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Iraq's youth orchestra prepares for first European performance | Culture & Lifestyle | Deutsche Welle | 30.09.2011

30/10/2011 21:59

Beethovenfest | 30.09.2011

Iraq's youth orchestra prepares for first European performance The National Youth Orchestra of Iraq has brought together musicians of different ethnic groups and religions to promote unity through music. They will deliver their first European performance on Saturday in Bonn.

Sunni, Shi'ite, Arab and Kurdish musicians are united

On Saturday, Bonn's Beethovenfest is set to host a first of its kind performance from the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq (NYOI), as part of its month-long annual music festival dedicated to its hometown classical composer, Ludwig van Beethoven.

This marks the NYOI's first performance in Europe. The group of Sunni, Shi'ite, Arab and Kurdish musicians is teaming up with renowned German violinist Arabella Steinbacher and members of Germany's National Youth Orchestra for a concert featuring works of Beethoven and Joseph Haydn.

The NYOI will also perform two world premiere pieces from Kurdish and Arab composers. In attendance will be German President Christian Wulff.

The musicians gathered for their first rehearsal with Arabella Steinbacher on Friday at Bonn's Beethovenhalle. The rising young star from Munich described it as a very different experience, a unique situation for her.

"Normally when I play with orchestras, for them it is so normal, another concert, another rehearsal," said Steinbacher. "For the kids here it is such a special thing. I can feel they are so happy and they look so forward to it."

Promoting Iraqi culture http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,15430134,00.html?maca=en-rss-en-all-1573-rdf

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Iraq's youth orchestra prepares for first European performance | Culture & Lifestyle | Deutsche Welle | 30.09.2011

30/10/2011 21:59

The National Youth Orchestra of Iraq formed in 2009 as a way to bring young musicians of different faiths together. The group meets for two weeks of courses each year, followed by one major performance in Iraq.

This year's trip to the Beethovenfest comes in addition to that schedule. NYOI Musical Director Paul MacAlindin called that a It's the first time many of the young people have left Iraq very unusual thing in itself. Getting a visa to visit Europe is normally very hard for Iraqi citizens and costs thousand of euros.

"The young people in the orchestra really want this ambassadorial role to bring their culture to this particular town in this particular country," said MacAlindin.

Kurdish NYOI violinist Hellgurd Ahmed said the musicians feel a great responsibility to play the music of their host country just as well as the pieces from Iraq.

"This is the land where the music comes from," said Ahmed. "Beethoven described things so beautifully. You have to be careful about every note, every rest."

MacAlindin said he is fascinated with the progress of the young Iraqis, both musically and interpersonally.

"I mean progress as a family group. We are not a family, of course, but we behave like a family now and that, for this very multicultural orchestra, is extraordinary."

Deutsche Welle will provide Saturday's concert as a free podcast.

Author: Dan Boyce Editor: Martin Kuebler

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Iraq's youth orchestra prepares for first European performance | Culture & Lifestyle | Deutsche Welle | 30.09.2011

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30/10/2011 21:59

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