Palestine orchestra to make UK tour

The Palestine Youth Orchestra (PYO) will make a debut, six-town UK tour this summer.

Conducted by Sian Edwards, they will play Perth, Glasgow, Leeds, Birmingham Cardiff and London’s Royal Festival Hall.

Propaganda alert: The press release below is infused with PLO dogma.

palestinian youth orchestra

The UK welcomes the Palestine Youth Orchestra (PYO) for the first time this summer. Under the baton of Sian Edwards, the young orchestra will perform at leading venues across the country, as part of their first UK tour culminating at London’s Royal Festival Hall, to bring their message of inspiration and humanity, in spite of international political turmoil.

This highly anticipated series of concerts follows on from last year’s tour of France, performances in Germany, Italy, Jordan, Greece, Oman, Syria, Bahrain, and Lebanon, and a critically acclaimed performance by a smaller ensemble of the PYO (the Palestine Strings) with Nigel Kennedy at the BBC Proms in 2013.

Established by the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music in 2004, the PYO was launched with the vision of bringing together young Palestinian musicians from around the world in a high-quality orchestral ensemble, and delivering their message of inspiration and humanity to audiences worldwide.

The 85 musicians, comprising students and high-level amateurs aged 14 to 26 from all over Palestine and the Palestinian diaspora, will travel to the UK from over 10 countries to embark on a six-city tour, showcasing their incredible drive, passion for music, and resilience in the face of adversity.

Unable to rehearse together at home, the PYO will meet and rehearse at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland between 18 July and 24 July. This year they are joined by the Palestinian vocalist, flute player, and composer Nai Barghouti – a rising star of Arabic music, after her recent acclaimed performances at the Montreux Festival and the UN Headquarters in New York – and by several students from leading British conservatoires.

Equally at home with Western and Arabic repertoire, the PYO maintains a unique position amongst youth orchestras internationally. On their first UK tour, they will perform music by Beethoven, the pop-inspired Metal by British composer Graham Fitkin, songs made famous by legendary Arab singers Fayrouz and Om Kolthoum, and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

Sian Edwards, conductor, said“I am delighted to be working with the Palestine Youth Orchestra again, having conducted some of their earliest tours and witnessed the exciting development of the orchestra on every level. The excellent support of the ESNCM, without which none of the orchestral projects would be possible, combined with the generous input of guest tutors and staff, creates a wonderful atmosphere that enables the young musicians to perform with a special passion and commitment.”

Suhail Khoury, General Director of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, said: “The young Palestinians are very eager to show their talent to British audiences and to illustrate the true Palestine, its culture and the humanity of its people.”

Lord Cope of Berkeley, Chairman of Palmusic UK, said: “This tour will be a wonderful personal experience for young musicians who normally live such restricted lives and a giant step in their musical development. Palmusic strives to help music open hearts and minds to Palestinian culture and open new doors.”

 

share this

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on google
  • PLO dogma… Norman, really, you’re a little unhinged!

    “…. message of inspiration and humanity, in spite of international political turmoil …. vision of bringing together young Palestinian musicians from around the world …. delivering their message of inspiration and humanity to audiences worldwide …. showcasing their incredible drive, passion for music, and resilience in the face of adversity …. Unable to rehearse together at home …. maintains a unique position amongst youth orchestras internationally …. a wonderful atmosphere that enables the young musicians to perform with a special passion and commitment …. eager to show their talent to British audiences and to illustrate the true Palestine, its culture and the humanity of its people …. a wonderful personal experience for young musicians who normally live such restricted lives …. help music open hearts and minds to Palestinian culture and open new doors ….”

    Does that all really threaten you so? Is a single word of that “propoganda”? Even a committed Israeli apologist such as yourself must have to work overtime to see anything remotely controversial in any of that.

    • I endorse your every word, Susan, though I suspect ‘dogma’ may be just more of the sloppy use of language I have come to expect. ‘Apologist’ describes NL very well.

      • Agreed. I did not find propaganda in this press release. It is as breathless as any press release in pumping up its artists. I suppose the flashpoint were:

        *bring their message of inspiration and humanity, in spite of international political turmoil. Same sort of material you’d get in the West-East Diwan’s PR.

        *incredible drive, passion for music, and resilience in the face of adversity.
        You could say that about the Simon Bolivar.

        *to illustrate the true Palestine, its culture and the humanity of its people.
        Anyone denying that Palestine has culture and humanity?

      • I suggest you both look up the definition of apologist. It has SOD-ALL to do with apologies. Nobody is saying that.

        Mr. Lebrecht is openly an apologist for the Israeli side of this conflict. And hos language in this post suggests a certain reluctance to see any merit whatsoever on the other side.

        • Invest a moment’s research before making wild allegations and you might find that my position is more nuanced than you imagine.

          • “Propaganda alert: The press release below is infused with PLO dogma.”

