On 6 February 2022 Iyad Sughayer played a concert at St George’s Bristol in aid of PalMusic UK. With the kind agreement of Iyad and the composer, Helen Ottaway, we are able to share with you the first piece from that performance, Levantina. We hope you enjoy it.

A message from our Chair, Countess of Sandwich

Thank you to Iyad Sughayer for the most wonderful, glorious concert.

I want to tell you more about PalMusic, its programme this year and its mission. PalMusic is so pleased to be coming out of lockdown and looking ahead to more concerts and activities. Our Long Distance Learning (LDL) music programme to Gaza is up and running, the Converging Cultures Masterclass weekend is due in May and a virtual summer concert in June; fruits of our online auction last year are concerts by Steven Isserlis, the Maggie Cole Trio and our fellow trustee and flautist Wissam Boustani. Further, Palestinian events are taking place in Brighton on 4 June and 25 June, and 12 young Palestinians from the ESNCM will join the International camp in Northamptonshire in late July. Also if you happen to be in Turkey in July you could go to a touring concert of the Palestine Youth Orchestra.

I’ve taken over from two distinguished previous chairs. I want to thank John Cope, Lord Cope of Berkeley, who has been devotedly with PalMusic since it began ten years ago in 2012. In 2012 Lena Saleh, a trustee with very close ties with the ESNCM Ramallah Conservatoire approached her friend Usama Tuqan to suggest setting up a charity to support and be the UK friends of the ESNCM. Usama approached John Cope who, enthusiastic about it from day one, has been totally dedicated to it ever since. His involvement has been irreplaceable, his experience and his ability to get things done tremendous and we have all been very lucky. In particular, the young Palestinian musicians and the conservatoire have hugely benefited.

John, the first chairman, saw the charity through its teething stages. He retired only about three years ago handing over to Heba Zaphiriou Zarafi, but has continued very active as a patron. Two years ago he was ill but recovered and been seen since on Facetime driving his special 1934 or 35 Bentley. He and his wife Djamela now live in Bath, John having retired from the HoL. He had a distinguished career as MP for South Gloucestershire and then Northavon from 1974 to 1997 with a number of ministerial positions and charitable activities. He was made a life peer after the 1997 election. He and Djamela are a wonderful complimentary couple. Djamela comes from a family with strong roots in Jerusalem through the family charity of the Spafford Centre for disadvantaged Palestinian children at the Damascus Gate by the Old City and through her Vester family.

PalMusic has been very lucky to have John as chairman, treasurer and wise counsel. We are lucky and hope he will continue to keep PalMusic under his wing.

The second distinguished chairman was Heba Zaphiriou-Zarifi, a well-known Jungian psychologist. She really raised the profile of PalMusic , networked effectively and encouraged donations to support young musicians

Please support PalMusic by renting Iyad’s concert via vimeo and buying gifts on our website and donating.

Thank you all for your continuing support of PalMusic UK.

Iyad Sughayer’s programme

The programme:
Helen Ottaway Levantina (world premiere)
Haydn Piano Sonata in F Major Hob XVI:23
Sibelius 6 Impromptus Op 5
Khachaturian Masquerade Suite

About PalMusic

PalMusic UK improves the lives of young Palestinians through music. PalMusic UK nurtures links between Palestinian and British musicians, building bridges, enriching lives and creating life-changing opportunities.We are the UK ambassadors for the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music in Palestine which provides musical education of the highest quality to young Palestinians.

Support our work: https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/19820

You can find out more about our story here

About Iyad Sughayer

Chosen as ‘One to Watch’ by International Piano Magazine, Iyad’s debut album – Khachaturian Piano Works for BIS Records was released in November 2019 to critical acclaim. The album was described by Gramophone as ‘exhilarating and delivered with perfect clarity’ and ‘an outstanding debut’ by BBC Music Magazine.

In 2021 Iyad was a prize-winner at the Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) International Auditions. At the opening of the 2021/22 season he recorded his second CD for BIS with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Andrew Litton including Khachaturian’s Piano Concerto and Masquerade.

As soloist Iyad has appeared with leading orchestras including the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Manchester Camerata, BBC NOW, European Union Chamber Orchestra, the Cairo and Amman Symphony Orchestras. He has given recitals at Wigmore Hall, Bridgewater Hall & Stoller Hall in Manchester (broadcast by BBC Radio 3), Leeds Town Hall, the Laeiszhalle (Hamburg), Festival Musique D’Abord (France), Steinway Hall (New York), Castleton Festival (Virginia) and Kings Place in London, among many others.

Recent highlights include an invitation to contribute to the BBC Arabic documentary ‘London Lockdown’, in which he took part as a character and recorded the soundtrack for the music. This season he gives recitals across the UK, at Dubai Opera House and in Jordan.

Born in Amman, the Jordanian-Palestinian pianist, Iyad studied at Chetham’s School of Music, the Royal Northern College of Music and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance where he won the College’s prestigious Gold Medal.

He completed his International Artist Diploma at the RNCM in 2019 with Murray McLachlan, Martino Tirimo and Graham Scott and in the same year became a City Music Foundation Artist. In 2021 he was made an Associate of the Royal Northern College of Music (ARNCM).

Iyad Sughayer is an inaugural YCAT Concordia Artist.

He captures the music’s essence with such a close sense of recreative identity that it feels on occasion as though he could be composing it as he goes along. An outstanding debut BBC Music Magazine / Khachaturian: Piano Works CD (BIS
Records) / March 2020

exhilarating and delivered with perfect clarity … It’s a release that leaves one eager to hear Sughayer in other repertory while eloquently arguing that Khachaturian’s piano music deserves re-evaluation as something more than teaching pieces.Gramophone / Khachaturian: Piano Works CD (BIS Records) / February 2020

…this Jordanian-Palestinian player shines, International Piano Magazine / Khachaturian: Piano Works CD (BIS Records) / February 2020

…his wonderfully confident pianism unfolds with a sense of ease, Piano Journal / Khachaturian: Piano Works CD (BIS Records) / December 2019