Pianist Born With Shortened Fingers Proves Experts Wrong

Pianist Born With Shortened Fingers Proves Experts Wrong

piano player Wael Farouk - Rutgers PhotoWhen Egyptian-born pianist Wael Farouk was 3 years old, his parents noticed that he was unable to grip objects, make a fist or straighten his fingers.

Doctors confirmed that the ligaments in Farouk’s tiny hands were shorter than normal, preventing him from full mobility. They suggested that Farouk exercise his hands regularly, so, on the boy’s third birthday, his father bought him a toy piano.

His parents saw very quickly that despite his hands, or perhaps because of them, Farouk and the piano developed a bond. But Farouk’s hands were also the reason the Cairo Conservatory of music almost denied his application to study piano there.

Only one teacher on the admissions panel advocated for Farouk. The rest of the panel ultimately conceded, giving him a trial period of three months, during which he was to complete two years of course work to prove his competency.

With the aid of his father’s strict military guidance, not only did Farouk complete the work, he excelled. Since then his father has been, in many ways, the inspiration for Farouk’s strict practice regimen.

“Beethoven always said that art was 90 percent work and 10 percent talent. There’s no more proof [than me]  – the physical is only part of the question,” says Farouk, 31, who is currently earning his Doctorate of Musical Arts at Rutgers.

“We all have our challenges. It’s your own decision whether you’ll let them stop you or whether you’ll let them provoke success out of you.”

Farouk has been studying in the United States since he accepted his first Fulbright Scholarship to The Catholic University of America in 2003. Now Farouk is at the Mason Gross School at Rutgers preparing for an upcoming Carnegie Hall concert that will include works by Sergei Rachmaninoff.

The New York Concert Review has called Farouk “a formidable and magnificent pianist,” for his command of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3, a piece that many believed the pianist never would be able to accomplish with his own two hands.

(WATCH the video below by Cameron Bowman – READ full article from Rutgers.edu)

 Photo credit: Rutgers


  1. I love, love, love your website. I look at it every night before I go to bed – I suggest it to many people – most of whom haven’t acted on it but you never know they might some day. Keep it up -the stories are just so delightful and so full of courage, love, service – I love love love them

    Anand Boulder CO