Palmusic UK are pleased to welcome a new group of Palestinian students who have arrived in the UK to pursue their musical careers. Their presence here was funded by the generous support of many of our supporters, so we conducted interviews with each one of them to bring them a bit closer to you. Hopefully you will get to meet all of them in person when they perform in the UK.
Palmusic UK: Tell us a little bit about you, where you come from and what you do?
Tibah Saad: My name is Tibah Saad, I’m Palestinian from Maghar, a small village in the Galilee. Music is my passion and I play the cello and sing. I’m a member of the Galilee quartet, formed by my brothers and me; Omar, violist, finished his bachelor degree in Italy and he is now going to pursue his masters in Scotland. Mostafa, violinist, started his bachelor degree in Russia. I, the cellist of the family, am going to start my bachelor degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. And Gandhi, violinist, is finishing secondary school to later pursue a degree in music. We hope to meet together to study as a quartet in a few years from now.
Palmusic UK: Why did you decide to apply for this scholarship?
Tibah Saad: Studying in the UK is very expensive, especially for international students, and I needed financial support in order to be able to pursue my bachelor degree in Glasgow.
Palmusic UK: How did you learn about Palmusic UK?
Tibah Saad: I’m a member of the Palestine Youth Orchestra. We had a tour in the UK in the summer of 2016 and were very lucky to have Plamusic UK as a sponsor of the tour. I got to meet Ms Zina Papageorgiou and Professor Wissam Boustany from Palmusic UK. They were very kind and explained a lot about Palmusic UK and how they support Palestinian musicians studying in the UK.
Palmusic UK: Is this your first time away from home?
I’ve travelled before, but only for short periods. This time is going to be my first time actually living away.
Palmusic UK: What are the things that you are looking forward to the most?
Tibah Saad: Everything! From being surrounded by music and all kinds of art, to growing as an individual independently.
Palmusic UK: What do you think will be the biggest challenges for you being away from home?
Tibah Saad: Everything, although it is what I’m looking forward to the most, but it’s all new to me. A big city, a different weather (here it is! The biggest challenge of all!), and a very different atmosphere from the one I’m living right now. It’s going to be a huge change, and that’s a big challenge for me, but I believe this change will only make me grow, and that’s the most important thing to me at this point of my life.
Palmusic UK: Do you think that this experience will have a profound effect on your life?
Tibah Saad: I believe it will, in every way there is. As a musician for sure, but it’s also very important to mention the effect it will have on my life as a woman. What I have seen so far in the UK when it comes to women taking important roles in their society made me really want to see the same happen in my society as well. One thing I will never forget is the first time I saw a woman conducting. It was with the Palestine Youth Orchestra (PYO). I was not a member yet; my brother Mostafa had joined the orchestra for the first time so we went to see the concert with my parents in Amman, Jordan. I can never forget that concert. I was not used to seeing women leading, and then suddenly I was watching a whole orchestra being conducted by a woman. I’m talking about the amazing conductor Sian Edwards, who is considered one of the most important conductors in the world!
Every time I see women, like Sian, leading, taking important roles, whether in art, science, politics or any other thing, I feel more hopeful about change. But only waiting for that change to happen in my society is not enough for me. I want to take part; I want to be an example for others.
Palmusic UK: In what ways do you think will this experience influence your development?
Tibah Saad: In all ways, mainly musically, but I believe it will affect everything.
Palmusic UK: What are your hopes and wishes for the future in terms of your career?
Tibah Saad: I want to become the best cellist I can be; I don’t know what will follow after that but I’m hopeful it will be good. I have my cello, my singing, our quartet, the Palestine Youth Orchestra and many opportunities. One thing I will not forget, is supporting music education in Palestine. I hope to take part in spreading music all around here.