Bridging Israel’s Arab and Jewish communities through classical music

Posted on: May 28, 2015

On Wednesday (5/27) at New York classical radio station WQXR, Brian Wise writes about the Polyphony Foundation, “a nonprofit that aims to join Arab and Jewish communities in Israel through classical music training programs. It now has a budget of about $1 million and consists of two conservatories (in Nazareth and Jaffa), over a dozen programs in elementary schools, a youth orchestra, and the Galilee Chamber Orchestra, a professional ensemble…. [Violinist Nabeel] Abboud-Ashkar developed the foundation while he was a member of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, the ensemble consisting of young Arab, Israeli and European musicians” co-founded by Daniel Barenboim. Polyphony has offices in Nazareth and New York, “a mostly U.S.-based board of directors and [has] received some celebrity backing early on from Yoko Ono and the singer Cher. An advisory board includes soprano Renée Fleming, violinist Jennifer Koh and cellist Lynn Harrell.” Says Feras Machour, 19, a violinist and violist in the Nazareth conservatory, “The board helped me understand how music can play such an important role in bridging the divide between Arab and Jewish communities in Israel. A big part of the board is Jewish and my role as Arab person created a very strong trust.”

Posted May 28, 2015