            Sorry, that does not seem very nuanced to me, and contributors above have pretty much shown why neither the word “propaganda” nor “dogma” is justifiable. My reference was specifically to THIS post, so it is hardly “wild allegations.” Though I have certainly in the past seen you take exception to ANY demonstrations — and I very much agree, some have been inappropriate — by those you refer to as “pro-Pal,” a term that can only be meant to demean and give offence.

            Or perhaps you, too, are objecting to the word (not mine) “apologist”? Please be sure of your definition. Nobody was asking for Israel to apologise, although the contributor who asserted that Israel has nothing to apologise for lives in a dream world, to put it charitably. I have never heard of any nation of whom that can be said with verity.

        • I can’t believe how ridiculous people get over the combination of the words Israel and Palestine. If you can’t calm down, how the hell do you expect them to. Really people!!

  • Susan,

    Unfortunately I wholeheartedly agree with all you say. A completely unnecessary allegation from Norman.

      • It is the attitude of people like you, equating Israel with nazi Germany, that makes it obvious that Israel has nothing to apologize for. You, on the other hand, ought to apologize for making outrageous comparisons, designed to ignite resentment and hatred.

        • No, it’s your attitude of being sure that Israel is perfect and has nothing, NOTHING to apologize for, that is the problem. How can someone be so deluded to think that a country, and I mean any country, is perfect?

          • Really? Who here – or anywhere else – has said that Israel is perfect?

            They have a right to exist and to defend themselves from those who have sworn to destroy them. If the terrorists would be kind enough to wear name badges identifying themselves, the vast majority of Palestinians could lead freer lives, but failing that, Isreal does what it must – what no other country would be criticized for doing – to protect its citizens, both Jewish and Arab.

  • Apologist: a person who offers an argument in defense of something controversial.

    That’s the long-standing definition of “apologist”.

    Apologists make frequent appearances in theological debates.

    For example, “Early Christian writers (c. 120–220) who defended their faith against critics and recommended their faith to outsiders were called apologists.”

  • “Propaganda alert: The press release below is infused with PLO dogma.” Really, Norman? Are you serious!? Please give one example. If you cannot, I suggest you reconsider that statement and amend accordingly.

  • ‘Propaganda alert: The press release below is infused with PLO dogma.’ Where? Unless the author already shivers when reading ‘Palestinian diaspora’ or the fact that the orchestra as a whole could not rehearse together, which probably is just a fact given the Israeli restrictions, a fact, on traveling to and from the West Bank. Referring to that is PLO dogma?
    And about the author’s defense, while I enjoy the blog very much, it regularly reads like Israeli and other music news, which makes me so the more appreciate that this item has made it at all here.

    • Neil, you have never disguised your pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel bias. Why not declare it here?

      • Declare a bias? Nobody will declare a bias, but meanwhile I don’t think I have a bias. I see a strange bias in the suggestion of a PLO dogma being behind the wordings of the press release, and I think most of the commenters here have the same problem.

        • While most commenters here might choose to ignore the propaganda (imagine my surprise), it’s definitely, obviously there.

          • Obvious is obviously in the eye of the beholder. It is a positive and supportive presentation of the artists described — like every press release I have ever read. And if you read some of the above items, there is not a misrepresentation or exaggeration in a single one of the identifying statements. Is nobody allowed to say anything positive about young Palestinian musicians, who are proud of their roots but probably a lot more interested in their music?

          • Given the staunchness of your comment, and the amount of commenters here who apparently beg to differ, you might elaborate a bit more.

          • The “amount of commenters here who apparently beg to differ” is irrelevant; I stopped worrying about being in the minority when Richard Nixon was re-elected by the largest landslide in American history.

            If fifty, or a hundred, or a thousand people have not followed a situation as thoroughly as I have, I won’t be swayed by their opinion differing from mine.

          • Not the strongest kind of argument. Everybody can speak out of course, but if you don’t care to argue, like you say, why argue? Apparently mentioning that there is a Palestinian Youth Orchestra coming to Britain and very politely and diplomatically hinting to the fact that otherwise this orchestra has difficulties to get together, in words not phrased by Dore Gold or so, is already a sort of propaganda, as it seems. Meanwhile in another posting on this topic you start to refer to ‘terrorists’ the moment an orchestra come together. And obliquely, when let us say the New York Philharmonic comes to let us day London, you would the press release to include that the Americans, with the British, led a baseless invasion on Baghdad in 2003, or had a quite senseless war in Vietnam, or backed coups against legitimate rulers in Chile, Congo, Indonesia. We can know this, we know, but when an orchestra comes, it is a different matter.

          • “Legitimate rulers in Chile, Congo, Indonesia.” Oh well…So much for your political affiliations and good sense.

          • We are going a bit off topic now but it is interesting to see that Pinochet, Mobutu and Soeharto have their supporters here too. Being so illegitimate, it is so sad to see them having so little support ever otherwise. The Shah of Iran could be added and Pakistan’s Zia Ul Haq, the one who introduced Sharia.

