Claude Chalhoub

Claude Chalhoub, born in 1974, was originally supposed to follow in his father's footsteps and become a hairdresser. As a little boy, he helps out in his father's salon in the christian quarter of Beirut: he sweeps up hair from the floor, he hands scissors. part from the art of hairdressing, which is also practiced by Claude's four brothers (not by the six sisters), there is another family tie: Arabian music. Not a single day passes without the family listening to Fairuz, the goddess of Lebanese music, on the radio. Every Chalhoub family member plays a musical instrument or sings. Claude is assigned a violin. " When the civil war began, we naturally didn't go to school. My occupation was playing the violin. As I didn't know the technique so well, is was more like making experiments with the violin." Almost every day, while fusillades crackle and bombs hit, Claude practices in a damp, illlit cellar. "That was a rather special situation that created a strong bond between me and the instrument." The violin turns into one of the most important constants in Claude's life. His talent wins him a scholarship in England. Just before the end of the war, he escapes his raumatized home country. Without any friends or relatives, with hardly any knowledge of the English language, he starts a new life far from home. "I had to kneel into my studies much more than the others to get to know orchestra music, chamber music and solo performance better. Listening to others, getting advice, all that was new to me." His hard work and keen perception make him an outstanding student, who dives head first into the extensive repertoire of classical music. He attends almost every symphonic concert in London. Already as a student, he receives the first prize for a performance at his college with his composition 'Oriental Images'. His debut concert 'London Smith Square' paves the way for a series of successful concerts all over Europe.