Culture

Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh feel very lucky to be able to do what he likes

‘I think it's the story of anybody who just followed his passion,’ says Azmeh

26.06.2022
Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh feel very lucky to be able to do what he likes

By Hilal Ustuk

ISTANBUL

Kinan Azmeh said he loves playing the clarinet, composing and is very lucky to be able to do what he likes to do.

“I don't know if that's a unique story. I think it's the story of anybody who just followed his passion,” he said.

The successful Syrian artist, who took the stage with his band, Cityband, at the 50th Istanbul Music Festival, told Anadolu Agency that he has had an ordinary life.

The Damascus-born Azmeh said he started playing the violin at 5 years old and switched to the clarinet at 6. “It was additional homework in the first five years but then I fell in love with it as people do.”

Explaining that he was moved by what he played when he started to use an instrument, he said: “When I went to University I did a double major in music and electrical engineering. When I finished both, I found myself applying to graduate schools in music only and that took me to New York. And I did my masters and my doctorate in New York.”

“New York does like what beautiful big cities do -- I mean similar to Istanbul. It sucks people in and so I'm now still in New York 22 years later,” he said. “It is such a privilege to be able to self-express in front of strangers at first knowing that, at the end of the concert, these people will no longer be strangers.”

Touching on Syrian artists, he said: “I am very happy to know that there are so many Syrian artists among other artists from other nationalities who are able to be on stage and use the stage as a platform to self-express. If you think of self-expression, there are so many people in the world who do not have that luxury and I feel incredibly lucky to be able to use my instrument to express what I feel.”

He noted that it is hard to surprise Turkish music lovers because they are very curious and very aware of music.

“I always find Istanbul to be an incredibly open city. It's people are incredibly welcoming. I love every time I am here. I feel it is an extension of home. Also, when I play in a place, it's like planting a tree. When you plant a tree somewhere, it becomes part of your home. Even though I'm not Turkish and I haven't lived in Istanbul, I feel some kind of homecoming,” he said.

*Writing by Seda Sevencan


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