Iraqi National Symphony conductor teaches orphans classical music

Posted on: August 1, 2012

A Reuters report posted Wednesday (8/1) on Al Arabiya News states, “The former conductor of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra Karim Wasfi has started an ambitious project to classically train orphans to become musicians. Wasfi said his initiative was inspired by Venezula’s El Sistema (The System), a well-known voluntary-sector music education program. Founded in mid-1970s by Jose Antonio Abreu, a Venezuelan pianist, politician and economics professor, El Sistema has taught hundreds of thousands of youths, many from impoverished homes in Venezuela’s tough slums, to play in orchestras.  To capture the interest of Iraqi orphans, Wasfi distributed hats and T-shirts to the children, most of whom had lost one or both of their parents in bomb attacks that swept the country after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003. Then he introduced them to musical instruments, giving them a brief explanation of each one of them. He said his project is meant to help children deal with their difficult lives and lift them out of poverty. … Founded in 2007, Wasfi’s House of Music offers classes on all western and oriental instruments, with special emphasis and focus on classical education and ensemble playing. For each course, which lasts for three months, 25 orphan children are offered classes free of charge. They are chosen randomly from the Iraqi House of Orphans, regardless of their musical skills and talents.”

Posted August 1, 2012