From Aleppo to Sydney: Self-taught musician puts his talents on show


A 14-year-old from Syria is joining the prestigious Sydney Youth Orchestra.

When Aboud and his family fled Syria, his violin was one of the few things he was able to take with him.

Now the 14-year-old is living in Sydney, and after just a few months, he is already gaining a reputation as a gifted young musician.

The teenager is one of the musicians joining the prestigious Sydney Youth Orchestra this year.

"I love playing the violin because I can express myself, when I'm sad I play the violin, when I'm happy. Every time when I feel, I play the violin," he told SBS News.

Aboud’s family fled the city of Aleppo when the war in Syria began.

They moved further north, but as the situation escalated, they left the country for Lebanon.

Aboud is gaining a reputation as a gifted young musician.
Aboud is gaining a reputation as a gifted young musician.
SBS News

"We just took our personal things, not many bags, but his violin was the essential thing," his mother Hanan Youssef said.

After a chance encounter in Beirut with a musician from the University of Oxford, Aboud was loaned his first proper violin from their archives.

The family arrived in Sydney in May last year - a move which brought new opportunities for the self-taught musician, who had learned most of what he knew through YouTube videos.

Leigh Middenway became Aboud’s music teacher.

"He can immediately hear which chords all the melody notes belong to and so he can pick up the style and add extra chord notes along."

This month, Abboud performed in his first concert, but it won’t be his last.

Now that he is part of an orchestra he will have the chance to regularly perform and meet other talented young musicians.

His father Amanouel Kaplo said music has always been important to his son.

"I'm very proud, he has known his way since childhood, and he has always loved music."

Aboud was accepted into the orchestra with a scholarship. It includes music theory lessons, which will allow him to fine-tune the technical aspects of his musicianship.

The general manager of the Sydney Youth Orchestra Mia Patoulios said Aboud is determined to progress.

"He has this beautiful understanding of music and I think that's the thing that unites all our young people."

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