Overview:The National Youth Orchestra of Iraq is a remarkable project set up by a brave 17-year-old Iraqi, Zuhal Sultan, just four years ago. Despite the lack of infrastructure in Iraq – all the music tutors fled Iraq during the war – Zuhal decided to create a national orchestra anyway. Recruiting and auditioning musicians each year from across Iraq via YouTube, and sourcing the conductor, Paul MacAlindin, over the internet, the orchestra of self-taught musicians has gone from strength to strength.
Each year the young Iraqi musicians get together for an annual summer school where they receive their only musical tuition for the year from carefully selected UK, German and American tutors. This two week summer school is full of learning and activity and culminates in a concert. Last year the orchestra was invited to perform at the Beethovenfest in Bonn. This concert was met with a media whirlwind, was attended by the German President, and finished with a roar from the audience and a standing ovation.
In 2012, the orchestra visited Edinburgh at the invitation of the Scottish Government and performed in the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow, Greyafriar's Kirk, Edinburgh and Queen Elisabeth Hall, London to critical acclaim.
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NYOI is a member of the European Federation of National Youth Orchestras and the League of American Orchestras.