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

1 / 2
Egyptian violinist Mahmoud Sorour has opened a music institute in the Kingdom.
2 / 2
Mahmoud Sorour with General Entertainment Authority Chairman Turki Al-Sheikh.
Updated 27 January 2019
0

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 plays host to major Indonesian tourism campaign

Updated 34 min 12 sec ago
0

Saudi Arabia plays host to major Indonesian tourism campaign

  • More than 165,000 Saudis visited the Southeast Asian country in 2018, and officials there are aiming to increase that number to 200,000 as part of a global visitor target of 20 million for this year
  • Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago, with more than 17,000 islands famed for their beaches, wildlife and natural beauty

JEDDAH: Tourism chiefs have been taking part in a major five-day Saudi campaign to help promote Indonesia as a top international holiday destination.
More than 165,000 Saudis visited the Southeast Asian country in 2018, and officials there are aiming to increase that number to 200,000 as part of a global visitor target of 20 million for this year.
From Feb. 11-15, the Indonesian Tourism Ministry has been working with its Consulate General in Jeddah to run a series of events in the Kingdom in a bid to boost the country’s tourist attractions.
Seventeen agencies representing Indonesia’s hotel, airline and travel industries participated in a business get-together with local Saudi tour operators, and around 70 prominent media figures were invited to the Pullman Hotel in Jeddah for a day of briefings on key Indonesian visitor destinations.
The last three days of the promotional program saw the Tourism Ministry and officials from top local destinations, take part in the Jeddah International Travel and Tourism Exhibition (JTTX), held at the Hilton Hotel.
Indonesia was one of the main sponsors of the event which has now been running for nine years.
Mohamad Hery Saripudin, the consul-general of Indonesia in Jeddah, said numerous innovative promotional breakthroughs had been made toward attracting more Saudi tourists to his country.
Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago, with more than 17,000 islands famed for their beaches, wildlife and natural beauty.
Garuda, the national airline of Indonesia, has helped with the running of familiarization trips for journalists to several tourist hotspots, and other initiatives have seen free Indonesian language courses being offered to Saudis and expatriates.
R. Sigit Witjaksono, the director of tourism marketing for South and Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa, said Indonesia aimed to play host to 20 million visitors from throughout the world during 2019.
He noted that Indonesia welcomed 165,862 Saudi visitors in 2018, the highest total of any country in the Middle East.
As well as its natural delights, Indonesia is Islam-friendly, having thousands of mosques and offering products which are Shariah-compliant.