In collaboration with the Carl Bechstein Foundation, FEURICH donated 16 pianos to the National Higher Conservatory in Beirut that was severely damaged in the 2020 explosion thus facilitating both music education for kids and professional concerts.
A ray of hope one and a half years after the devastating explosion in the harbour of the Lebanese capital Beirut: the destroyed National Conservatory received six new grand pianos and ten new upright pianos in order to be able to resume both music lessons and concert activities. The aid project, worth a total of 300,000 euros, was initiated by the Viennese association Artists for Children, which was able to win the German Carl Bechstein Foundation as a major donor.
Supporting young musicians all over the world – that is the central concern of the Carl Bechstein Foundation. Music is invaluable for the development of children and young people and is particularly helpful in overcoming traumas such as the inconceivable explosion in the port of Beirut on 4 August 2020. The country’s already weakening economy was struggling with the consequences of the Corona pandemic when the disaster reduced large parts of the city to rubble and brought cultural life to a standstill. 250 schools – including the National Conservatory – were badly damaged or destroyed.
The National Conservatory provides free music lessons for 6,000 children and young people at various locations throughout the country. At the same time, it is home to the Philharmonic Orchestra of Lebanon in Beirut with its 90 professional musicians. Overall, the conservatory is a pillar of Lebanese cultural life. However, it is currently lacking numerous instruments as well as the financial means to procure adequate replacements.
The Austrian Ambassador to Lebanon, Dr. René Amry, was able to mediate successfully: Pascale Ojeil had asked for support in procuring new instruments for the conservatory. This request was heard in Vienna by the artist Derya Öcal (Artists for Children Association) and brought to the attention of the C. Bechstein Centrum Wien, where Managing Director Ernest Bittner was finally able to win the German Carl Bechstein Foundation as a donor. A generous package of brand-new instruments for professional concerts and music lessons was put together.
One C. Bechstein concert grand D 282, five FEURICH grand pianos and ten FEURICH uprights were shipped or flown to Beirut and handed over to the local support association Friends of the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra.
Dr. Walid Moussallem, President of the National Conservatory, stated enthusiastically after the arrival of the instruments: «You have given us an invaluable gift that will now be part of our history and our musical culture. Your precious donation gives us hope and joy at a very dark moment in our history.» Lebanese pianist Abdel Rahman El Bacha, who himself attended the conservatory in his youth, also speaks highly of the Carl Bechstein Foundation’s commitment: «In order for artists to give their best, they need good instruments. I find it invaluable what Bechstein is doing for Lebanon.» El Bacha will give a charity concert at the invitation of the Carl Bechstein Foundation on Tuesday, 22 March 2022, at 7:30 pm in the Ehrbar Saal in Vienna. The programme of the renowned pianist includes works by Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin and others. Proceeds from ticket sales and all other donations will benefit the Friends of the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra of the National Conservatory.
Tickets are available here: