Support the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq!


In 2009, the 17-year-old Iraqi pianist Zuhal Sultan from Baghdad realized a dream to unite the youth of her country. Her vision involved bringing together young Kurds and Arabs by offering a program of peace through music.  Thus, the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq was born.

Every year, the musicians audition via YouTube and 48 musicians between the ages of 18 and 29 are selected. They overcome ethnic, religious, language and gender barriers, to form this unique and vibrant orchestra.

Despite many hurdles, every year the young musicians go abroad to attend an intensive, three-week summer camp where they receive private and group coaching, perform for local community groups and receive standing ovations in sold-out concerts. Since 2009 these inspiring young people have successfully performed in Iraq, at Beethovenfest in Bonn, Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe, London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall and this year, the Grand Theatre in Aix-en-Provence.  Subsequently they return to Iraq with new hope and skills to rebuild their country’s musical culture creating their own ensembles and passing their newly developed skills onto others.

In 2014 they hope to attend another intensive summer program at the Aaron Copland School of Music in Queens, New York, with the newly formed National Youth Orchestra of the USA. Concerts are also planned for Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

The National Youth Orchestra of Iraq is asking for your support. As the only Iraqi group spreading the message of tolerance, respect and reconciliation they need your help to continue empowering these creative young peoples’ vision of peace through music.

Contributions may be made to the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq through the Friends of the British Council here.

Or write a check made out to the Friends of the British Council/National Youth Orchestra of Iraq, and post to:

Friends of the British Council

1025 Connecticut Avenue, Suite 1000

Washington, DC  20036

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