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Gaza's only grand piano makes first debut ten years after near-destruction in Israeli airstrike Open in fullscreen

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Gaza's only grand piano makes first debut ten years after near-destruction in Israeli airstrike

The piano was played to an audience of around 300 people in Gaza [AP]

Date of publication: 26 November, 2018

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Gaza's only grand piano made its first public appearance in a decade, following international efforts to restore the instrument donated by Japan.

The only grand piano in the Gaza Strip was played for the first time in a decade on Sunday, after international restoration efforts carried out on the instrument which was nearly destroyed in an Israeli airstrike.

The piano was played as part of a performance by local and Japanese musicians. Around 300 people attended the show at the Palestine Red Crescent Society.

A group of students from the Edward Said Conservatory, Gaza's only music school, partnered with the Japanese artists and played the Palestinian national anthem, drawing huge applause from the audience.

The theatre that housed the piano closed in 2007 and many social activities were scaled down after Islamist group Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip. Under Hamas rule, many forms of public entertainment, including bars, movie theaters, and concert halls, have been shuttered.

Later, a combination of the crippling Israeli-Egyptian blockade on Gaza and severe damage caused by an Israeli airstrike in 2009 ensured that the resort closed altogether.

The piano remained disused until 2014, when the piano was miraculously discovered largely intact after an Israeli airstrike destroyed the al-Nawras hall where it was housed. 

Its discovery prompted the involvement of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency, which sponsors development programs in Gaza, to have the instrument restored.

The Belgian non-profit group Music Fund, which supports music instruction in the Palestinian areas, sent a French expert in 2015 to restore the piano. Another Belgium restorer visited Gaza last month and put the final touches on the instrument. A limited, private concert was held as trial.

Now, the culture ministry has given the piano to the conservatory - "to the place where it belongs and where it should be," Daoud said. "The revival of the piano is like the revival of the Palestinian people."

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