Letter from a pianist correspondent now living in Palestine

June 18, 2013

In Blog

Dear Dr. Finkelstein,

Good afternoon from Ramallah, where I’m staying for the next weeks teaching and performing (piano) as part of a music festival organized by Al Kamandjati Association.
It’s been a while, but we have corresponded here and there and met in person a few times. I’m the Juilliard pianist who has read all your books (and watched a Youtube video or two). I thought I would shoot you an email since I can’t help but think how your work has inspired me, and how I wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t spent all those hours in the library. I know you can’t come to Israel or the Territories any more, so I thought I would attach a few pictures to remind you of its beauty. One is a view from my flat in Ramallah, the other a picture of me when I visited Hebron on Saturday. The weather is nice, nicer than New York.
The kids at the music school here in Ramallah are really fun and talented. I’ve also met some other youngsters (at 26, I think I am officially allowed to use this term). I’m attaching a picture of Taq Win (spelling?), an adorable 7 year old I met at Amari refugee camp yesterday. She confiscated my iPhone from me and took approximately 500 pictures (99% of which are blurry). In consequence, I took a picture of her jamming with the band (i.e. playing random notes while the band rehearsed), and another of her giving me my first Arabic lesson.
I hope to write and blog about my experiences here, and share them with others when I return. Not all is cute and fun like Taq Win, for example I took a stroll through Shuhada Street (the “ghost town”) in H2 of Hebron while I was visiting. Not a very optimistic experience.
All the best to you. Stay in touch.

Hebron Behind me

Taqwin Jamming

Taqwin Lesson

View from my window