Syrian refugee pianist is awarded Beethoven prize

Syrian refugee pianist is awarded Beethoven prize


norman lebrecht

December 21, 2015

Ayham al-Ahmed, 27, played on in a Palestinian camp outside Damascus until ISIS shelling made life impossible. In September, he fled to Germany.

This weekend the classically trained pianist was awarded the International Beethoven Prize in Bonn.

DW report here.




  • RW2013 says:

    Was his teacher on the jury?

  • Andrew says:

    Hi Norman, the pianist is Palestinian, not Syrian. If he were Syrian he would never have found himself in Yarmouk camp (not just a “Palestinian camp”, but a Palestinian refugee camp, for Palestinian refugees). Like many in Yarmouk, Ayham al-Ahmed is of a family originally from towns and villages around the Galilee that were depopulated by force – and most later destroyed – in May 1948. Benny Morris (no friend of the Palestinians) is particularly good on this shameful and brutal period of recent history, which is the root of the tragedy in Yarmouk.