Music Monday: Hakim: Le Tombeau de Olivier Messiaen

Hallowe’en has come and gone, which means that today’s composer just had a birthday: Naji Hakim was born on that date in Beirut, Lebanon in 1955. A professional organist in addition to a composer, he first fell in love with the instrument at the age of five when he attended a Mass at his family’s Catholic church and was transfixed by the sounds he heard. Organ being not the easiest instrument to practice at home, his family insisted he study piano instead, a decision he was not particularly happy with. (When he was twelve, he snuck into his school’s chapel with his brother, broke into the organ room, hit the “tutti” stop, and went to town. The headmaster was . . . unimpressed.) He had non-musical interests as well, studying Engineering at the Ecole Supérieure d’Ingéneurs in Beirut until an outbreak of war in 1975 forced the school to close, at which point he emigrated to Paris to finish his studies.

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