On 7 December 2020, we were ecstatic to welcome The Pianist of Yarmouk to Celebrating Syria 2020. Aeham Ahmad played some of his finest pieces of music and told us about his experiences in Syria, where oppression meant that no one could think, write, or play music freely. It was a beautiful night!
Aeham became internationally known in 2014 when he was filmed singing and playing his piano amidst the rubble of Yarmouk, a besieged Palestinian refugee camp near Damascus, thereby representing Syrian and Palestinian people’s suffering, but also their longing for freedom and their resistance and hope.
Eventually, the lives of Aeham and his family were threatened by militants, his piano burned, and they were forced to flee Syria to find safety in Germany where Aeham continues to play his piano and tell his story and the stories of fellow Syrians, and Palestinians in Syria.
To learn more about Aeham, you may wish to buy his book “The Pianist of Yarmouk”, available through most online book retailers.
Born in Damascus in 1988, Aeham belongs to the Palestinian community in Syria and lived with his family until 2015 in the Palestinian refugee camp Yarmouk where in 1948 his grandfather fled from Palestine.
Aeham’s father taught him to play the piano at the age of five, and at the age of 23 he graduated from the conservatorium in Damascus and Homs.
Since his arrival in Germany Aeham has performed countless concerts in various German cities and in December 2015, he was awarded the first International Beethoven Prize for Human Rights.
'The piano was my friend, it is as if they killed my friend', Aeham Ahmad, CNN, 2015