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Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Egypt's Al-Nour Wal Amal Orchestra of blind women to perform in China for the first time

40 women of Al-Nour Wal Amal Chamber Orchestra will give three concerts moving between cities in mainland China and Hong Kong

Ahram Online , Sunday 30 Jul 2017
Al nour wal amal
Wind section of Al Nour Wal Amal Orchestra (Photo: Ati Metwaly)

In their first trip to China, Egypt's Al Nour Wal Amal (Light and Hope) Chamber Orchestra — consisting of blind and visually impaired women musicians — will perform three concerts on 2, 5 and 6 August.

The orchestra will tour cities in China and the country's administrative region known as Hong Kong.

In the few decades of their existence, Egypt's only orchestra that embraces visualy impaired women has performed extensively in the country and toured the world.

"The orchestra played to the audiences on five continents and countless countries. However, it will be the first time for them to perform in China and Hong Kong," Amal Fikry, vice president of Al-Nour Wal Amal Association and the main dynamo behind the orchestra, told Ahram Online.

She added that though the orchestra will visit China for the first time, in the past the musicians have already performed in other Asian countries, including Japan, Thailand and India.

Many of those tours were under late maestro Ali Osman (1958-2017) who for many years also trained the musicians. Since Osman's death in February, leadership has been given to conductor and composer Mohamed Saad Basha, who has already had many years of experience of working with younger blind musicians from the same association, representing the Junior Orchestra.

Fikry also revealed that the programme prepared for China includes the best from the orchestra's repertoire, which consists mainly of Western European classical music compositions, in addition to "a special surprise for our audiences." 

Al-Nour Wal Amal association is an NGO for Egyptian blind girls founded in 1954 by a group of volunteers led by the late Istiklal Radi, with the aim of educating visually impaired girls and helping them integrate into society.

In 1961, seven years after the establishment of the association, Al-Nour Wal Amal Music Institute was founded by the late Samha El-Kholy, former dean of the Cairo Conservatory. 

Receiving international acclaim, the orchestra has been decribed as “a human miracle,” “the fourth pyramid on the Giza plateau,” and “an orchestra with no peer in the world.”

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