“Grand ambitions” for Germany’s Syrian Expat Philharmonic

Posted on: November 22, 2016

“Raed Jazbeh is the founder of the Syrian Expat Philharmonic Orchestra—a musical ensemble composed entirely of Syrians, many of whom are refugees who have fled the country’s bloody war,” writes Muhammad Darwish at CNN.com on Monday (11/21). “Raed came to Germany in 2013 on an orchestral tour from Damascus; he claimed asylum in the European country and hasn’t been back to Syria since.… Jazbeh’s hometown is Aleppo: a city currently under siege” that Jazbeh describes as “the music capital of the Middle East.…. Once in Germany, getting the orchestra off the ground wasn’t easy. ‘I started to contact my friends in Europe. It took me nine months to find them,’ Jazbeh [says].… The group performed their first concert in 2015, with 30 Syrian musicians and 20 from Germany. This year, the orchestra has 65 Syrian musicians from all over Europe, although the group is based in Bremen where Jazbeh lives…. For Raed, the orchestra isn’t a pet project—he has grand ambitions for the group.… ‘We are here to play serious music,’ he says…. ‘We cannot stop this war, so by our music we can do something. Maybe it’s very small, but it’s very important.’ ”

Posted November 22, 2016