Berklee Alumnus Brings Music to Refugees in Lebanon

Tori Donahue
June 20, 2019

Acclaimed violinist Layth Sidiq visited Lebanon to work with refugee children from Syria. 

Layth Sidiq at the Kayany Foundation's school in Lebanon
Sidiq taught a workshop using instruments donated by Berklee and Tufts University.
Image courtesy of the Kayany Foundation
Image courtesy of the Kayany Foundation

Layth Sidiq B.M. ’14, M.M. ’16 is an acclaimed violinist who was born in Baghdad and grew up in Amman, Jordan. Trained classically under Timur Ibrahimov at the National Music Conservatory in Amman, he studied violin alongside acclaimed Arab musician Simon Shaheen at Berklee. Graduating with the highest honors, Sidiq left the college with a wealth of collaborators, from Grammy winners Javier Limón and Alejandro Sanz to jazz legend Jack DeJohnette.

He recently returned home to the Middle East to host workshops in Bekaa, Lebanon, with the Kayany Foundation, a nonprofit that provides free education to refugee children in the country. Sidiq demonstrated various instruments to students at the foundation's school, which has been working with the Syrian community in Lebanon since 2014.

During his visit to the school, Sidiq taught a selection of well-known songs from the Middle East and played a variety of musical styles. Using instruments donated by Tufts University and Berklee, students were able to play traditional Syrian goblet drums at the workshop.

“I believe that as an artist I have a responsibility to give back to my community, and using music as an educational tool is one of the ways of doing that,” said Sidiq. “Seeing the passion and hunger for knowledge in the eyes of the Syrian refugee students after our workshops made me further believe that this is truly my purpose as an artist. Music education is a powerful tool, and… a real, honest, and valuable opportunity to learn lessons of leadership, discipline, and community, which paves the way for them to lead successful professional lives.”

Watch a video of Sidiq’s visit with the Kayany Foundation last month.

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