Aeham Ahmad

palestine / syria

Defiant pianist finds joy from heartbreak

The piano is arguably the musical instrument that can express the widest range of emotions. Joy and rapture, loneliness and grief – it plays the music of the human heart. And in the hands of Aeham Ahmad, it plays the music of this young musician’s tumultuous life story. Born to a Palestinian family in the Yarmuk refugee camp in Syria, his musical prowess saw him study at a conservatoire in Damascus, although a shrapnel injury to his right hand shattered his dreams of becoming a classical pianist. Aeham’s subsequent exile in Germany (albeit without his wife and children) has at least allowed him to resume his love affair with his favoured instrument. Previously inclined to play in the distressed streets of Yarmuk in contravention of a ban on music, Aeham saw his piano burned to ashes in front of him by Islamists. “The piano was my friend. It is as if they killed my friend.”