After years of civil war, a smaller Syrian National Symphony continues to rehearse and perform

Posted on: March 28, 2018

“The last remaining members of the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra … have watched seven years of civil war hollow out their lives and slowly mute the music they once played,” writes Nabih Bulos in Friday’s (3/23) Los Angeles Times. To escape the growing violence, “ ‘More than 74 musicians left us,’ … said Missak Baghboudarian, the orchestra’s conductor. ‘We had reached a really good artistic level until 2010.’ … Wistfully, he listed works that were now out of reach. ‘I can’t imagine now Beethoven’s Ninth.… Once we even did [Mahler’s] ‘Kindertotenlieder,’ he said…. By late 2012 … the opera house [in Damascus] was suddenly within range of the missiles and mortars…. Last month, Lama Fallouh, the program coordinator at the opera house, was killed in a mortar attack. For a while, there was thought of suspending the orchestra’s already reduced season. ‘But then people started calling, sending us messages on social media,’ … Baghboudarian said. Defiantly, the orchestra even performed a January concert in 2015 as some 150 rockets rained down on Damascus…. The orchestra’s season has now been reduced to about eight concerts, along with occasional performances at children’s shelters, an effort to keep alive an interest in music in the next generation.”

Posted March 28, 2018