The American University of Beirut (AUB) received the musical heritage of the late Dr. Walid Gholmieh, which will be kept in the archives of the University Libraries to be utilized by researchers and musicians. Dr. Gholmieh’s widow, Mrs. Elham Gholmieh, and family worked with Associate Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Salma Oueida and Associate University Librarian for Archives and Special Collections Dr. Kaoukab Chebaro, among others, to compile the archive and prepare for its transfer to AUB, which was accomplished on June 14.
Dr. Walid Georges Gholmieh, who passed away in 2011, was director of the Lebanese National Higher Conservatory of Music. He earned a degree in Mathematics from AUB before dedicating his life to music. He is considered to be one of the most prominent Middle Eastern conductors and composers. Gholmieh held a PhD in musicology and composed numerous symphonies and other musical compositions. He collaborated with many conductors and performers and was the recipient of multiple international awards.
According to Mrs. Gholmieh, AUB was very dear to Dr. Gholmieh’s heart and he always wanted his collection to be transferred to the University.
“AUB is the most important institution in the Middle East that preserves the cultural heritage of prominent artists. Walid wanted dearly to preserve that and keep it in safe hands for generations to come,” said Mrs. Gholmieh. “Walid made sure his intentions of transferring his collection are expressed to Dr. Nabil Nassif [director of the Zaki Nassif Program for Music at AUB] and, after his passing, we started with the execution of his wishes in collaboration with AUB.”
Dr. Chebaro explained the importance of the archival papers to be kept in Jafet Library, saying that Dr. Gholmieh was “a forward looking humanist, one who is simultaneously deeply rooted in his culture, language, and heritage.”
“The AUB Archives, University Libraries is thrilled to receive the archival papers of Dr. Gholmieh: preserving our cultural heritage, availing it to researchers, upholding and demonstrating its continued scholarly and humanistic relevance for a wide audience, both within the realm of academia and beyond, is a core mission of AUB,” said Chebaro.
“Dr. Gholmieh was not only an accomplished mathematician, a superb musician, but he also strongly believed in the value of culture and beauty in our daily lives, and in the relevance of musical education for cultivating the spirit, and for making us better humans,” added Dr. Chebaro. “What more appropriate place to keep his legacy alive than AUB? We are hopeful that this is the beginning of an attempt to create a real repository of regional musical archives at the University, in the hope to bolster and revive a true grassroots appreciation of music and art and to reaffirm the value of musical education in our country. It is a privilege to be able to preserve and avail his legacy to future generations.”
Dr. Nabil Nassif and AVP Salma Oueida worked closely with the Gholmieh family to ensure the safe transfer of the collection.
“This is a very important event because Dr. Gholmieh expressed his intentions to transfer his archive to AUB, and I am glad to see that his intentions were met, and his collection will be available to be studied, just like Zaki Nassif’s archive that is available too at AUB,” said Nassif. “We hope that the same would be done for other giants who set the cornerstone for the musical school in Lebanon. Those collections are a treasure for the newer generations.”
A concert under the title of “A Tribute to Walid Gholmieh” was held by the Lebanese National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music in Assembly Hall on Thursday, June 15, as part of the Zaki Nassif Program for Music festival: Remembering and Discovering. The concert was organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and was attended by Minister of Culture Ghattas Khouri, and by many other music enthusiasts.