Music against war: Aeham Ahmad, peace activist and gifted pianist

In the evening of the first day of our congress, we will be welcoming the Palestinian-Syrian pianist Aeham Ahmad. He gained fame as the "pianist among ruins" in 2014/2015 for his public performances at Yarmouk Camp, a refugee district of Damascus, during the Syrian civil war.

"Music is a sin, music is impure," the henchmen of the so-called Islamic State shouted before drenching his piano with petrol and setting it aflame. That was in 2015, in the Palestinian camp of Yarmouk. Before the eyes of Aeham Ahmad, then 27, not only his instrument but his entire future went up in flames. Soon after, he embarked on a journey across the Mediterranean and the Balkan route to Germany.

Since last September, Aeham Ahman has been living in Wiesbaden. He has already given more than 200 concerts in Germany, demonstrating his diverse musical expertise that ranges from classical music to jazz. In 2015, he became the first person to receive the new International Beethoven Prize for Human Rights.