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Cellist Kousay Mahdi was born in 1966 into a family of musicians in Baghdad. He began his studies in Iraq and then went to Béla Bartók Conservatoire in Budapest where he became a pupil of Ottó Kertész in 1985. In 1988 he was admitted to the Franz Liszt Academy of Music where he studied under László Mező and Ferenc Rados. He won a second prize at the David Popper Cello Competition in 1992. In 1993 he was admitted to the Symphony Orchestra of the Hungarian Radio.

He is active on the concert scene in Hungary and abroad, he is a member of Pulzus String Quartet, the Budapest Cello Ensemble and Trio ‘da Capo’. He received the Artisjus Prize in 2003 as a member of the Budapest Cello Ensemble. He has been a member of the Budapest Festival Orchestra since 2008. He has made several solo recordings for Hungaroton.