Young violinist hits a winning note in Riyadh

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Chloe Chua performs, accompanied by world renowned pianist Gordon Back, at the King Fahad Cultural Center in Riyadh on July 21, 2018. (General Cultural Authority photo)
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Chloe Chua performs to a spellbound audience at the King Fahad Cultural Center in Riyadh on July 21, 2018. (General Cultural Authority photo)
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Eman Gusti, a 20-year-old Saudi pianist, performs during the concert of Chloe Chua at the King Fahad Cultural Center in Riyadh on July 21, 2018. (General Cultural Authority photo)
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Saudi children get a photo op with Chloe Chua. (General Cultural Authority photo)
Updated 23 July 2018
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Young violinist hits a winning note in Riyadh

  • Chloe Chua of Singapore is considered the world's foremost youngest pianist
  • Since the opening of its doors to global talent, people in Saudi Arabia have been enjoying electrifying performances of various world-class musicians and singers.

RIYADH: The cultural landscape of Saudi Arabia is changing at a rapid pace and it is fast becoming a hub of cultural activities. 
Since the opening of its doors to global talent, people in Saudi Arabia have been enjoying electrifying performances of various world-class musicians and singers.
The Saudi authorities are leaving no stone unturned to promote local talent and to make the Kingdom part of the global cultural revolution. 
On Saturday, the General Cultural Authority organized yet another unforgettable concert at the King Fahad Cultural Center, which saw the world’s youngest violinist, Chloe Chua from Singapore perform to a spellbound audience. The 11-year-old talented violinist has been a student at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts School of Young Talents (SYT) strings section since the age of four. 
She is studying with Yin Ke, string program leader of SYT and recently won the first prize in the Menuhin Competition Geneva 2018. She has been awarded prizes in numerous other competitions, coming first in the 24th Andrea Postacchini International Violin Competition (May 2017) and third in violin group A of the 2nd Zhuhai International Mozart Competition for Young Musicians. 
Chua was accompanied by the internationally distinguished pianist, Gordon Back. Back is an official accompanist at major international violin competitions such as the Queen Elizabeth competition, the Carl Flesch Competition (London), the International Tchaikovsky Competition (Moscow), the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis (US), and the Menuhin Competition (UK).

VIEW OUR PHOTO ALBUM: Chloe Chua's Concert in Riyadh

The pieces of music, which included Beethoven, Mozart and Johan Svendsen, were inspired by different stories and different musical rhythms and drew rapturous applause.
The program began with a 15-minute performance by Eman Gusti, a 20-year-old Saudi pianist who started playing at the age of nine. 
“No one on earth can imagine how I felt when I heard the audience applauded. It is such a great honor,” Gusti told Arab News.
She said she finally felt she had a place to express her passion and an umbrella (the General Culture Authority) to belong to. “Saudi women have a great space to express their enthusiasm in interactive situations and places. I am very happy to be part of this golden era.” 
After her segment, the main performance started with Chua and Back. “I am very happy to perform in Saudi Arabia,” Chua said afterward. “I chose these seven pieces because they are very good in terms of the music, rhythm and themes. I wanted to show that classical music can be a joy to everyone. I chose music because it makes everybody happy, and I can travel around the world to make the world happy.” 
Now Chua and Back are set to perform in Jeddah today. “I am very excited about seeing Jeddah and playing music in front of an audience there,” she said. 
It was the first time Back had played in Saudi Arabia. “It is a very wonderful experience,” he told Arab News.
When asked whether music can bring people from different countries and diverse cultures together, he said: “I think it can, because with music you do not need any language. It transcends languages. It can also unify people. 
“Hopefully I will come back to perform again here in Saudi Arabia,” he said.


What We Are Reading Today: A Mind Unraveled by Kurt Eichenwald

Updated 20 October 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: A Mind Unraveled by Kurt Eichenwald

  • This is the story of one man's battle to pursue his dreams despite an often incapacitating brain disorder

A Mind Unraveled is a well-written, informative, and enlightening book from Kurt Eichenwald. It is a beautiful, tragic, and strong memoir.

This is the story of one man's battle to pursue his dreams despite an often incapacitating brain disorder. 

From his early experiences of fear and denial to his exasperating search for treatment, Eichenwald provides a deeply candid account of his years facing this misunderstood and often stigmatized condition. 

He details his encounters with the doctors whose negligence could have killed him, but for the heroic actions of a brilliant neurologist and the family and friends who fought for him.

A Mind Unraveled reads like a medical thriller, at times truly frightening but also deeply inspiring,” commented Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, in a review published in goodreads.com.

He added: “This book will make me think differently as a doctor. Eichenwald is a tremendously talented writer. When you travel on his personal journey, it is pure gold.”

Reviewing the book for the New York Times, Daphne Merkin said: “A Mind Unraveled is inspirational in the true sense of the word rather than in a gimmicky, self-help sort of way. It is written with great verve and wisdom by someone who has closely and thoughtfully detailed his own plight as well as the journey out of it.”

Merkin is the author of “This Close to Happy: A Reckoning With Depression.” 

He added: “I found myself reading it obsessively, the better to discover what happens to Eichenwald as he stumbles from one traumatic misadventure to the next while managing all the while to keep his eye on the larger picture. It is a book to take heart from.”