Commemorating the Tunisian Revolution at the Kennedy Center

Posted by on Jan 16, 2012 in Concerts, Containing, Countries, Tunisia, Videos | 0 comments

This past January 8, along with Tunisian violinist, Nidhal Jebali, I performed a concert at the Terrace Theatre at the Kennedy Center commemorating the first anniversary of the Tunisian Revolution.  The concert was webcast live so we had an audience in Tunisia, as well as around the world.


Here’s the concert blurb: Rising-star Tunisian violinist Jebali and American pianist Gallagher play a program featuring their own original compositions, as well as works by Franck, Paganini, and Jaloul Ayed, the Tunisian Minister of Finance, in commemoration of the one year anniversary of the Tunisian revolution.

And here is the program:


Hamid                                                                                          Jaloul Ayed


Chagrin d’Amour                                                                        J. Ayed

Prelude No. 1 in C Major                                                            F. Chopin

Deliverance                                                                                J. Ayed

Etude Op. 25 No. 2 in F Minor                                                   F. Chopin

Jasmins                                                                                     J. Ayed


Kimball Gallagher, piano


Obsession                                                                                 E. Ysaÿe

Nidhal Jebali, violin

Metamorphoses                                                                        N. Jebali

Kimball Gallagher, piano

Nidhal Jebali, violin


Prelude No. 34 for Connie and Gordon                                    K. Gallagher

Prelude No. 25 for Aida                                                            K. Gallagher

Prelude No. 24 for Kamel                                                         K. Gallagher

Prelude No. 33 for Jaloul                                                          K. Gallagher

Sidibou Said                                                                             J. Ayed

Etude Op. 10, No. 10                                                               F. Chopin

Boujafar                                                                                   J. Ayed

Kimball Gallagher, piano

II. Allegro Appassionato                                                           C. Franck

from Sonata for Violin and Piano 

                                  Nidhal Jebali, violin

Kimball Gallagher, piano

 Caprice No. 5 in A minor                                                       N. Paganini

Nidhal Jebali, violin

Fantasy on Tunisia Folk Theme                                              N. Jebali

Nidhal Jebali, violin

Kimball Gallagher, piano







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Bangkok, Thailand

Posted by on Apr 23, 2011 in Audios, Concerts, Containing, Countries, Photos, Thailand, Uncategorized | 0 comments

In 2009 I donated a home concert to the Eugene Oregon Symphony. At the concert (Concert #9 of the 88 concert tour) I met 2 Thai eye doctors, Somsran, and Damrongpan. They both work with a foundation called the “Eye Care Foundation” conducting vision restoring cataract surgery in rural areas of Thailand. Several months later, they introduced me by email to their friend Jumbhot Chuasi. Led by him, the Fund for Classical Music Promotion and Siam Society extended an invitation to me to perform at the Cultural Center in Bangkok in April of 2011.

For the prelude for this concert, I used the word Siam to generate the main 4 note motive. At Jumbhot’s suggestion I also include the name of King of Thailand, Bhumibol.  The prelude alternates between the ‘Siam’ motive and the ‘Bhumibol’ motive.   Incidentally, the King  is a composer of jazz melodies!  Here is his first song:

I’m glad I included his name in the prelude because soon the Siam Society will be publishing this prelude in their journal and also presenting it to the King in acknowledgment of his Seventh Cycle (meaning the beginning of the 7th decade of his reign).

Prelude No. 21 for Siam Society and King Bhumibol

Overall, it was a wonderful experience. The crowd was very warm and engaged.  Absolutely loved Bangkok, the food, the royal palace, the massages all wonderful and highly recommended.

In addition, I gave a master class at the Siam Society. They played Schumann, Brahms, and Beethoven. Quite talented and committed…one of the students is now attending Oberlin Conservatory.

with Jumbhot

with Damrongpan

With members of the Siam Society after the concert

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Posted by on Apr 20, 2011 in Concerts, Containing, Countries, Photos, Taiwan | 0 comments

As soon as I arrived in Taipei, I met with pianist Hannah Hsu Wang, with whom I performed at Bach Hall, an intimate hall with an incredible Steinway B piano.  Coincidentally, Hannah studies with Seymour Bernstein, who was the teacher of my life long piano mentor, pianist, Joseph Smith.  Seymour has also been an inspiration to me over the years.  Also on the first day in Taipei, I met with several Juilliard alums including Lun-Yun Cheng who immediately asked me to perform at Tainan University of Technology where he is the Dean of the School of Music.  The concert was set up on just 2 days notice!  That same day, I performed in the evening at the Wan-Sa Salon, run by Shih-Jung Chen, out of his home.  He had one of the best Bösendorfer pianos I’ve ever played!  In addition I gave a masterclass at the Tainan National University of the Arts.  After 3 concerts and a master class in less than 3 days I was exhausted!  Over the weekend I was fortunate to join the Yintuan hiking group for 2 days in Hualien.  Gorgeous hiking and a wonderful group of people. Other highlights of Taiwan included the incredible variety of food at every meal and the astonishing proliferation of motorcycles. The week in Taiwan was truly a memorable whirlwind of new people, new places, and new foods (and concerts) and I can’t wait to go back.

