After a long standing ovation, 7-year-old Amira Abouzahra asks innocently if that meant the audience wanted to leave; the half Egyptian-half-Hungarian child is seeing much attention as she gleefully plays the violin.
Published in Ahram Online
Born to an Egyptian father and Hungarian mother, seven-year-old Amira Abouzahra is being raised in Germany where the family lives. As her violin talent develops, she already started garnering important prizes and recognitions from the musical world and local community. The audience received her last performance on 10 May at Laudenbach, Germany, particularly well.
Amira’s interest and development in the field is not accidental, since music is a natural part of the family life. However, although both of her parents, Nóra Emődy and Ahmed Abouzahra, are pianists, the young girl wanted to play cello or violin.
“Amira attended courses introducing her to rhythmic elements before she was three years old and started taking violin lessons when she was four,” Emődy tells Ahram Online.
“The teacher told us that Amira has very elastic hands and a good ear. She learnt notes before learning the alphabet.”
Amira started studying with a Ukrainian teacher residing in Germany adjusting the curriculum according to the personal needs and capabilities of the young violinist. Taking the road of musical endeavour, Amira developed very quickly, soon working on pieces which are challenging for her age, enthusiastically preparing them faster than teacher’s expectations.
From the very first days, Amira seemed to enjoy her 1/8 and then 1/4 violin very much, exploring scales, sounds and consecutive compositions. Giving one to two hours per day to violin, she would join serious practice with elements of fun introduced to her by Emődy accompanying at piano.
In January, Amira’s efforts were rewarded by an important prize she received at the Young Musicians music competition organised nationwide for children who play music. Known across Germany, this year marked the competition’s 50th anniversary and accordingly attracted even more attention. Amira, the youngest contestant, entered the southern region’s solo-violin category for young musicians and her performance of Jean-Baptiste Accolay’s (1845-1910) Violin Concerto in A minor won her the first prize.
Amira’s young age coupled with remarkable talent not only attracts the attention of music professionals but also gained her a larger appreciation from the local audiences. She is continuously being asked to give concerts at several venues, a fact which motivates her and gives her a lot of pleasure. According to Emődy “She loves performing and has no stage fright at all.”
To date, Amira has given more than 20 concerts, while she has been already contacted by international venues outside Germany asking to put them in her upcoming artistic commitments for the year 2014.
Today, Amira’s repertoire comprises of a multitude of works suitable for her age and skills, where she tackles many international classical music composers, including works from Hungary and Egypt. Apart of Vivaldi’s Concerti in G major and E minor, Bach’s Concerto in A minor, Beriot’s in A minor, Seitz’ in G major, Telemann’s Fantasy for solo violin, Carl Bohm’s Perpetuum Mobile, Janschinow’s Mückenschmaus, Sugár’s Vivo and many other known Western compositions, she also performs smaller pieces by the Egyptian composer Aziz El-Shawan (1916 – 1993), such as the Egyptian Dance.
Aziz El-Shawan’s composition was part of Amira’s most recent recital held on 10 May. The violinist participated in a larger event, a live concert organised in Laudenbach, a charity event Sommer Charity for the development of kindergarten children, presented by the community of two cities Laudenbach and Hemsbach. The event included the performance of the well-known German comedian, Franz Kain, as well as the country’s very popular band Söhne Mannheims.
Amira Abouzahra, accompanied by Emődy on piano, performed in the first half of the event, captivating hearts of the large audience with classical music as well as a violin and piano version of Memory from musical Cats by Andrew Lloyd Webber. In the second half, she joined Tino Oac, vocalist from Söhne Mannheims, giving a new dimension to the popular music the band is widely known for.
Though it was a new experience for Amira usually working on classical material, she enjoyed the music, cooperation, and definitely the audience’s enthusiastic reaction.
“It was fun. I wonder only why all the audience stood up when clapping. Did they want to leave?” Amira asked her mother after her successful concert.
As Amira’s successes and popularity rises, she is not only supported by her parents involved in the field, but also local and international professionals are interested in the development of the young talent. Recently she has been awarded a scholarship from the Domhof Stiftung, a foundation looking into young musicians. The foundation offered Amira financial support for one of her weekly violin lessons, an opportunity she might continue to receive until she enters the music academy, should her talent and interest continue leading her in this direction.
Music is a natural part of Amira home’s life. Amira watches her parents as they consider music as fun and responsibility at the same time. Attending many concerts with them, she also sees it as an important culmination of an effort. As such, she seems to embrace the whole musical journey with natural love and spontaneous appreciation, while there is an element of thrill accompanying every new composition she discovers with her violin.
Amira leads a natural life of a young child, with music being an active part of it. It is not awkward that, being a musician, she excels in maths and at times her parents find Amira concentrating on some mathematical equations she finds in children books. She also enjoys playing with her younger sister, attends painting courses, and does some sport activities. Recently she asked her mother to enrol her in a touch-typing course so she can type faster, obviously representing an increasingly important element of the younger generations’ lives. Amira speaks German and Hungarian. She also attends Arabic classes to develop her writing skills and become closer to the culture represented by her father.
Surrounded by an increasing popularity, the balance might be difficult to sustain. However, with their knowledge of the field and its traps and glories, Amira’s parents extend all necessary support as long as the girl shows interest in music and violin. At the end of the day “Amira is free to choose her future,” Emődy concludes.
We will definitely hear from Amira Abouzahra more very soon and let’s hope she will put Egypt in her artistic plans…