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NewsEthiopian pianist nun Emahoi Gebru dies at 100

Ethiopian pianist nun Emahoi Gebru dies at 100


Ethiopian scribe nun Emahoy Tzege Mariam Gebru died on March 27 at the age of 99. On this subject informed local edition of Fana Broadcasting Corporate.

Gebru was born on December 12, 1923 in Addis Ababa into a family of local aristocrats. As a child, she began studying music at a Swiss boarding school, playing the violin. Very young, she gave her first solo recital in Switzerland, accompanied by a trio of violins.

At the age of 10, Gebru returned to Ethiopia, where her family was persecuted after the outbreak of the Second Italo-Abyssinian War (1935-1936). Gebru, together with her family, was taken into custody on the island of Asinara, then in Mercogliano near Naples. After the war, Gebru took musical lessons from the Polish violinist Alexander Kontorovich in Cairo and Ethiopia, where the musician was transferred as the group’s musical director under the service of the Imperial Guard.

In 1939, Emahoy Gebru became administrative secretary at the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but a year later she left for Egypt to continue her musical studies. She returned to her native country at the age of 19, then received an invitation to a music academy in London, but the Ethiopian authorities forbade her to leave the country. Because of this, Gebru developed depression, she stopped eating. Then a priest was invited to him, following a communication with which the pianist and violinist made the monastic vows.

Gebru spent more than 10 years in a monastery in northeastern Ethiopia, after which she returned to Addis Ababa and began writing pieces for piano, violin and organ, inspired by classical and liturgical canons, as well as modern trends such as blues and ragtime.

In the 1960s she first visited Jerusalem, and in 1984 she returned to Israel and became a nun in an Ethiopian monastery. She spent the last 40 years of her life there.

Emaha Gebru’s piano recordings first saw the light of day in 1967, she sent part of the profits to help orphanages and also founded a musical fund to help young talents in African countries. The nun also donated money to help Ethiopian children orphaned by the war.

In 2007, the Emahoy Gebru family founded the Emahoy Tzege Mariam Music Foundation, which now manages the rights to Gebru’s musical works and develops cultural programs in Jerusalem and the United States.

Copyright © 2023 The Eastern Herald.

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