Egyptian pianist joins New Philharmonic for 40th season kickoff


By Annie Alleman, Chicago Tribune, Wheaton, Naperville Sun

As a child, Wael Farouk was denied admission to a music conservatory because his hands were too small. Now, he is a piano virtuoso.

The Egyptian-born Farouk was born with shortened ligaments in his hands and small fingers. A doctor recommended exercising his hands, so his parents bought him a toy piano. The attraction was immediate, and at age 7, he auditioned for the Cairo Conservatory. Despite testing well, he was refused admission. His father intervened on his behalf, and Farouk was given a three-month trial.

He has since become one of the conservatory’s most distinguished alumni, performing in such venues as the White Hall in St. Petersburg, Schumann’s house in Leipzig and Carnegie Hall in New York.

During the 2013-2014 concert season, Farouk performed a five-recital series featuring the complete solo works of Rachmaninoff, something few other pianists have accomplished.

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