Republic of Lebanon
Saturday 25th - 10 - 2014
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 History

The Lebanese National Conservatory was founded in the 1930s. The founder of the Music School which later became the Conservatoire was Wadie Sabra (the composer of the Lebanese National Anthem); he was assisted by his wife Adele Misk Sabra with the support of art and music lovers including artist painter George Corm. Profesors included their daughter Badiha Ashkar, soprano, Michel Cheskinoff, piano, Helena Savranski, piano, Alexis Karnaoukoff, baritone, Helene Lazareff, piano, Edouard Jeahchan, violin, Gisele Saba, violin, Wadad Mouzannar, piano and others.

In 1953, President Camille Chamoun requested the Minister of Education to call on the pianist, composer and conducter Anis Fuleihan to take charge of the Conservatoire. A board was appointed with Anis Fuleihan as director. Among the members of the members of the board were Izzet Khourshid - chief of Protocol, Jean Fattal, prominent businessman, Fouad Sarrouf, author historian and professor, Rene Naccache, eye specialist, Mary Abi Chahla (sister of the statesman Habib Abi Chahla) and May Arida etc. A representative of the Minister of Education was officially on the board (Dr. Kamal El Hajje and Fouad Rida and others).

In parallel an Association called Les Amis de la Music (The Friends of Music) was founded to find financial support for the Conservatoire. Nadia Kettaneh was president of the Association, and was followed by Mary Abi Chahla. The Conservatoire became in 1959 an Autonomous National Institution under the supervision of the Minister of Education. Anis Fuleihan was followed as director of the Conservatoire by Nicolas Dahl, Toufic Succar, R.F. Youssef El Khoury, Antoine Hobeika. Between 1957 and 1975 the Conservatoire had a Chamber Orchestra which was directed by Raif Abillama.

During the Lebanese war (1975-1991) the National Conservatoire suffered great damage: all the instruments, documents and the library were looted and burnt. The Conservatoire resumed teaching in 1991 and was upgrated in 1995 to a National Insitution of Higher Education. The President of the Conservatoire since 1992 has been the composer Dr. Walid Gholmieh. The Conservatoire counts today about 4500 students and has four branches in Beirut, one in Jounieh, one in each of Dhour el Choueir, Zahle, Saida and Beit-Mery; more branches are planned in Tyre, Nabatieh, Baalbeck, Baaqline, Qobeyate and Marjeyoun. The Conservatoire opened, in the year 2000, a section in the prison of Roumieh.

The Lebanese National Symphony Orchestra and the oriental Arabic orchestra of the Conservatoire was created in 1999 by Dr. Walid Gholmieh, President of the Lebanese National Conservatoire. Both orchestras and chief principal conductor contributed in different local and international festivals.