How Iraq youth orchestra is coping in country partly controlled by ISIS

Posted on: September 30, 2015

On Monday’s (9/28) NPR program All Things Considered, Ari Shapiro speaks with Zuhal Sultan, who six years ago “founded the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq as a teenager in the middle of a war. She brought together 40 young musicians from different Iraqi cities and sectarian backgrounds…. [Says Sultan,] ‘When I started establishing the orchestra, people would tell me, “Do you think Iraq really needs an orchestra?” … We need food, we need shelter and we need education—but we also need to be human.’ Sultan, who now lives in Glasgow, Scotland, runs the orchestra online.… The NOYI had planned to start a U.S. tour, but … ‘Unfortunately, since summer of last year, we haven’t been able to have any kind of activity because of ISIS,’ Zuhal says. ‘Some musicians who live in Mosul … have had to leave their homes.… They are destitute…. I got in contact with one of them…. He says, well, I’m still practicing because I’m waiting for when is the next time the orchestra is happening again…. I still hope that all of the efforts that were put into this tour should not be wasted, and so we’re still hoping to bring the orchestra to the states.’ ”

Posted September 30, 2015