More than £400 was donated to bring music to thousands of Syrian children displaced in refugee camps in Turkey and Lebanon after a concert organised by Uckfield Music Club last week.
Nicholas Riyad, who was described in 2012, by International Piano Magazine, as Syria’s leading young pianist, made an appeal at the end of his performance on behalf of the Mariela Shaker Music for Children refugee project.
He said Mariela, a violinist from Aleppo, Syria, would like to direct music workshops for Syrian children in refugee camps in Turkey and Lebanon.
He quoted Mariela – who was honoured at the White House and named as a Champion of Change for World Refugees in 2015 – saying: “These children have been exposed to a number of extremely inhumane and harsh scenes, and were forced to abandon their former lives and to flee their homelands in their struggle to survive the war.
“Together, let’s help these children to forget the war for a while, and give them the chance to touch and taste the beauty of music. We need to return a smile to their faces and to reinvigorate a sense of joy in their lives.
“It would be great if we could in fact convey to these children the choice of carrying a musical instrucment versus that of carrying a weapon.”
NicholasRiyad, who has won numerous international prizes and awards, made his first appearance as a soloist with an orchestra at the age of ten in Aleppo. Since then, he has performed with many orchestras including the London Chamber Orchestra at Cadogan Hall, Young Musician Symphony Orchestra at St John’s Smith Square, the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra at the opening of the new Damascus Opera House.
He has given solo recitals in many prestigious venues in London, including the Royal Albert Hall, Cadogan Hall, Wigmore Hall, St Martin-in-the-Fields, and St James’s Piccadilly.
Last week he played the music of Bach, Beethoven, Ravel, Scarlatti, Chopin and Scirabin, at St Margaret’s Church, Buxted Park, Buxted.
• The next Uckfield Music Club concert will be held in association with the Uckfield Festival on Thursday, July 21, at St Margaret’s Church when The Frith Piano Quartet with John Tattersdill, double bass, will play a programme of works by Hummel, Schumann and Schubert.