‘Our time to shine’: Saudi piano prodigy plays a song of her own

Eman Gusti: The young Saudi pianist, who captivated the audience alongside 11-year-old violinist, Chloe Chua. (Courtesy: Saudi General Cultural Authority)
Updated 26 July 2018
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‘Our time to shine’: Saudi piano prodigy plays a song of her own

  • The Kingdom is brimming with musical talents waiting for their moment to shine
  • For Eman Gusti, performing for the sell-out Saudi audiences was unlike anything she had experienced

JEDDAH: Chloe Chua, the 11-year-old Singaporean violinist and winner of the international Menuhin competition, is certainly an impressive performer, as her concerts in Riyadh and Jeddah show. But the Kingdom, too, is brimming with musical talents waiting for their moment to shine.

Among them is 21-year-old pianist Eman Gusti, who opened for Chua with songs of her own after the General Culture Authority offered her the chance to widen her audience and make a name for herself in the music industry.

Gusti developed her passion for music watching her mother play the keyboard when she was a child. Her earliest memories were of lazy afternoons spent listening to her mother playing, and late nights watching performances of classical music.

“My mother bought me my first keyboard when I was 5,” Gusti told Arab News. “She instilled a love of music in me. I was inspired by her. I started practicing on my own, but found myself more into the piano than the keyboard.”

Seeing her growing interest in music, Gusti’s father presented her with her first piano when she was almost 15, just before she began high school.

The young pianist continued to refine her skills and grow as a musical talent, performing at 32 events before her debut alongside Chua.

For Gusti, performing for the sell-out Saudi audiences was unlike anything she had experienced. 

“It was such a wonderful feeling to see people interact with my music and to watch them enjoy it. I was nervous at the beginning, but once the music seeped into my veins, it was strange and beautiful.”

Gusti said that she was left speechless when she saw how enthralled the audience was with the music, especially since she was playing original pieces.

In the future, she hopes to “continue growing as an artist professionally and internationally.” She also wants to learn the harp.

“My belief is that everyone should follow their dreams and work hard to make them a reality. I wish to set an example for girls in my country and show them that this is their time, and that now everything is possible.”


Major boost for Al-Jouf as Saudi king set to announce new city

King Salman arrived in Al-Jouf on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 21 November 2018
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Major boost for Al-Jouf as Saudi king set to announce new city

  • The king will launch Waad Al-Shamaal, a new city aimed at boosting the country’s mining infrastructure

JEDDAH: Projects worth several billion riyals are to be unveiled by Saudi Arabia’s king this week as he continues his tour of the country’s regions.
King Salman arrived in the province of Al-Jouf on Tuesday night where he will announce the construction of a new city, bolstering the local economy and creating thousands of jobs in Saudi Arabia’s most northern region.
On Thursday, the king will launch Waad Al-Shamaal, a new city aimed at boosting the country’s mining infrastructure, the Saudi Press Agency reported. 
He will lay the foundation stone for the first phase of the SR85 billion ($22 billion) city in Toriaf province — worth SR55 billion —  and is also set to inaugurate the projects and facilities of the second phase — worth SR30 billion.
In the past two months the king has visited a number of major cities, announcing projects and initiatives to develop the Kingdom inline with Vision 2030 — a broad strategic plan to diversify the economy and end dependence on oil revenues.
Before arriving in Al-Jouf, King Salman visited Tabuk, where several projects worth more than SR11 billion were launched.
He also met the team heading Amaala, the ultra-luxurious tourist destination that was unveiled in September and dubbed the “Riviera of the Middle East,” and was briefed on plans for the new attraction.
King Salman praised Amaala’s objectives to contribute to promoting economic diversification, creating investment opportunities for the private sector, and developing the tourism sector in Saudi Arabia while preserving the cultural and environmental heritage.
Meanwhile, the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) announced yet another major project in western Saudi Arabia.
Wadi Al-Disah Development Project, which is expected to become one of the Kingdom’s most environmentally diverse tourist attractions, adds to a number of already launched ventures on western coastal regions.
PIF will establish a company to develop Wadi Al-Disah in accordance with international best practices regarding environmental conservation and sustainable development.
In addition to this week’s tour, the king has so far visited Madinah, Qassim and Hail.