Afghanistan teen makes it to Interlochen with help from Philadelphia Orchestra trumpeter

Posted on: October 11, 2016

“Although Philadelphia Orchestra trumpeter David Bilger has played on stage for thousands, his most impressive performance happens his own basement, for an audience of one,” reports Steve Hartman in a Friday (10/7) story on CBS TV. “For more than a year, Bilger has been mentoring 17-year-old Baset Azizi. Baset lives 7,000 miles away in Kabul, Afghanistan. The kid found Bilger on Facebook, and got his attention by tooting his own horn. ‘It started off saying, “I am the best trumpet player in Afghanistan—because there are only two.” And I was immediately taken by him,’ Bilger said. … They worked together over the Internet until eventually Baset got accepted into the prestigious Interlochen Center for the Arts high school near Traverse City, Michigan…. In Afghanistan … ‘They don’t want music, no,’ Baset said. He risked his own safety to play the instrument he loves…. Bilger not only mentored Baset, but he helped raise more than $30,000 to pay for his schooling. Last month, Bilger flew in to meet Baset face to face. Baset still struggled for the words, but the two he finally did come up with, ‘thank you,’ were more than ample.”

Posted October 11, 2016

Pictured: Philadelphia Orchestra trumpeter David Bilger (left) with Baset Azizi, a 17-year-old trumpet student from Afghanistan