Ahmed Fernando Anzaldúa El Samkary is a Mexican conductor and pianist of Egyptian descent. Early in his career, he was the awarded the first prize at the Maria Clara Cullel International Piano Competition. He’s since then avoided participating in competitions in favor of championing the works of new composers and exploring his musical heritage. Ahmed is a recognized authority in Latin American and Spanish music, particularly the compositions of Federico Mompou and Miguel Bernal Jiménez. He regularly collaborates with composers to premiere new works, including Helmut Lachenmann, Paul Lansky and Arturo Marquez. His most recent recordings include Carteles, recorded for FMM, and Contemplating Weather, on Bridge Records. Ahmed holds Master’s degrees in Piano Performance and Choral Conducting from Western Michigan University, where he taught before moving to Minnesota, and carried out postgraduate work at the Queen Sofia College of Music in Madrid, Spain. He received a doctorate in Music Conducting at the University of Minnesota, under the mentorship of Kathy Romey. Apart from his work with Border CrosSing, he is co-editor of the Justice Choir Songbook and is Director of Music Ministries at Unity Church – Unitarian in St. Paul, Minnesota.