Syrian ‘piano genius’ teenager in Turkey dreaming of New York with right notes
Syrian piano prodigy Tambi Asaad. DHA PhotoA Syrian teenager who fled the country’s civil war in 2012 and settled in Turkey now has hopes of studying music in New York, thanks to his prodigious piano talent and a series of coincidences that has given his music a wider platform.
Tambi Asaad, a 16-year-old Syrian refugee who ended up in the northwestern Turkish province of Bursa with his family, had his talent discovered at a regular music center in the city.
The fortunes of the teenager, who had been playing the accordion during special "Caucasian nights" in the city. Despite the fact that he had never played piano before, a Russian piano teacher at the center, Elena Yudina, noticed Asaad’s "genius" potential after just one lesson, and volunteered to pay all the costs of his education.
After a year of intense studying, Asaad swept championships in several prestigious international piano competitions in Moscow and St. Petersburg, outpacing his competitors, most of whom started their music careers around 10 years before him.
In May, Asaad had a chance to be heard by the head of the Long Island Conservatory Piano Department, Tamara Poddubnaya, in Istanbul.
Poddubnaya described him as “an incredible talent" and expressed her wish to admit him to the conservatory in New York. She promised to support him in pursuing his dream, but asked him to earn his international degrees before applying to the school.
Yudina and the head of the music center in Bursa are now seeking funds to send him to competitions across Europe and the United States.