Iraqi Youth Orchestra Tour Leverages Social & Salon

The days of the Victorian era salon concert, it seems, aren’t quite over. Last week saw a partnership event for The National Youth Orchestra of Iraqi (NYOI) take place in a grand reception room of Sir Vernon and Lady Ellis’ Kensington home.


More than 100 people were invited to the musical soiree, hosted by sponsor The British Council (of which Sir Vernon is the chairman), for an evening that included both traditional Iraqi music and some Mozart by a string quartet drawn from the National Youth Orchestra.


The evening also saw a guest appearance from Julian Lloyd-Webber – one of the world’s leading cellists.


The National Youth Orchestra of Iraq is an inspirting living example of peace and reconciliation by Iraqis, for Iraq and for the world. Its diversity uniquely brings, among others, young Arabs and Kurds to create real harmony together.


The old-world salon evening was a stark contrast with the high-tech, new media channels through which the orchestra was formed and via which members audition.


This remarkable orchestra was founded by a brave 17-year-old Iraqi, Zuhal Sultan, just four years ago. Though many musicians had fled the country during the war, Zuhal was determined to create a national youth orchestra, which has since enjoyed great success in Iraq and abroad.


She gained government backing and support through an appeal on Twitter and the musicians are auditioned online through YouTube.



The object of the event was, of course, fundraising for this year’s NYOI annual summer school event which is planned to coincide with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe where the young musicians will accompany Julian Lloyd Webber and Kyam Allami.


Lead sponsors British Council and the Weir Group have raised some of the money needed, but further donations are required to fund the project.


Donations can be made here http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/NYOIraq or by contacting Becca Laurence at becca@nyoiraq.com










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