Mohamed-Amine Kalaï is a Tunisian qanun player born in Kairouan. He began his musical studies at the Regional Conservatory of Kairouan and obtained in 2009 his national diploma of Arabic music, before receiving in 2011 his music performance degree in qanun. His participation in the national Festival of Young Musicians in 2006 was crowned with first prizes: in the qanun category as well as for the entire festival. In July 2013, he participated in the “Neapolis Music Days”, during which he won the first prize of the “professional” category and the Golden Rabeb of the entire competition.
Already widely recognized as a young talent, he played in February 2014 at the Festival Young Virtuosi in Ennejma Ezzahra and in October 2014 at the International Festival of Aradeo, Italy. In 2015, he participated in the University of Istanbul’s second Ottoman Music Summer School, receiving masterclasses from Turkish qanun virtuoso and renowned composer Göksel Baktagir.
Regularly invited to present his instrument and Tunisian music at national and international festivals, he notably performed as a soloist at the International Celtic Harp Festival of Dinan, France, at the Eastern Music Summer Academy of Sulzburg, Germany, at the Babel Sounds Festival in Hungary and at the Desert Vert festival in Morocco. He played with several well-known national music ensembles, including the Rachidia (Tunisia’s primary classical Arabic music orchestra) and the Tunisian Symphony Orchestra, with whom he gave an unprecedented performance of Vivaldi’s Concerto in C Major RV 93 in an adaptation for qanun under the direction of Pierre-Yves Gronier.
After publishing in 2012 a collection of 57 works of his composition in the traditional Tunisian style (bachrafs), Mohamed Amine is currently deepening his research on traditional forms of Tunisian music. He is also working on the development of a new method of qanun playing facilitating the adaptation of Western works (including baroque music written for lute). His first album, Mukkadima, is an anthology of anonymous pieces from the Andalusian repertoire of Tunisian music, complete with works of his composition.
In parallel to his musical career, he earned an MD degree from the University of Tunis.