih Altahir, a distinguished figure in musical composition, researching and criticism, known to have brought up generations of musicians.
In addition, Prof Altahir has left behind a wealth of references on the academics and history of singing and music.
Prof. Altahir was mourned by many outstanding musicians and intellectuals. For one, renowned musician Dr. Anas Ala’agib has said that “By the departure of Alfatih Altahir another star in the realm of music and singing is gone.”
“Prof. Altahir has spent the last seven decades busy studying and playing music and composing melodies. That discretion of his has earned him the highest of academic degrees. His knowledge about music has allowed him to enrich the music library with invaluable volumes in which he distributed a lot of varied Sudanese melody and depicted the biographies of leading Sudanese singers, melody composers and musicians.”
Before his departure Prof Altahir has composed his first symphony (also the first such a symphony to be composed by a Sudanese musician), according to Dr. Ala’agib.
“Prof. Altahir has left for us (and for the upcoming generations) a varied and rich musical legacy,” he said. “We will continue to remember Altahir’s kind fatherhood, his hospitality, humbleness, dedication and his love for those who worked with him,” said Dr. Ala’agib.
The late Altahir was born in Omdurman City in 1936 and completed his education in the Sudan and in Russia where he obtained his post-graduate degrees in music.
His Academic Qualifications:
– The Soviet State Doctorate Degree from the Moscow State Conservatoire. The degree was awarded to him with full consensus from the academic panel’s 19 arbitrators. Entitled “Sudanese Music in the 20th Century and its Contribution to the National Feeling”, was written and presented in Russian.
– PhD in music education from the Leningrad Cultural Institute in 1981. The thesis was entitled: Cultural work as a basis of disseminating culture in the Sudan. It was also written and presented in Russian.
– M.A in music and orchestra leadership from the Leningrad Cultural Institute, 1973.
– A number of certificates in music and training courses in music composition, chorale leadership, orchestra, modern harmony, the counterpoint and musical accompaniment.
– Awarded the degree of professorship for excellent long service and academic research, 1996.
Administrative & Teaching Career:
-Dean, Faculty of Music and Drama (Sudan University of Science and Technology), 2002-2005.
– Deputy Principal, Higher Institute of Music and Drama (HIMD), 1991-1992.
– Head Department of Music (HIMD) 1990-1991
– Founder and Head Department of Sudanese Musical Studies (HIMD)-2000-2002
– Professor of piano and accordion (HIMD)-1973-1985
– Flute professor (HIMD)-1985-2001
– Professor of musical composition theories (HIMD)-1973-2005
– Professor of Sudanese music
– Supervised lots of B.A, M.A and PhD researches.
– Chairman of the National Council for Music (A UNESCO affiliate)-1997-2009
– Chairman of the world council for research (Sudan branch)
– Chairman of the panel on new melodies and voices (Sudan National Radio and TV)- 1988-1994
– Chairman of the fourth international musical festival in Khartoum (October- November 1992).
– Arts critic in the Sudanese press since 1954.
– An artist under the microscope (a radio program that documents the life of Sudanese artists and musicians)-1983-1984
– Radio program entitled ‘arts critique’-1989-1991
– Musical Education in the Sudan (presented during the Arab Music Conference 1982 and published in the magazine of Arab music.
– Music and Dancing in the Sudan (case study of Kordofan region).
– Sudanese Folklore (written in English and presented in the 27th New York traditional music conference in 1983.
– The Fifth Musical Scale and the Possibility of Advancing Music and Singing in the Sudan. Presented during the symposium on the fifth scale in October 1984.
– Child music and issues of peace in the Arab World. It was presented in the Baghdad 1986 conference on Arab music.
– The dallooka (a type of drums used by girls) songs, written in English and presented in East Berlin’s music conference, 1987.
– The Role of Khalil Farah in Sudanese Music. It was written in English and presented in a musical conference in the former Soviet Union.
– Music Criticism.
– Archive of the Sudanese Music.
– Child Folk Songs (presented in the conference on Arab music in the Opera Theatre in Cairo (November 2003).
– The Dobait (nomadic verse) in the Sudan. It was presented in the Opera Theatre in Cairo on the sidelines of the Arab music conference, 2004.
– Musical Distribution in the Sudan (presented in the Conference on Arab Music in Cairo, 2005.
– Solfege on the fifth scale in Sudanese and other folklore.
– Selected Sudanese songs on the piano.
– the golden songs in Sudan: Sound and Piano, Omdurman 1990.
– I am Omdurman- A history of Sudanese music, 1993.
– Sudan Folklore 1998.
– Pioneers of Contemporary Singing in Sudan, 1995.
– Life and Art of Singer Osman Hussein, 1999.
Works & Musical Concerts:
– presented concerts for Sudanese songs
– Distributed tens of songs and musical works for the faculty of music’s chorale.