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The National Youth Orchestra of Iraq is the brainchild of Zuhal Sultan, a young pianist from Baghdad who founded the orchestra when she was just 17 years old.  The orchestra is convening in Iraq for the first time in August 2009 for a two-week intensive course, culminating in a gala concert on Sunday, August 16 at 6:00 PM at the Arts Palace in the northern Kurdish city of Suleimaniya.  Additional classes to be offered during the summer course include conducting and chamber music, as well as master classes for woodwinds and strings.

NYOI is made up of 33 Iraqi musicians of all ethnic and religious backgrounds from Baghdad, Erbil, Suleimaniya, Ranya and Mosul.  A rigorous application and audition process was held in early 2009 to screen more than 50 applicants, and those selected were invited to Suleimaniya on full scholarship for NYOI’s first summer course.

NYOI is overseen by the artistic team of Zuhal Sultan (Founder & Artistic Director), Paul MacAlindin (Music Director) and Allegra Klein (Director of Education & Cultural Affairs), who is also the founder of Musicians For HarmonyMajid Mousa Azzawi is Director of Operations, and Michael Luongo is the course photographer.  In addition, seven music tutors are coming to Iraq from the U.S. and UK:

NYOI also offers a distance learning program, which is the outgrowth of M4H’s Mentorship Program.  Under this project, more than a dozen Iraqi music students have received one-to-one music tutoring online from artists throughout the U.S. and UK.

Funding for NYOI is provided by the British Council, the British Embassy in Iraq, the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, Barhem Salih and UNESCO.  The British charity, Making Music is also supporting this project.

For more information, contact:

Allegra Klein (US), [email protected]
Paul MacAlindin (Europe), [email protected]
Zuhal Sultan (Iraq), [email protected]

To support NYOI:


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Ode Magazine

All About Jazz

Music Industry News Network

Codex Flores

The Times of London

Musical America

Sunday Mail (UK)

The London Telegraph

The London Herald


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Inset: The Orchestra in August 2009
Above: Zuhal Sultan

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