AUB Professor Pierre Azoury, a mechanical engineering scholar and an avid music lover, died on November 19, 2014. He was 84.
Born in Port Said, Egypt on March 15, 1930, Azoury graduated from Victoria College in Alexandria, then move on to England where he earned a BS in mechanical engineering from London University. He continued his studies at the Imperial College where he received his PhD in mechanical engineering in 1961.
That same year, Azoury joined AUB as an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering. He was later promoted to Professor and served as Chairman of the Mechanical Engineering Department from 1987 to 1995. His field of research was in compressible fluid flow where he published several technical papers. In 1992 he also published a text book entitled “Engineering Applications of Unsteady Flow.”
Pierre Azoury’s second true passion was classical music. In an interview with Gareth Smith of the Daily Star, Azoury stated that “[Engineering and music] can share the inspiration to invent. In all arts and sciences, there’s an emotional ecstasy in invention.”
Pierre Azoury was always deeply moved by the music of the great Polish composer, Chopin, who had already impressed him as a teenager. He made his own contributions to the 150th anniversary of Chopin by authoring a book “Chopin Through His Contemporaries,”(1999). He was a member of the Friends of the Al Bustan Festival and assisted them in writing the articles and notes for the1999 program, and in mounting the Chopin exhibition, after having inspired them to choose Poland as the theme of the festival. His book and the exhibition earned him a decoration from the Polish Embassy.
The first music event at the Goethe Institute after the Civil War were his eight weekly lectures in commemoration of the bicentennial of the passing of Mozart under the title” Mozart, an Illustrated Profile of the Man and his Music”.
He made three piano recordings in Berlin in 1991, 1992 and 1993. Most were improvisations. His 1993 pieces, inspired by Gibran’s “The Prophet,” were written in the Romantic style but the seventh and last, “Death” was improvised. The Beirut Suite was composed during the Civil War and portrays life during this period.
At the time of his passing, he held a double appointment as professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and as professor in the Department of Fine Arts and History.