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Classical notes from Palestine

August 5, 2016 at 2:43 pm

The Palestine Youth Orchestra concluded its first ever UK tour this week with a concert at London’s Royal Festival Hall.

Established in 2004 by the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, the orchestra performed music by Beethoven and songs by legendary Arab singers Fairuz and Um Kalthoum.

Palestinian vocalist, flutist and composer Nai Barghouti joined the orchestra.

The situation in Palestine makes it impossible for the orchestra to rehearse together in the Occupied Territories ahead of their tours and so members meet in Jordan, their manager Zeina Khouri told MEMO.

This year, the PYO was hosted in Glasgow, where they rehearsed before embarking on their UK tour which took them to Leeds, Birmingham, Cardiff and London.

Travel restrictions on Palestinians also limit the movement of the orchestra’s members and this year, two musicians from the Gaza Strip were unable to join the tour as Israel did not provide them with the necessary travel permits.