Palestine Youth Orchestra prepares for first UK tour

Ahram Online , Thursday 7 Jul 2016

In their first UK tour, between 25 July and 1 August, the Palestine Youth Orchestra conducted by Sian Edwards will perform in several world-class venues across the country

Palestine Youth Orchestra
Palestine Youth Orchestra in their concert in France, 2015 (Photo: still from YouTube)

Between 25 July and 1 August, the Palestine Youth Orchestra will give concerts in six UK cities in their first tour across the country.

Conducted by Sian Edwards (Head of Conducting at the Royal Academy of Music), the orchestra will perform at world-class venues such as the Perth Concert Hall (Perth, Scotland), The Royal Concert Hall (Glasgow, Scotland), Leeds Town Hall (Leeds, England), Birmingham Town Hall (England), St David’s Hall (Cardiff, Wales) and Royal Festival Hall (London, England).

The programme combines Western classical music and Arabic compositions.

As follows, the concerts will include Beethoven's Leonore Overture No. 3, Arabic songs by Oum Kalthoum and Fairouz sung by Nai Barghouti, Arabic improvisations in the "PYO’s own trademark style" as the orchestra's press release describes it, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition (arr. by Ravel) as well as Graham Fitkin’s Metal, "an energy packed, pop inspired and suiting the PYO’s youthful musical vigour."

The Palestine Youth Orchestra was established by the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music in 2004 with the vision of bringing together talented students from all over Palestine and the Palestinian Diaspora. Today, the orchestra connects musicians residing in several countries: Palestine, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Greece, Oman, Syria, Bahrain, Lebanon and others.

The orchestra’s press release explains that as they are “unable to rehearse together as an orchestra at home, the PYO will be meeting and rehearsing at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland between the 18 and 24 July 2016. They will be joined by the Palestinian singer Nai Barghouti, a rising star of Arabic music," and several students from leading British Conservatoires: Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and Guildhall School of Music.

Though the orchestra has numerous international appearances under its belt, this will be the first time they will perform in UK. It's sister ensemble, the Palestine Strings took part in the BBC Proms in 2013. 

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