          • Zia Ul Haq introduced sharia? I thought it was the “prophet” Muhammad but never mind, sharia along with other Herrlichkeiten of islam are being “introduced” right now where we live on a daily basis, while some people are still busy Jew-baiting, unable to see beyond the end of their noses.

    • I wouldn’t necessarily blame Israeli restrictions. The release identifies the young musicians as part of the Palestinian diaspora. Which means they live in different countries. It is probably more practical for them to rehearse this way, the preparation perhaps having included some videoconferencing or something of the sort.

  • It feels almost like an irrelevance to express appreciation of that fine conductor, Sian Edwards.

  • Norman, what is your motivation behind ruining this inspiring notice with your mean-spirited, obviously biased comment about PLO propaganda? If there is any hope for peace in the Middle East, it could well come by means of bonding of young people through culture. Politicians have failed miserably.

  • Norman, what is your motivation behind ruining this inspiring notice with your mean-spirited, obviously biased comment about PLO propaganda? If there is any hope for peace in he Middle East, it could well come by means of bonding of young people through culture. Politicians have failed miserably.

    • Agreed! I also agree that the thread has gotten out of hand but suspect that’s what Norman likes as it justifies his work.
      I have yet to see Norman respond at all to the request for him to justify his malicious and mean spirited “dogma” comment on what is a standard press release.
      We are waiting Norman !

  • Those who scream hate at Israeli string quartets and interrupt Proms when Israelis are playing are despicable. Those who yell “propaganda” when a Palestinian youth orchestra comes to town are misguided paranoids. Nothing in that press release is propaganda for anything other than the fact that, with all the horror around them, both Jews and Arabs can make music.

    I’m an Israeli musician… I’m glad there is a Palestinian orchestra and I’m glad they are here. I deride people who constantly deny Israel’s right to exist and find excuse after excuse to condemn it , but I equally pity those that see the word ‘Palestinian’ and can only see Hamas and terror.

  • Dear all on this thread, Mr Lebrecht of course included.

    I am a British conductor who has visited Palestine (the West Bank and East Jerusalem) on numerous occassions since 2011 to work with PYO, and the Edward Said Conservatory of Music. Indeed I will be doing so again next month to help the West Bank musicians prepare for their upcoming tour, alongside colleagues from the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra.

    I had no part in preparing this Press Release, but am very happy to answer all or any questions about how the PYO works logistically and indeed it’s work in general. Best, Tom

    • Thank you, Tom. Lovely to have someone with some real experience to answer questions. You are all doing wonderful work out there, and we are looking forward to hosting the orchestra here. Such a positive move.

      • Thanks Una. I can tell people how it works on a daily basis for the musicians inside Palestine, plus answer questions about why the comment about ‘PLO propaganda’ is misguided. Please do ask, everyone! I might not be able to reply until tomorrow, however.

        • Dear Tom, yes please write a bit on how it works on a daily basis. Just some notes. I know the Edward Said conservatory people personally and the Yabous Festival, runs by the conservatory director Suhail Khoury’s wife Rania Elias.

          • Thanks

            The logistical difficulties we face when working in the West Bank are to do with restrictions on travel.

            The Israeli authorities can deny entry to diaspora Palestinans, for example students from Syria, Egypt or Lebanon who come from refugee families. Also, checkpoints can shut without notice, meaning that bringing musical instruments from East Jerusalem (such as the larger percussion items) can be difficult and unpredictable.

            Next month I will be in the West Bank to help train those who are West Bank residents, but this will only be about 60% of the orchestra who will have to wait to start work together with Sian in Scotland.

            Also, when the students reach a certain age they can be denied access to East Jerusalem, which has often meant that competitors for the bi-annual Palestinian National Music Competition have to be heard via video links, with all the frustrations that can bring if technology fails, or power supplies are cut.

            For people like me who travel – often as volunteers – from other countries via Israel as there is no other way to enter the occupied territories, there are often delays at airports and checkpoints where questioning can be both aggressive and lengthy.

            The access to both musical instruments and equipment can pose further issues. An instrument needing repair owned by a West Bank resident who is not allowed to travel to Jerusalem, (where instrument repairers are often based), is a tricky and time-consuming business.

            When leaving Israel to travel abroad, Palestinians experience issues, and often instruments are sent on a different flight to their owners. On occassion, these have been damaged on arrival at their destination.

            Mr Lebrecht states that the Press Release is infused with PLO propaganda. To the best of my knowledge the PLO had no hand in writing this Press Release (indeed I think it was written by the UK organisers) and there is no material fact that I cannot corroborate. If there is anything I missed that you feel represents PLO dogma, perhaps you can explain Mr Lebrecht?

            Best

            Tom

          • Yes, the Israelis restrict ingress and egress. The “propaganda” comes in with the implication that they don’t have good, valid reasons for doing so.

  • >