Jamali was born in Germany on Christmas Day but raised in Homs, Syria. He studied piano at the Arab Institute of Music in Damascus and later in Moscow with Victor Bunin. In 1995 he won a scholarship to attend the North Carolina School of the Arts, and received a Master’s from the University of North Carolina in 2004. He has had an active career as a pianist and composer and has lived much of his time in Atlanta, now being a U.S. citizen. Many of his pieces combine Middle Eastern musical modes with traditional Western harmonies.
He was honored with the GUSI Peace Prize in 2013 for his efforts on behalf of peace and humanitarian causes, most of all helping to raise money for Syrian children. Not long ago, he received a “Great Immigrant” award from the Carnegie Corporation.
After performing at the White House in 2011, and also playing at a protest, and speaking out against the Syrian regime, Jandali’s parents were severely beaten and their home in Syria was ransacked, it is believed by Syrian security forces.
Eventually his parents fled Syria, and now they are relocated in Roswell. That was possible because Jandali is an American citizen. Otherwise…?
Currently it can take up to two years to process a refugee application from Syria, and of course most people do not have much chance of success through this route.