IYAD SUGHAYER at Conway Hall in Praise of Peace

Palmusic UK shakes hands with The Keyboard Charitable Trust

John Leech and his wife Noretta Conci,founders of the Keyboard Charitable Trust
I have followed the career of the young Jordanian pianist Iyad Sughayer for some years and it was a great pleasure to share in the celebration that Palmusic UK had organised together with the Keyboard Charitable Trust to celebrate his winning the Trinity Laban Gold Medal 2018.

John Leech with Iyad Sughayer
As John Leech proudly announced in the question and answer session that followed a remarkable recital.
The Keyboard Trust has been able to offer this young musician concerts in Germany and in Manchester Cathedral with the Manchester Camerata.
Other tours await this gifted young man in Italy and the USA in the future.

Wissam Boustany
Sharing the platform in the Q&A session was Wissam Boustany,the artistic adviser of Palmusic and  distinguished flutist (teaching at Trinity Laban and visiting Professor at the Edward Said Conservatory in Palestine)and above all an International Peace Campaigner.
Outlining the power of music in creating peace in the Middle East just as Edward Said together with Daniel Barenboim have demonstrated to the world with their East-West Divan Orchestra.
Creating dialogue between peoples with differing cultures can only be achieved by sharing something loved by all sides:MUSIC.
The words and actions of Politicians have proved to be futile if the dialogue is not shared and understood by the people that are suffering.
As John Leech rightly said the Keyboard Trust is proud to be associated with Palmusic on this and hopefully on many other occasions.
It was a short showcase recital that left plenty of time for discussion and celebration.
In the splendid acoustics of the Conway Hall in Holborn.
A Bosendorfer piano that had seen better days but still retained it’s unique voice.
It was ,infact this voice that was immediately noticeable in Iyad’s hands.
In the Q&A session he had been asked if he had a favourite composer.
Mozart without any doubt was the reply.
His Mozart showed remarkable clarity and control but it was above all the purity and beauty of the sound that struck us all and especially Noretta Conci-Leech,former assistant for many years of Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli.
No higher praise could be offered !
The first movement in particular had all the rhythmic drive together with the finesse and contrasts that mark this sonata in particular one of the most important of Mozart’s output and with the C minor almost forseeing what would come afterwards in Beethoven’s revolutionary hands.
The Andante cantabile is pure opera and here the dramatic contrasts are quite unique and should almost take us all by surprise.
A recent performance by Janina Fialkowska was really a lesson to us all and quite enthralling.
Iyad loves this music so much and played extremely beautifully but one felt that he was almost afraid to show us the jagged edges of Mozart’s teeth.
His performance will gain in depth as he matures and develops his already quite extraordinary gifts

Ilya Kondratiev in discussion with Noretta Conci Leech
The Presto was played in true sotto voce and the beautiful A major section was allowed to breathe to perfection.
The problem with this movement is the left hand that needs to be so precise as to allow the whispered right hand to really speak.
Iyad did wonders but it was Craig Sheppard who had pin pointed this in a masterclass at the RCM with Ilya Kondratiev.
Ilya had flown in especially from a German tour for the KCT to support his colleague and admire his Mozart .

Iyad with that other remarkable pianist and indefatigable peace campaigner Alberto Portugheis*
In his interview after the concert Iyad said he was very excited about recording all the works of Khachaturian.
Something that only Murray McLachlan had done previously.
It was with Murray that Iyad had studied since leaving Amman and the National Music Conservatory at the age of 14.
Studying first at Chetham’s and later at the RNCM always in Manchester.
Awarded a full scholarship to study at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music in London he continued his studies with Martino Tirimo .
Now having completed his studies there having been awarded the prestigious Gold Medal he returns to Manchester to complete his International Artists Diploma with McLachlan,Tirimo and Scott.
An exciting project to be invited to record for the Swedish label BIS the solo works of Khachaturian and  it was after a performance of the four Mazukas op 33 by Chopin  that we were treated to a transcendental performance of Khatchaturian’s 1961 Sonata.
Here was all the verve and drive of a young lion .
Not only.
But with a sense of colour and contrast that had ignited this young man’s imagination and that he transmitted to an audience mesmerised and overwhelmed by such authority.
A work in many ways reminiscent of Prokofiev with its liquid cantabile contrasting with passages of enormous velocity and power.
A remarkable performance that augers well not only for posterity in the recording but also in the performance with the BBC Philharmonic which is in programme shortly after in Manchester.

Wissam Boustany with Iyad
A very interesting Q&A with a capacity audience after the performance in which it was refreshing to see with what simplicity and joy this young man could share not only his music but also his views on music in the Middle East and the message that music can have for all those who have ears and the wish to listen.
A celebration afterwards was a fitting end to an uplifting evening dedicated to Art and Peace.
His next performance in Amman will be on the 23rd December with that other extraordinary Jordanian pianist Karim Said (a student at Purcell School of that other renowned trainer of young musicians Tessa Nicholson)
In programme Beethoven Concerto n. 2 .
* honoured to be corrected and enlightened by another extraordinary human being present in the audience:Alberto Portugheis
Dear Wissam Boustany (you can read what he wrote about me on the back cover of my first book, with John’s foreword) is a Peace lover and occasionally Peace searcher, but not a campaigner as such. He’s very spiritual and a wonderful musician. We have partnered each other on occasions. This, from his website, expresses in a clear way what his interests are:
Wissam’s experiences of the war in Lebanon have greatly influenced his outlook on both Life and Music, crystalizing into a burning intensity, commitment, deep sadness, and spirituality that find their wings in the sound of his flute. In 1995, he founded Towards Humanity, a multi-decade international initiative working with musicians and charities, helping communities who suffer from the tragedies of war.
You don’t mention his teaching at Trinity Laban; has Wissam retired ?
To me, outlining the power of music in the context of Peace work, is distracting and confusing. Many politicians and often the more warmongering ones, (Hitler included) listened to good music all their lives. Armed Forces have orchestras, bands, chamber music, choral music, etc. Many military murderers are excellent painters, sculptors, poets.
ART is used to celebrate good or evil, depending on who orders it.
Famous composers have written marches to encourage killing. The 5th verse of God Save The Queen says we must kill all the Scotts !!!
Daniel Barenboim has repeatedly said the East-West Divan Orchestra is not a Peace Project and he does not expect their concerts to do anything to advance the Peace process.  The Said-Barenboim Project’s aim is: show that communication between Jews and Muslims is possible. This however, is already know by everybody, but Militarism, Politics and money makes Peace impossible. In fact, we have so many wars because of the excellent communication, fluid dialogue between all the warrying parties.
You say Creating dialogue between peoples with differing cultures can only be achieved by sharing something loved by all sides:MUSIC.
In Spain, when the Civil War broke out, thousands of people who shared the music they were singing, in Church choirs all over the country, ended up killing each other, depending on which side of the conflict they belonged to. You also write The words and actions of Politicians have proved to be futile if the dialogue is not shared and understood by the people that are suffering..
In reality most people don’t understand what happens, because people are gullible and they believe politicians. People believe that we need Armed Forces for “Defense”. Politicians are ‘forced’ by the system to create ‘enemies’ so as to justify military expenditure. We force them to lie to us. They have to promote the military Trade (something impossible without creating the terrain for wars), so that they can tell us of their Peace efforts.
To the piano now !!!

Ciao,

Alberto

The remarkable work of Palmusic UK

The distinguished audience in Conway Hall

Alberto Portugheis demonstrating his up and coming Beethoven Piano Concerto Masterclasses in St John’s Notting Hill on the 17th November

Iyad celebrating with us after his distinguished performances

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