ANIS FULEIHAN (1900 - 1970)
Anis Fuleihan made an intensive study of Middle Eastern traditional music as early as the 1920s, and there are traces of this preoccupation in his Piano Sonata No. 9. Inasmuch as he was director of the Beirut Conservatory from 1953 to 1960, and conductor of Beirut’s orchestra during the same period, Fuleihan is one of the founding fathers of Lebanese symphonic music. Although he was the scion of an old Lebanese family, Fuleihan was born and brought up in the town of Kyrenia in Cyprus and spent most of his life in the USA, where he made a name for himself as a pianist, conductor and composer. In the 1930s he worked for the publishing house G. Schirmer and had a good network of contacts among the big names in the music world of the time. His orchestral works were premièred by the likes of John Barbirolli and Leopold Stokowski, and he himself frequently conducted the New York Philharmonic. After teaching at Indiana University for many years, Fuleihan held appointments first in Beirut and later in Tunisia, where he founded the Orchestre Classique de Tunis in 1962. Not only his biography, but also his music gives the impression that he was a focussed and vigorous cosmopolitan.