URGENT: US PPI declines by 0.2% in May    Egypt secures $130m in non-refundable USAID grants    HSBC named Egypt's Best Bank for Diversity, Inclusion by Euromoney    Singapore offers refiners carbon tax rebates for '24, '25    Egypt's CBE offers EGP 4b zero coupon t-bonds    G7 agrees on $50b Ukraine loan from frozen Russian assets    EU dairy faces China tariff threat    Over 12,000 Egyptian pilgrims receive medical care during Hajj: Health Ministry    Egypt's rise as global logistics hub takes centre stage at New Development Bank Seminar    Blinken addresses Hamas ceasefire counterproposal, future governance plans for Gaza    MSMEDA, EABA sign MoU to offer new marketing opportunities for Egyptian SMEs in Africa    Egypt's President Al-Sisi, Equatorial Guinea's Vice President discuss bilateral cooperation, regional Issues    Egypt's Higher Education Minister pledges deeper cooperation with BRICS at Kazan Summit    Gaza death toll rises to 37,164, injuries hit 84,832 amid ongoing Israeli attacks    Egypt's Water Research, Space Agencies join forces to tackle water challenges    BRICS Skate Cup: Skateboarders from Egypt, 22 nations gather in Russia    Pharaohs Edge Out Burkina Faso in World Cup qualifiers Thriller    Egypt's EDA, Zambia sign collaboration pact    Madinaty Sports Club hosts successful 4th Qadya MMA Championship    Amwal Al Ghad Awards 2024 announces Entrepreneurs of the Year    Egyptian President asks Madbouly to form new government, outlines priorities    Egypt's President assigns Madbouly to form new government    Egypt and Tanzania discuss water cooperation    Grand Egyptian Museum opening: Madbouly reviews final preparations    Madinaty's inaugural Skydiving event boosts sports tourism appeal    Tunisia's President Saied reshuffles cabinet amidst political tension    Instagram Celebrates African Women in 'Made by Africa, Loved by the World' 2024 Campaign    Egypt to build 58 hospitals by '25    Swiss freeze on Russian assets dwindles to $6.36b in '23    Egyptian public, private sectors off on Apr 25 marking Sinai Liberation    Debt swaps could unlock $100b for climate action    Financial literacy becomes extremely important – EGX official    Euro area annual inflation up to 2.9% – Eurostat    BYD، Brazil's Sigma Lithium JV likely    UNESCO celebrates World Arabic Language Day    Motaz Azaiza mural in Manchester tribute to Palestinian journalists    Russia says it's in sync with US, China, Pakistan on Taliban    It's a bit frustrating to draw at home: Real Madrid keeper after Villarreal game    Shoukry reviews with Guterres Egypt's efforts to achieve SDGs, promote human rights    Sudan says countries must cooperate on vaccines    Johnson & Johnson: Second shot boosts antibodies and protection against COVID-19    Egypt to tax bloggers, YouTubers    Egypt's FM asserts importance of stability in Libya, holding elections as scheduled    We mustn't lose touch: Muller after Bayern win in Bundesliga    Egypt records 36 new deaths from Covid-19, highest since mid June    Egypt sells $3 bln US-dollar dominated eurobonds    Gamal Hanafy's ceramic exhibition at Gezira Arts Centre is a must go    Italian Institute Director Davide Scalmani presents activities of the Cairo Institute for ITALIANA.IT platform    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.



An American pianist in Egypt
Published in Daily News Egypt on 18 - 07 - 2008

There's a lot more to the term 'piano recital' than meets the eye. Conveying the intense, technical, yet highly spiritual language hovering between the cords is no easy job. As Mark Damisch demonstrated, it's a skill that takes years to perfect.
The American pianist dazzled audiences at Qubat El-Ghouri with his first performance in Egypt Thursday evening.
"I started playing the organ at the age of four, and then moved on to the piano when I was seven, he said.
By the time Damisch was in his college years, he was playing concerts to raise money for students who wanted to work in legal aid clinics.
So what is it that brings Damisch, an American lawyer and former mayor of his hometown of Northbrook, all the way to Egypt?
"I always wanted to see the Pyramids and Luxor, then I wanted to see Amman and Petra. So that's really how it got going about 15 months ago. We started working on this a long time in advance, Damisch said.
"We first identified what cities we wanted to go to, and we tried to find places that are willing to donate their time or efforts for a good cause.
But Damisch's motivation to visit Egypt goes further than a visit to its monuments and mausoleums. For him, this is a chance to offer Egyptian audiences a taste of American culture, a world away from the brash consumerism imported to the East.
"People don't hear American music, and don't hear about American art, dance or sculpture, Danisch explains. "I don't know much about Egyptian music, but from what I've heard since I've been here, it sounds foreign enough to me that it makes me think: Does American music sound foreign to Arabs and Egyptians?
Damisch, accompanied by his equally gifted daughters, has played all over the world, from China and Japan, to Britain. His concerts are either free, or their proceeds goes straight to charity. Three summers ago, the Damisch family raised $250,000 for cancer research in one night.
"I don't know of anybody else who does what we do, said Damisch.
Despite being a unique phenomenon, Damisch's mission has its roots in British tradition, something quite apt, considering he can trace his own ancestry to 16th century England.
"London has a history of having church concerts in the Christopher Wren churches of downtown London. So the church is free and we're free. I looked around in London for different charities that might be able to spend money for promotion, and whatever they got, they kept, so that's how it got started.
But Damisch's first concerts stretch all the way back to his university years. "It was 1975, and I was 18 years old at the time. I decided I wanted to do concerts throughout Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
The modest audience, who came to listen to Damisch in the magnificent Qubat El-Ghouri hardly compares to the extraordinary receptions Damisch has received in other parts of the world, such as China.
"We performed in China three years ago. They sold 1,000 tickets and raised $150,000 in one night for the Red Cross. At the end of the performance, people were lifting their children up to get the girls' autographs.
But despite the lack of crowds, the intimate audience was equally moved by the Damisch family performance, and, as like Damisch says, these concerts are essentially about bringing people together through the language of music.
After a beautifully melancholic introduction of Chopin, Damisch went on to perform the soulful, dramatic and unmistakably American "Rhapsody in Blue. Performing its lazy rifts and wild polyphonies, with all the vigor and frantic excitement of 1920's United States, Damisch did justice to Gershwin's masterpiece as "the musical kaleidoscope of America.
His daughter, Catherine, a bright 18-year-old with a silky voice, brought out the more romantic side to American culture with her recital of "Shenandoah, a traditional American folk-song. It's a soft, mellifluous song whose lyrics and rhythms conjure up images of the wide Missouri and deep American valleys.
But Damisch's choice of pieces reflected not only what he felt conveyed his home country, but what he saw most in his host nation.
"I picked the 'Appassionata Sonata' this summer, because so much of the Middle East is about passion.
It was unfortunate that his youngest daughter, Alexandra, wasn't feeling up to performing the first movement of Beethoven's "Pathetique Sonata, as I was eager to find out why "it wasn't pathetic, contrary to popular opinion.
However, she did find the strength to take part in the Damisch encore piece. They chose "You've Got a Friend performed in three-part harmony.
Damisch's contribution towards the struggle for peace in the Middle East is about "coming together through music. It's an oft said mantra, but it has a ring of truth; if more people played the piano, perhaps less would go to war.


Clic here to read the story from its source.