Former refugee’s music schools in the Middle East

Posted on: July 24, 2015

“In the spring of 1996, a pair of bullet-proof Chevy Suburbans pulled into the West Bank refugee camp of Al Amari, bearing an American chamber-music ensemble to teach music to the camp’s children,” writes Ivan Solotaroff in Sunday’s (7/19) Guardian (London). “Something magical happened that day for one of those children, Ramzi Aburedwan. At 17, among the oldest assembled, he was certainly the most well-known. A photojournalist’s image [shows] Ramzi at eight, grimly but determinedly throwing a stone at Israeli tanks…. Before their return to Jerusalem, the ensemble performed Brahms’s Piano Quartet in G Minor.… That music changed Ramzi’s life, instantly and forever.…. A seed was planted: the idea of music schools for the children of the occupied territories.” He founded the first Al Kamandjâti school in Ramallah in 2005. This month the Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ, in Bethesda, Maryland, “is hosting a two-week tour of the States by Dal’Ouna, the world music ensemble Ramzi has led for more than a decade…. Now 36, Ramzi is a professional, even world-class violist” and runs Al Kamandjâti’s “eight branches in the West Bank, Gaza and Lebanon…. It also sponsors seasonal music festivals, a half-dozen ensembles and a full orchestra.”

Posted July 24, 2015