Sunday (9/18) on the entertainment news site Monsters and Critics, Anne-Beatrice Clasmann writes, “Can an Iraqi youth orchestra, bringing together different ethnic groups and religions, help to unite a divided country living in the shadow of violence and terror? The orchestra—created on the lines of Argentine-Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim’s Arab-Jewish West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, and comprising Kurds, Arabs, Shiites, Sunnis and Christians—is ready to try. Car bombs, persecution of Christians and corruption are part of everyday life in Iraq, but the new orchestra wants to make a musical contribution toward forging a different kind of future. The orchestra, which will give its first guest performance at a Beethoven festival in the German city of Bonn on October 1, is to unite young musicians from different and usually divided ethnic and religious backgrounds. … Until now, the musicians have been meeting only in [the Kurdish northern] region, because security is tighter there than other parts of Iraq, meaning less fear of al-Qaeda terrorists or Shiite militias. They have never played together in Baghdad. The 43 musicians, aged 16 to 28, were selected on the basis of video applications sent to Scottish conductor Paul MacAlindin, who lives in Cologne, Germany.”

Posted September 21, 2011