Live from TEDGlobal

From finance to classical guitar: Tariq Harb at TEDGlobal 2013

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Photo: James Duncan Davidson

Classical guitar virtuoso Tariq Harb had a surprising major in college: finance. The Jordanian-born musician moved to Canada in 1999 to study at Concordia University. But after a few years in the financial sector, he found himself deeply unfulfilled. He decided to go back to the thing he loved when he was younger — music. Only he didn’t pick up the violin, the instrument he knew well. He picked up the classical guitar.

On the TEDGlobal stage, Harb sits in a red armchair, guitar perched upon his knee. As his fingers dart across the strings, his head rolls along with his plucks and the auditorium fills with the joyful, playful sound  of Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos’ “Homage to Brazilian Country Dweller.” The audience claps excitedly.

Offstage, Harb is full of still more contradictions. He tells CBC Music about some surprising things on his iPod: Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Pearl Jam and Faith No More, plus trip-hop, techno and house music. “That’s the dancer in me coming out,” says Harb.

A man of surprises, indeed.


Photo: James Duncan Davidson