The Pianist from Syria

A Memoir

Translated by Emanuel Bergmann

About The Book

An astonishing but true account of a pianist’s escape from war-torn Syria to Germany offers a deeply personal perspective on the most devastating refugee crisis of this century.

Aeham Ahmad was born a second-generation refugee—the son of a blind violinist and carpenter who recognized Aeham's talent and taught him how to play piano and love music from an early age.

When his grandparents and father were forced to flee Israel and seek refuge from the Israeli–Palestinian conflict ravaging their home, Aeham’s family built a life in Yarmouk, an unofficial camp to more than 160,000 Palestinian refugees in Damascus. They raised a new generation in Syria while waiting for the conflict to be resolved so they could return to their homeland. Instead, another fight overtook their asylum. Their only haven was in music and in each other.

Forced to leave his family behind, Aeham sought out a safe place for them to call home and build a better life, taking solace in the indestructible bond between fathers and sons to keep moving forward. Heart-wrenching yet ultimately full of hope, and told in a raw and poignant voice, The Pianist from Syria is a gripping portrait of one man’s search for a peaceful life for his family and of a country being torn apart as the world watches in horror.

About The Author

© Gaby Gerster

Aeham Ahmad was born in Yarmouk, a suburb of Damascus. His father encouraged his musical talent, and at age seven, he began piano lessons at the Arab Institute in Damascus. He later studied music education in Homs and worked as a music teacher. In 2015, he fled to Germany because of the war in Syria. Today. he lives with his family in Wiesbaden and gives concerts all over Europe. In December 2015, Ahmad was awarded the International Beethoven Prize for Human Rights. The Pianist from Syria is his first book.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atria Books (February 12, 2019)
  • Length: 288 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781501173516

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Raves and Reviews

"A deeply moving account of one man's struggle to survive while bringing hope to thousands through his music."— Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Well-rendered and affecting, this is a fine delineation of the plight of an unwitting protagonist in the Syrian conflagration." —Kirkus Reviews

"A unique and affecting viewpoint on life in Syria before and in the midst of extreme violence."— Booklist

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