The Riyadh Oud Exhibition, organized by Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority in cooperation with the Music Commission concluded on Saturday at Boulevard Riyadh City.
The exhibition, billed as “the biggest oud-related music event of its kind in the Middle East,” included a collection of rare ouds from around the world and was attended by some of the most famous manufacturers of the stringed instrument in the world.
According to the GEA, the event was also “the largest Arab gathering of oud players” and included a number of live performances, as well as oud tutorials from Saudi and Yemeni maestros Abadi Al-Johar and Ahmed Fathi.
A number of female musicians also participated, winning the admiration of the audience. A group of young people also participated in presenting their works before a jury consisting of art and music experts, the GEA said.
The event also hosted professional and amateur oud players from across the Arab world, competing for cash prizes in front of an audience and a jury of five professional oudists.
The winner of the professional category took home SR150,000 ($40,000), with SR100,000 for second place, and SR50,000 for third.
The amateur and female category winners got a SR75,000 prize, with SR50,000 for those in second place, and SR25,000 for third.
The event aimed to “embrace and revive musical heritage among the Saudi community through the medium of the instrument and traditional music.”
Last year, the Saudi Arabia Music Commission announced the establishment of the Bait Al-Oud Arabic Music Institute, which provides lessons on a variety of traditional Arabic instruments, with a focus on the oud — perhaps the most important instrument in Arabic music.
The hope is that the institute will become a globally recognized center, spreading awareness of Arabic instruments, specifically the oud, and preserving the heritage of Arabic music.