‘Karim’s Journey’ from school to outstanding orchestras

Said won a competition in Bucharest for child pianists at the age of 9.

BEIRUT: Jordanian-born London based pianist and composer Karim Said is thought of as a prodigy.

He won a competition in Bucharest for child pianists at the age of 9, and hasn’t given up since. Now 24 years old, Said has undergone many experiences that make him a unique musician.

Before performing with Argentina-born conductor Daniel Barenboim, he made his international concert debut with the English Chamber Orchestra. He later joined the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra – the ensemble of young Arabs and Israelis famously founded by Barenboim and literary critic and Palestine advocate Edward Said. Said and the young prodigy’s grandfather were apparently cousins.

In 2007, the young Said entered London’s Purcell School, and the Royal Academy of Music. In 2008, filmmaker Christopher Nupen made a movie of the pianist’s life. “Karim’s Journey” was broadcast on BBC4 and traced the musician’s evolution throughout his few years. Set around interviews with Said’s family and teachers, the feature assembles his concerts, conducting experiences and travels to give viewers an insight into how the boy is gaining international fame.

Said will be in Beirut Thursday evening at St. Joseph Church, Jesuits, where he will perform Bach’s “Suite Francaise,” “Sonata No. 15” by Beethoven, Chopin’s “Nocturnes” and two extracts from Franz Liszt’s “Annees de Pelerinage,” among other compositions.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 22, 2014, on page 16.




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