“Afghanistan’s first—and only—all-female symphony is trying to change attitudes in a deeply conservative country where many see music as immoral, especially for women,” write Karim Sharifi and Rahim Faiez in a Thursday (3/30) Associated Press report. “The symphony’s two conductors show how difficult that can be… One of them, Negin Khpolwak, was supported by her father when she joined the Afghanistan National Institute of Music and then became part of its girls’ orchestra, called Zohra. But the rest of her family was deeply against it… More than 30 girls aged 12 to 20 play in Zohra… In January, the orchestra, which performs traditional Afghan and Western Classical music, had its first international tour, appearing at the World Economic Forum in Davos and four other cities in Switzerland and Germany…. The orchestra’s other conductor, 18-year-old Zarifa Adiba, faced resistance from her family … so intense she hesitated to join the orchestra’s trip to Davos. But … when she returned, her uncles were the first to congratulate her…. ‘I changed my family, now it is time for other girls to change their families because I am sure that slowly all Afghanistan will change,’ she said.”

Posted March 31, 2017