‘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.”


New technologies help increase number of flights, passengers in Saudi Arabia’s airports — GACA

Updated 24 March 2019
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New technologies help increase number of flights, passengers in Saudi Arabia’s airports — GACA

  • More than 99.86 million passengers departed or arrived through 771,828 flights in the Kingdom's international and domestic airports in 2018
  • GACA is due to host Global Aviation Summit 2019 on April 1 and 2 in Riyadh

JEDDAH: New technologies applied in Saudi Arabia's airports has contributed to aviation growth in the Kingdom and has provided solutions for passenger’s trips, air cargo and investments, the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has said.

GACA earlier reported an 8 percent increase in passenger numbers and 4 percent in flight rates in 2018.

It said more than 99.86 million passengers departed or arrived through 771,828 flights in the Kingdom's international and domestic airports in 2018, compared to 92.42 million passengers on board 741,293 flights in 2017.

"The GACA is keen to adopt plans to develop the Kingdom's airports network in order to keep pace with the steady increase in air traffic, increase the reliability of services, maximize geographic coverage and enhance the contribution of the airports to the overall economic growth of the country," it said.

For example, it said, GACA provides information through technology to reduce paperwork, operating costs and streamline business processes while reducing time to address them.

Most prominent among these e-services is the “Self-Services at the Kingdom's airports” that include check-in kiosks that provide boarding passes and luggage identification cards and self-service baggage drops that allows passengers to self-check their luggage.

It also provides self-scanning devices for bags in the arrival halls, ensuring that all baggage and other cargo arrive at the airport through the installation of electronic gates for the passage of freight vehicles before being emptied into the luggage compartment. 

Electronic gates and document scanning machines ensure that a traveler's information is correct and that boarding passes, passports, national identity and residency are valid.

Other services include airport operations systems and flight information display for some domestic airports.

To ensure accuracy in the flight schedules, GACA said it is working on a project to link the Saudi Arabian Airlines traffic management system to the Airport Management System, of which 50 percent has been completed.

GACA is due to host Global Aviation Summit 2019 on April 1 and 2 in Riyadh to review the infrastructure projects for airports and smart airports, the available opportunities to operate the airports and provide advanced services and consultations in civil aviation, among others.