About Wael ElMahallawy

I am a sound engineer and an Arab musician and Qanoun performer based in Toronto, Canada and Cairo, Egypt. I am also an Associate Professor of Music Technology, and the Director of the Music Technology program at the Department of Arts of the American University in Cairo. With over 20 years experience in the music industry in Egypt and abroad, my portfolio is quite diverse and extends across a wide array of activities. However, my true passion lies in celebrating diversity through music, and in making Arab Music Turath more accessible to musicians and scholars around the world.

Click on the tabs below to view my qualifications and interests as an Arab Musician and Qanounist, a Sound Engineer, and an Associate Professor.

Musician and Qanounist

Musician and Qanounist

I started to learn how to read music and music performance when I was around 15 years old. By high school, I was working as a professional accordionist and a bass guitarist, and had perfect sight-reading.

I then formally studied music performance in the Faculty of Music Education, Helwan University, where I studied both Qanoun and Piano (along with harmony and western music theory), throughout which I started my career as a professional qanoun performer.

I performed in numerous recitals, orchestral works and operas, international folk festivals, as well as in soundtracks for movies and TV series. I still play the accordion, piano and bass guitar occasionally, but qanoun has always been the core of my music career as a performer.

Click here for My Performances Portfolio

My Interests

Maybe it was my educational background in harmony and western music theory, or my participation in international festivals and jamming with musicians from all around the world that enticed my interest and curiosity about performing western music on Qanoun. Despite that Qanoun is an Arab Music instrument, I experiment with performing classic music on Qanoun. I collaborate with colleagues like guitarist Nathan Fischer, Chelsea Green, among others, where we performed western music as a dues on qanoun and guitar. You can check my portfolio to view these performances.

I am also currently working on a music album project tentatively titled Oriental Bach where I am performing and recording Bach two-part inventions, sinfonia and fugue on Qanoun.

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Sound Engineer

A Professional Sound Engineer


I have been active as a sound engineer since 1996. I worked as the principle sound engineer at the Faculty of Music Education Studio in Cairo, Egypt and as a freelance sound engineer. I currently co-own World Media Recording Studio in Cairo, Egypt. I am also the principle sound engineer for the American University in Cairo recording and mastering studios, which I designed and set up myself.

My work as a sound engineer encompasses recording albums and soundtracks for video productions, mixing and mastering, in addition to live recording. My portfolio includes recording, mixing and mastering soundtracks for more than 80 video productions, as well as music albums with renowned composers and musicians. I also work as a freelance sound engineering instructor to those who are interested to pursue a career in sound engineering.

Click here for my Recording Portfolio

My Qualifications

I studied sound engineering and Pro Tools in Canada and the United States:

  • I am a certified Avid Pro Tools HD 9 Operator by ProMedia Training, New York, US
  • I studied Logic courses at Apple Inc., Toronto, Canada in 2014:
    • Logic Pro X 100
    • Logic Pro X 300 (Advanced)
  • I attended the “Advanced Workshop in Music Recording,” by Recording Workshop, Ohio, US in 2014
  • Studied Pro Tools HD 7 courses in Sound Engineering Digidesign Pro Tools, Metal Works Institute, Canada, 2006:
    • Pro Tools 101
    • Pro Tools 110
    • Pro Tools 201
    • Pro Tools 210M


Sound Engineering Positions

2015 – Present: Owner and Principle Sound Engineer, World Media (WM) Music Studio, Cairo

2010 – Present: Principle Sound Engineer, AUC Music Studio, The American University in Cairo

1997 – Present: Freelance Sound Engineer

1995 – 2009: Principle Sound Engineer, Faculty of Music Education Studio, Helwan University

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Tenured Associate Professor

I am a music academic with a PhD. in Music Education from the Faculty of Music Education, Helwan University. I started teaching as a lecturer in Helwan University in 1995. I later joined The American University in Cairo (AUC) as a visiting assistant professor in 2008.

I am currently a tenured associate professor of music at the AUC Department of Arts. I developed a number of music technology courses and I am currently teaching a variety of undergraduate courses in music technology, Arab music, private qanoun instruction and music theory.

One of my proudest achievements as an academic is the introduction of the Music Technology major at the American University in Cairo in collaboration with Dr. John Baboukis, the director of the music program at the time, introduced as the first music technology program ever in Egypt and the Middle East. The major which was inaugurated in 2011 currently has over 25 students enrolled and graduated over 25 alumni who are currently pursuing their careers as freelance sound engineers, studio owners, and post-graduate studies in Egypt and abroad. I have been the director of the Music Technology program at AUC since its inauguration.

I have also been actively involved in the student activities related to music. I directed the AUC Music Ensemble and the AUC Folk Music Ensemble from 2003 to 2017 through which we performed over 30 recitals on-campus and off-campus in international folk festivals and in professional theatres in Egypt and abroad.

Click Here for my Teaching Portfolio


PhD of Music Education, 2006
Faculty of Music Education, Helwan University, Egypt
Title of the dissertation: Digital Electronic Music (first Egyptian thesis on the topic)

Masters of Music Education, 2001
Faculty of Music Education, Helwan University, Egypt
Title of the dissertation: Electronic Music (first Egyptian thesis on the topic)

Bachelor of Music Education, 1995 (Highest Honors)
Faculty of Music Education, Helwan University, Egypt
Concentration: Qanoon

Teaching Positions

2012 – Present      Associate Professor
Music Program, Department of Arts, HUSS, AUC

2009 – 2012         Assistant Professor
Music Program, Department of Arts, HUSS, AUC

2007 – 2009          Adjunct Faculty
Music Program, Department Arts, HUSS, AUC

2006 – 2009          Assistant Professor
Department of Theory and Composition
Faculty of Music Education, Helwan University

2001 – 2006          Associate Lecturer
Department of Theory and Composition
Faculty of Music Education, Helwan University

1995 – 2001          Teaching Assistant
Department of Theory and Composition
Faculty of Music Education, Helwan University

Other University Positions

2005 – 2017          Director and Conductor
AUC Folk Music Ensemble and Choir
Department of Arts, AUC

2003 – 2017         Trainer and Conductor
AUC Music Group
Office of Student Development, AUC

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Let Me Help!

Let Us Connect

If you are looking for a professional qanounist or a Qanoun instructor, let us connect.

Also, if you are looking to hire a freelance sound engineer or exploring starting a career in sound engineering and looking for an instructor, click here for my contact information!

Combing western and eastern music can be a rewarding experience. I would love to meet up and jam virtually or in person. If you have any questions about Arab music or qanoun also don’t hesitate to get in touch!

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