News Column

Lebanese pianist delights airport crowd in Prague

August 10, 2014

By Hashem Osseiran, The Daily Star, Beirut, Lebanon

Aug. 10--BEIRUT -- Born out a simple urge to play, a Lebanese man's impromptu piano concert at the Prague airport has struck a chord, garnering nearly 900,000 views on YouTube since it was posted Thursday.

"I spent 12 days in Europe without playing music, so I missed playing and became very excited about it," Maan Hamadeh told The Daily Star Sunday. "While we were looking for the gate to board our next flight, my friend stopped me and he pointed toward a piano, and so like a baby who has found his mother after getting lost, I ran to it."

Passengers perked up on their seats eying Hamadeh as he played attention-grabbing variations of Ludwig van Beethoven's "Fur Elise" followed by famous scores from the blockbuster movie "Titanic."

Hamadeh refashioned the well-known Beethoven classic with a quicker tempo, as well as note variations that gave the song a strong Arabic feel.

"I have previously tried the Arabic remix once for 'Fur Elise' at home, but the other remixes I played were [thought up] on the spot," Hamadeh said.

Following the Beethovian beat, Hamadeh played Celine Dion's "Titanic" theme song, "My Heart will Go On."

Two minutes in to his performance, the crowd was already clapping, while others pulled out their phones and videotaped the spontaneous performance.

"First people where indifferent listening to a normal 'Fur Elise' version, but after I started with my remixes, they were very engaged," he said.

One girl seated beside Hamadeh, who was completely absorbed in a book she was reading, put down the paperback and dedicated her attention to the piano player's whimsical orchestrations.

"I would love to see pianos in all public place, especially those where the waiting factor is present," Hamadeh said.

Hamadeh has been playing piano for 21 years and is originally a keyboard player and a one-man show.


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Source: Daily Star, The (Beirut, Lebanon)

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