In its first-ever edition of the Malek Jandali International Youth Piano Competition, which took place last week, Tunisian Selim Khamassi brought home the second prize.
Called the new Tunisian prodigy, the 15-year-old pianist won third prize at the International Piano Festival and Competition ClaviCologne when he was 11 years old. He also won third prize at a competition organised at Carnegie Hall in 2014.
In its inaugural year, the Malek Jandali International Youth Piano Competition invited pianists who are under 18 from all around the world to participate.
Among the works performed, the pianists were asked to prepare a music piece composed by Jandali and titled 'Eid' from his famed album Echoes From Ugarit.
The grand prize winner of this year's competition is Polish-US national Antoni Kleczek. The winner receives a cash prize of $500 and is offered an opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City alongside Jandali.
Jandali is a German-born, Syrian-American composer and pianist. His outstanding recordings and extensive concert tours receive glowing praise.
"His musical career as a concert pianist began in 1988 after winning the first prize at the National Young Artists competition, followed by the 1997 'Outstanding Musical Performer Award' in the United States," reads the pianist's website.
Jandali was the recipient of the 2011 Freedom of Expression award in Los Angeles, and was recognised in New York City with the 2012 Arab-American Cultural Achievement Award. He was honoured with the 2013 GUSI International Peace Prize for his ongoing world tour The Voice of the Free Syrian Children and his dedication to peace and humanitarian causes.
Jandali is also the recipient of the 2014 Global Music Humanitarian Award, and in 2015 the Carnegie Corporation of New York honoured him as one of the Great Immigrants along with Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman.
"His prolific compositions integrate Middle-Eastern modes into Western classical forms and harmony. They range from chamber music to large-scale orchestral works including concertos for violin and piano."
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