‘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.”


Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan arrives in Madinah during maiden visit to Saudi Arabia

Updated 14 min 17 sec ago
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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan arrives in Madinah during maiden visit to Saudi Arabia

  • Although bilateral relations and regional security are on the agenda of Imran Khan’s visit, a more urgent priority will be a possible economic bailout package from the KSA
  • The prime minister will call on King Salman and hold a bilateral meeting with the crown prince, said the Pakistan Foreign Office

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in Madinah, Saudi Arabia, beginning the initial leg of his first foreign tour since taking office in August.
The premier was welcomed at Madinah Airport by the Governor of Madinah, Faisal bin Salman, Pakistani Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Hasham bin Saddique, and other members of the Pakistani consulate.
Khan, accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Adviser for Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, is also scheduled to perform Umrah during his two-day stay in Saudi Arabia.


“The prime minister will call on His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz and hold a bilateral meeting with the crown prince (His Royal Highness Mohammad Bin Salman). The king will also host a state banquet for the prime minister at the Royal Court. Accompanying ministers will also meet their counterparts to discuss bilateral cooperation,” reads a statement issued by the Foreign Office.
The Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen, will also call on the PM during his visit.
Although bilateral relations and the regional security situation are on the agenda of Khan’s visit, a more pertinent, urgent priority will be a possible economic bailout package sought from Saudi Arabia by the new Pakistani Government.

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In 2014, six months after Pakistan obtained its last IMF bailout, Saudi Arabia loaned Pakistan $1.5 billion, which the government used to strengthen its currency. Pakistan’s current account deficit increased to 43 percent ($18 billion) in the fiscal year that ended June 30.
Analysts, however, told Reuters that a fresh bailout package from the IMF, which would be Pakistan’s 13th since the late 1980s, is inevitable.

While the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Government has been debating several options to plug the hole in Pakistan’s rapidly draining foreign exchange reserves, it is also avidly trying to seek financial assistance from allied countries (including Saudi Arabia, China and the UAE) as opposed to going to the IMF.
Before the visit, Finance Minister Asad Umar said that IMF assistance would remain a “fallback option.