Music Review: Iyad Sughayer at the Royal Concert Hall

Words: Ian C Douglas
Sunday 05 March 2023
reading time: min, words

Ian C Douglas reviews Iyad Sughayer at the Royal Concert Hall...


Iyad Sughayer is a Jordanian-Palestinian pianist catching the classical world’s attention and not yet thirty. At the tender age of five, he began tickling the ivories and it was not long before his talents took him from Jordan to Manchester where he graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music. Since then, his CV has notched up plenty of worldwide performances and he has even launched a school of music, the Mashrek Academy of Music.

His recital this morning was a treat for any lover of good music. He opened with Khachaturian’s Poem: an early piece and imbued with the folk music rhythms of the great composer’s native Armenia. Next up was Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 5, K. 283. This was followed with Ten Pieces for Piano, Op. 24, Nos. 1-5 by Sibelius. Iyad informs the audience that Sibelius hated the piano and only did this sonata for the money. Well, we certainly got our money’s worth. Last but not least, was Schumann’s Faschingsschwank aus Wien, Op.26. Schuman composed this work in 1839 in Vienna. Faschingsschwank translates as ‘carnival jests’, in case you were wondering.

his performance was flawless.

Iyad Sughayer played each piece brilliantly and without sheet music. Perhaps committing each bar to memory allowed him to soar and soar he did. A flight of aural pleasure with the theatregoers joining in the journey. Iyad played for an hour, with a workmanlike, no-fuss, nothing-but-the-music approach. And his performance was flawless.  

So, a big thank you to the Royal Concert Hall’s Sunday Piano Series, which ended for this season with Iyad Sughayer’s virtuoso show. How lovely that through our dreary British winter, we can escape on Sundays in the company of outstanding visiting musicians. And as a coda, after the show free coffee and cake is served to ticketholders. The carrot cake, like Mr Sughayer’s music, was superb.   

Iyad Sughayer performed at the Royal Concert Hall on Sunday March 5 2023

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