National Youth Orchestra of Iraq to play in Glasgow Royal Conservatoire and Greyfriars Kirk
The incredible vision of its 17 year-old Iraqi founder is brought to life in Scotland
One of the most remarkable groups performing in Edinburgh this summer is the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq. Born of the vision of young Iraqi pianist Zuhal Sultan to bring musicians of different ethnic backgrounds together in the aftermath of war, the orchestra’s visit is supported by the Scottish Government and the British Council.
Under their tireless musical director, Paul MacAlindin – who discovered the orchestra when he read of their need for a conductor in the Herald four years ago – the young players’ programme includes Julian Lloyd Webber as cello soloist and Iraqi Khyam Allami in a new concerto for oud by Gordon McPherson.
The Scottish connection is deepened through involvement with Edinburgh Youth Orchestra, who lend support with tutors and additional players. The orchestra has little access to instruments or lessons in Iraq, yet their determination to play together demonstrates triumph over adversity in bucketfuls. As MacAlindin says, ‘The orchestra is supported by goodwill from all over the world, but most of all by the amazing drive of its players, who need to play in spite of, and because of, the difficulties they’ve faced. Watching them turn trauma into growth and survival into flourishing is why I’m devoted to them.'
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Sat 25 Aug, 0141 332 5057, 7.30pm £12 (£8); Greyfriars Kirk, Sun 26 Aug, 226 0000, 7.30pm, £12 (£8).