“The viola da gamba is the perfect vehicle for the musical tapestry of Fahmi Alqhai’s extraordinary disc. He brings the instrument into a new realm of joyful potential." - Carolina Gill, GRAMOPHONE
Fahmi Alqhai is considered one of the most brilliant and prestigious players of the Viola da Gamba in the world today, as well as one of the most recognised interpreters of early music, for his personal and communicative approach to historical repertories.
Born in Seville, Spain, in 1976 to a Syrian father and Palestinian mother, he spends the first eleven years of his life in Syria, where he starts to study music at a very young age. Later he studies—self-taught—in Spain until he enters the Manuel Castillo Conservatoire in Seville in 1994 to study the Viola da Gamba with Ventura Rico. He furthers his studies in the prestigious Schola Cantorum Basiliensis (Basel, Switzerland) with Paolo Pandolfo and in the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana (Lugano, Switzerland) with Vittorio Ghielmi. Over the course of his musical studies, Fahmi Alqhai also obtains his degree in Dentistry from the University of Seville.
He is founder of Accademia del Piacere, with which he has conducted many awarded CDs for Glossa, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi and his own label (Alqhai & Alqhai), such as: Muera Cupido, winner of the Opus Klassik Award 2020 to the Best Solo Vocal Recital (Opera), Les Violes du Ciel et de l’Enfer (nominated for the International Classical Music Awards 2011), and Le Lacrime di Eros (2009 Prelude Classical Music Award). In 2012 Alqhai wins the Giraldillo prize awarded to Best Music at the 2012 Sevilla Flamenco Biennal, for the music of his fourth CD Las idas y las vueltas, together with flamenco vocalist Arcángel. In 2016 he wins also the Giraldillo to the Innovation for Diálogos, with Rocío Márquez.
In 2014 he records for Glossa his first CD for solo viol, A piacere, whose innovative conception of the instrument is warmly welcome in Spain, Germany and throughout Europe. In 2016 he launches its most personal work as a soloist, The Bach Album, for the label Glossa (award-wining for GEMA, Scherzo and Melomano). In 2018 he received the Medal of the City of Seville.
From a young age he is invited to work with the most internationally-renowned early music ensembles. He is a regular member of numerous recognised groups such as Hesperion XXI (Jordi Savall) and Il Suonar Parlante (Vittorio Ghielmi). He is also a founding member of More Hispano (dir. Vicente Parilla). With these ensembles, as well as with Accademia del Piacere and as a soloist, Fahmi Alqhai regularly offers concerts in Europe, Japan, the United States and South America’s best concert halls.
As a soloist, Fahmi Alqhai has performed with important orchestras such as the National Orchestra of Spain, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Galicia, Ensemble Vocal de Lausanne (Michael Corboz), Orquesta Barroca de Sevilla, and Al Ayre Español, among others. He has also made his entrance in the fields of contemporary music, as well as jazz, with artists such as Uri Caine. Fahmi Alqhai has also made numerous recordings for record labels such as Alia Vox, Glossa, Winter&Winter, Tactus, Arsis and Enchiriadis, as well as for television and radio in Europe, Asia and America.
Since 2009, he is artistic director of the Early Music Festival of Seville (FeMAS), Spain’s oldest and most important early music festival. In 2020, he receives a Leonardo Grant (BBVA Foundation) for the Colombina Project, about the 15th century manuscript.
Photo by Javier Diaz de Luna