Women flock to join top violinist’s new Saudi music institute 

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Egyptian violinist Mahmoud Sorour has opened a music institute in the Kingdom.
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Mahmoud Sorour with General Entertainment Authority Chairman Turki Al-Sheikh.
Updated 27 January 2019
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Women flock to join top violinist’s new Saudi music institute 

RIYADH: Popular Egyptian violinist Mahmoud Sorour has added another string to his bow by opening a new music institute in Saudi Arabia.
Hundreds of the artist’s fans have already signed up to learn how to play the wooden string instrument at the first dedicated center of its kind for Riyadh.
Sorour said he had been overwhelmed by the level of interest shown by Saudis, especially among women.
The musician, who has become a major star in Saudi Arabia after taking part in concerts staged throughout the Kingdom during 2018, said he was amazed at how many women wanted to register for the institute with some even hoping to make a career out of playing the violin.
Business analyst, Mariam Al-Hazmi, said she could not wait to sign up to join Sorour’s classes. “I started learning to play the violin at home as a hobby, but I didn’t have very good learning resources and couldn’t find any music teachers in Riyadh to train me. This is a dream come true.” she said.
At the request of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Sorour aims to train 50 Saudi violinists to a level that will allow them to perform at a new opera house in Jeddah, due to be completed by 2022. And Al-Hazmi would love to become one of those violinists.
“I had never considered making a career out of playing the violin, but now there is the institute it becomes a real possibility. I can see myself part of the violin band playing at the new opera house three years from now,” she said.
Noura S., a Saudi art education PhD candidate, also expressed her excitement about the new institute. 
“I will definitely register once I graduate and return from the US, especially if they have evening classes that do not interfere with my job,” she said.
 She added that playing the violin was not as easy as it looked. “Violinists dazzle me, especially when they dance while playing the instrument. I feel it creates an intimacy between the musician and the violin, and that is why I want to learn to play. It would be nice to one day play as a professional in public.”
Sorour said he got the idea to open the institute in the capital from his adoring followers. 
“A lot of people were saying how much they loved my music, and they started asking me through social media to teach them how to play the violin,” he told Arab News.
As a result, he decided to set up the music institute in Riyadh, with support and sponsorship from the Saudi Arabian government.
Sorour already hopes to expand the project by teaching instruments such as the flute, oud and piano and to run singing and songwriting classes. 
Meanwhile, he said that more than 250 people had registered to join the institute and he expected that number to double.  
The institute is open for all age groups, but Sorour is particularly looking for budding talent aged between 10 to 20 years old. 
Sorour expressed his thanks to the Kingdom’s General Authority for Entertainment and the General Culture Authority for their support in establishing the institute.
He added that plans were in the pipeline for his music institute in Riyadh to collaborate with a similar venture at Taif University.
 


Saudi Arabia to impose fines for breach of new public decency laws

Updated 9 min 57 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia to impose fines for breach of new public decency laws

  • The list of offenses has been designed to respect the values, customs, traditions and culture of Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: People breaking any of 10 new rules on public behavior in Saudi Arabia face being fined up to SR5,000 ($1,333). A list of offenses relating to breaches of public decency came into force throughout the Kingdom on Saturday.

Cabinet members last month approved the regulations which aim to uphold the values, principles and identity of Saudi society in public places such as parks, beaches, malls, hotels and restaurants.

Shoura Council member Dr. Muadi Al-Madhhab told MBC channel: “The Kingdom isn’t the only country to implement such regulations. Many countries already have them, and the regulations apply to citizens and expatriates.”

With rising tourism, he said that the 10 provisions would help individuals to be aware of how they should behave in the presence of visitors to the country.

The list has been designed to respect the values, customs, traditions and culture of Saudi Arabia, and the country’s interior minister will work with the chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) and other relevant authorities to administer and enforce the rules and where necessary serve penalties.

BACKGROUND

The list of offenses has been designed to respect the values, customs, traditions and culture of Saudi Arabia.

Each of the 10 regulations will carry a corresponding fine that will be issued by the minister. Under the rules, individuals will be expected to adhere to respectful dress codes and avoid taking photos or using phrases that might offend public decency.

The list covers graffiti and demolition of public property or transport unless authorized by Saudi authorities. Verbal and physical acts of violence or conduct that causes damage, fear or is deemed to be a threat to public safety will also form part of the crackdown.

Legal consultant Dimah Al-Sharif told Arab News: “I believe that the sanctions will play a major role in forcing the community to respect and commit to the regulations.”

She said the Ministry of Interior and SCTH could link the list of decency offenses to the Absher app in the same way as traffic crimes. “This would ensure that individuals treat the issue of public decency seriously and responsibly.” Anyone breaking one of the bylaws for a second time within the same year will face having their fine doubled.