War is undoubtedly the most traumatic experience for everyone, as it usually takes generations to recover from its aftershocks. But when people are stuck in the ruins of war, whether mentally, emotionally, or financially, there are some fearless people who do not lose hope. Nothing seems to deter their spirits, and in fact, they learn to start their lives all over again while giving hope to others even in such adversities. These extraordinary individuals are saviors in those dark times; they believe life led for others is worth living.
A living example who emerged out of this situation is none other than the talented Johnny Hachem, who dedicatedly nurtured and practiced music and became a music prodigy after years of determination. This Lebanese-Ukrainian composer and pianist cultivated his skills in the most dreadful conditions but stood firm in all the hardships of life he faced in war-struck Lebanon.
The war severely troubled Johnny’s childhood and gave him unsettling psychological conditions, which made it difficult for him to cope with his academic journey. However, nothing could take away his passion for music, and he continued with it. “When there was a ceasefire after school, I used to snuggle up to play piano,” says Johnny Hachem, adding that his love for music was tutored by his parents as his mother was a pianist while his father used to play the violin. He shares, “My parents were my biggest influence. I remember very well how touching it was to hear them play together when I was a child.”
Apart from his parents, his dedication to music was also fueled by other names in the industry. Talking about legendary musicians that inspired him, Johnny reveals, “Richard Wagner’s music affected me a lot when I was young, and it used to take me to another world. I felt that I could relive my best moments while listening to his music.”
As far as composing is concerned, Johnny Hachem wanted to become a composer like Richard Wagner. “I wanted to compose tunes that affect people and make them feel better. I also believe John Williams is the best alive composer in this day and age, as his music is breathtaking. He is a wonderful conductor and pianist as well. I have learned a lot from him and continue learning new stuff,” he informs.
At times, Johnny Hachem faced challenges in some countries and was laughed at for being from Lebanon. “People made fun of me and considered my country from the third world, which has no value in terms of music, but I was not affected and did not allow opinions like these to frustrate me or fail me. On the contrary, this encouraged me to go further, prove them wrong and achieve more success,” he states while recalling his bitter experiences.
Despite the unfavorable conditions he faced, he still stands firm and keeps on mentoring several others like him. “I tell the world that there is a great possibility that life will oppress you in its various forms. The doors may close in front of you because of your country, your race, your appearance, or your financial and social status, but you should never give up. Instead, these difficulties should motivate you to work harder to achieve your goals,” he says. After years of untiring struggle, this passionate soul made his name in the industry by winning the Music Composition Award at International Composition Conference in 2009 and Classic Pure Vienna International Composition in 2021.
Johnny has been entertaining audiences globally for over two decades, composing solo instruments for chamber music and orchestras. The best part is that multiple symphony orchestras play his compositions on various stages. He heavily focuses on a unique genre known as Neo-romanticism with a touch of modern essence as he wishes to see the youth take an interest in classic romanticism. Moreover, he composed ‘The Battle of Siddim,’ now known as ‘The Valley of the Dead Sea’. This composition was later performed by The Lebanese Philharmonic, Lebanon, Lublin Philharmonic, Koshalin Symphony & Torun Symphony orchestra in just one year. “I have also worked on Oriental Piano Project in which I chose a good number of old traditional songs from the Orient that were never used for piano. And what makes me proud is the fact that this project was a big success and performed in more than 15 countries,” he shares.
There is more to Johnny Hachem than what meets the eye. His utmost devotion and love for music is something that sets him apart from his fellow composers. Johnny is an ambitious musician who formed a peaceful bridge between the victims of war and his music and tried to ease the pain by instilling hope among people. He believes dreaming big, working hard, and never giving up are the key to success, even in the most adverse situations.