Young Afghan pianist makes his mark via YouTube and Chopin

Posted on: January 27, 2016

On Tuesday (1/26) at NPR’s “Morning Edition,” Renee Montagne profiles 18-year-old pianist Elham Fanoos, currently a student at Hunter College in Manhattan, “a long way from his home in Afghanistan….. His father encouraged him to play an international instrument, like the piano…. He especially loved hearing [Vladimir] Horowitz play a very specific recording of Chopin.” Fanoos enrolled in the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, which opened in 2010. But following threats from militants, “Fanoos had to go elsewhere to practice…. Kabul’s most luxurious hotel had a piano in a lobby that was seldom used, so Elham decided that was where he would play. ‘I tried to flood the hall with the sound of Chopin,’ he says. When he did, security guards rushed in with weapons. But after a minute, Fanoos says, they calmed down. His impromptu performance led to a formal concert for the diplomatic community in Kabul. And soon after, he embarked on a mission: to enroll in a music academy in America…. Says Elham, “I wanted the world to have more Afghan pianists…. I want to show the new face of Afghanistan, the positive face of Afghanistan, who can really do something for the world.” The article includes YouTube clips of Fanoos’s performances from Afghanistan.

Posted January 27, 2016