‘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.”


‘Day for giving’: Saudi king sets stage for $3bn projects in Tabuk

Updated 23 min 52 sec ago
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‘Day for giving’: Saudi king sets stage for $3bn projects in Tabuk

  • Luxury Amaala mega-resort paves way for revival of Red Sea region

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman met the Amaala project team, led by Nicholas Naples, in Tabuk on Tuesday and watched a visual presentation on plans for the luxury tourist development.
The Amaala project is one of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s initiatives to achieve his economic and development objectives. The tourist destination on the Kingdom’s Red Sea coast aims to create a new concept in luxury tourism focusing on recovery, health and treatment.
King Salman praised the project’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.
On Tuesday, the king also received the people of Tabuk province and inaugurated and laid the foundation stone for a number of development projects in the region in a ceremony attended by the crown prince.
Tabuk Gov. Prince Fahd bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz said: “This is a day for giving, in the land of giving, and from the king of giving. On this day, Tabuk is honored to inaugurate and lay the foundation stone, under King Salman’s patronage, for several development projects that are in line with the growth and expansion experienced in the region, cities and provinces.”

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HIGHLIGHTS

  • Amaala will generate an expected 22,000 jobs in hospitality and tourism, leisure and retail, in addition to the opportunities created in construction and ancillary industries.
  • The development will provide facilities and services for guests to shape their own luxury experience. It will celebrate arts, culture, fashion, wellness and sports, offering guests a bespoke luxury lifestyle of their choice.
  • Amaala is anchored around three pillars: Wellness, healthy living and sports; art and culture; and sea, sun and lifestyle. Each of these elements is being developed to world-class standards to attract visitors from around the world.
  • The resort will be developed over three sites within the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Natural Reserve on the northwestern coast of Saudi Arabia. 
  • The development will cover an area of more than 3,800 sq km and will target more than 2,500, hotel keys and 700 residential villas, apartments and estate homes, plus over 200 high-end retail establishments with an eclectic mix of galleries, ateliers, artisan workshops and bespoke retail shops supported by a wide range of international and local signature dining venues.

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He added: “The new projects are implemented by many ministries and agencies, and their number has reached 151 projects with a total value exceeding SR11 billion ($2.9 billion), in addition to the private and public projects of the Public Investment Fund (NEOM, the Red Sea and Amaala), which are estimated at hundreds of billions of riyals.”
The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage owns 11 of the projects worth SR98 million; the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs owns 69 projects worth SR757 million; the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture owns 21 projects worth SR1.5 billion; the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources owns two projects for the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities worth SR46 million and three projects for the electricity department worth SR5 billion; the Ministry of Housing owns two projects worth SR408 million; the Ministry of Education owns 11 projects, six of which are educational projects and five for the University of Tabuk, worth SR1.6 billion; the Ministry of Transport owns 16 projects worth SR1.6 billion; and the General Authority of Ports owns 18 projects at a total value of SR876 million.
The king arrived in the Tabuk region on Monday night, where he was received by the crown prince, Interior Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif, Cultural Minister Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan, and Tabuk Gov. Prince Fahd bin Sultan.
The king also pardoned prisoners in the region jailed on financial charges. The order applies to those with debts of SR1 million or less, who are not involved in criminal cases. In addition, the government will pay off the debts of those who have been proven to be unable to repay them.