St. Louis Symphony horn player helps 16-year-old Syrian refugee connect with music

Posted on: November 28, 2016

“A young Syrian refugee received an early Christmas gift of music last week, courtesy of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and associate principal horn Thomas Jöstlein,” writes Sarah Bryan Miller in Saturday’s (11/26) St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “The orchestra’s Music without Boundaries program provides free transportation and admission to performances during the season and specialized orchestral outreach…. Maureen Byrne, the orchestra’s director of community programs, says they brought about 60 people who live in the Hodiamont Apartments in northwest St. Louis—people from Syria, Somalia and Congo—to the Halloween family concert. Among them were the Khreadens, a middle-class family late of Damascus, now living in St. Louis after five years in a refugee camp in Jordan.” The son, 16-year-old Ahmad, a student at the New American Academy, had taken some piano lessons in Jordan and hoped to take up the instrument again but Byrne did not have one. “Enter Jöstlein, whose family happened to have a full-size Casio keyboard … Michael Gandlmayr, the SLSO’s education and youth orchestra programs manager” found a translator and piano instructor in Karam Khaddour, a medical student who is also a pianist. “ ‘It kind of brings the whole Thanksgiving spirit to life,’ Byrne says.”

Posted November 28, 2016