‘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.”


‘Our History is Misk’ revive 20 traditional professional figures in Jeddah

Cafes were an important part of Jeddah’s social life. (AN photo)
Updated 24 September 2018
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‘Our History is Misk’ revive 20 traditional professional figures in Jeddah

  • Cafes were an important part of Jeddah’s social life

JEDDAH: “Our History is Misk,” supported by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Foundation, is being organized at the historical site of Jeddah.
The event is bringing nostalgia through a number of scenes that embody the life the city witnessed decades ago.
It comes as one of the activities of the foundation’s initiatives center and is part of its role in encouraging creativity and promoting national values in society.
The activities include an open theater to portray the professions of Jeddah citizens in the past. A number of local actors brought 20 extinct professions back to life through their performances.
One of the actors sits in the center, playing the role of the mayor, who used to help the people and solved their differences. Also showcased were the “decorator,” who is similar to barbers nowadays, the distribution of fabrics used in houses at the time, the selling of water in alleys for nominal amounts of money, and the restoration and cleaning of shoes.
Cafes were an important part of Jeddah’s social life. In them, people with all kinds of professions met to drink tea and listen to a storyteller.