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Posted by on Apr 10, 2011 in Audios, China, Concerts, Containing, Countries, Photos, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Shanghai was my first stop on the Asia tour.  Some of my experiments included waking up at 6am and sitting outside a nearby coffee shop and teaching my students in New York by skype!  I had a wonderful tour of Shanghai’s old city from a student of Yun Sun, a very kind piano professor at the Shanghai conservatory.  The concert was held at a German expat’s home in a high-rise apartment building.  I noticed that the building did not have a 4th floor, or a 14th floor as those are both unlucky numbers in China.  Also, it did not have a 13th floor to accommodate the westerners’ superstitions as well.  So in the elevator it was 1,2,3…5, 6,7,8,9,10,11,12…15. Ha!

At the concert I performed a piece “Postlude” by the Chinese composer Huang Ruo, a friend of mine from Juilliard.  This piece spurred on a discussion about cultural identity in music ie. What is “Chinese” music? Someone brought up a piece of traditional Chinese music on his ipad and had me sightread it.  After the concert all of my hosts colleagues and friends stayed around and we played games for several hours.

Prelude No. 19 for Lemeng and Stephan with Emma and Carla

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Kabul, Afghanistan

Posted by on Jan 10, 2011 in Afghanistan, Audios, Concerts, Countries, Photos, Videos | 0 comments

KABUL Dec. 2010/Jan 2011

In December of 2010, I was invited to visit the Afghanistan National Institute of Music’s winter academy in Kabul, Afghanistan. My good friends violinist William Harvey and cellist Robin Ryczek work at the school and they were responsible for inviting me to Kabul.  ANIM secured funding from the US Embassy there.

The school itself is an inspiration.  Bustling with energy and activity.  Had a few moments to sit down with Dr. Ahmed Sarmast, the director of the school.  The resulting interview is here.  There are two things he said that stand out in my mind.  One is the report he cited from the World Bank that “[one] can’t have economic development or political stability without also having cultural development.”  Another is the story about starting the school.  Dr. Sarmast had travelled to Australia to visit foundations to request funding to start the school. Without success he returned to Kabul.  On the plane ride back, during one of the connections, he was chatting with some people at an airport and mentioned the purpose of his trip.  They said “you should submit a proposal to us.”  It turned out they were from the World Bank and they gave $2 million to start the school.  Hear Dr. Sarmast tell the story and many others in his own words.

Half the students in the school are orphaned or homeless children.  The school pays the families the equivalent of $30/month, the amount they would make selling chewing gum or something like that on the streets.  The other half of the students were previously students in another art school that did not have a music program.

Meet Milad who had many works by Chopin and Bach on his cell phone and asked me to play them for him:

And Elham:

They teach rock music at the school as well.  Here’s a video of myself jamming with two students:

Beautiful rugs and scarves in Kabul.

Also was introduced to a dish called Kaboli Palou.  Here’s a recipe.

Here is a piece by AlJazeera about the school:

And here are some impressions of the city and the school at the time:

“old Kabul is where we went…there are 4 million people in the city built for 100,000.  estimated 1,000,000 street kids.  people flooding the streets, bicycles and fruit sellers..dust and trash everywhere, so many buildings that are destroyed or partially destroyed amidst swarms of small shops on tiny rock streets. no trees to speak of.  all destroyed by an effort to eliminate guerrilla warfare I’m told..women in burkas…full covering not just head scarves…there has been no rain and no snow…so it smells like burning feces everywhere.  air quality is obviously horrific.  lots of traffic. river is really quite disgusting.  houses built up on the mountains…check points everywhere…guards with guns everywhere.  haven’t seen any military people yet.  i know there are various infrastructure projects to try to regenerate the trees and create schools for kids etc. but the corruption and cronyism here, I’m told, means that certain things will be destroyed purposely just to give to work to various people which slows everything down.  the mayor is super active apparently and has paved many of the streets…so many of the roads are decently paved.  Dr. Sarmast, the head of the school, has a high social standing here…his father was a famous trumpet player.  He started the school on his own though, btw, and has most of his big support from the world bank  ($2 million donation that was a result of a proposal he made) and the germans…the goethe institute and the embassy (donations in the hundreds of thousands).  He has told me many stories about political moves he has had to make to secure the relative fiscal autonomy of the school As a result the book keeping at the school is impeccable because it needs to be able to withstand constant scrutiny.  Most of the donations are done only on this basis though.    Dr. Sarmast is Afghan, from Kabul.  I’m going to interview him.   The workers at the school are all Afghan and all the furniture, whenever possible, is Afghan.  The architect was Afghan, and the the new concert hall designed by an Afghan, being built by end of next year.   There is a lot of international support.  I’m working with a few others to have some pianos donated to the school..  Sarmast told me the US embassy will possibly take care of transport…military transport. That is the only way, right now to ship things.  The germans used a military plane to get the instrument donations.  By the way, the school teaches western and afghan musical traditions.  They are hiring this guitar and rubab player to create a method book for afghan.  He is a guest artist here now too…from one of the most respected Afghan musical families.  Khaled Arman.  His father Hossein Arman, was apparently a major force in the Afghan musical revival in the 60s…don’t know much about that or him…but he was at the last concert….my favorite quote from a student ‘music and sadness creates happiness’ “



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