Palestine Youth Orchestra Ends UK Tour

The Palestine Youth Orchestra was established by the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music. (Photo: occupiedpalestine)

The Palestine Youth Orchestra (PYO) concluded its first ever UK tour this week with a concert at London’s Royal Festival Hall.

Established in 2004 by the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, the orchestra performed pieces by Beethoven and songs by legendary Arab singers, Fairuz and Um Kalthoum.

Among the players was Palestinian vocalist, flutist and composer, Nai Barghouti.

Due to the Israeli occupation of Palestine, it is impossible for members of the orchestra, who come from various areas, to rehearse together ahead of their tours. As a result, members meet in Jordan, their manager Zeina Khouri told MEMO.

This year, the PYO was hosted in Glasgow where they rehearsed before embarking on their UK tour which took them to Leeds, Birmingham, Cardiff and London.

Travel restrictions on Palestinians also limit the movement of the orchestra’s members and this year, two musicians from the Gaza Strip were unable to join the tour as Israel did not provide them with the necessary travel permits.


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  1. I attended the concert at the Royal Festival Hall and it was one of the most inspiring and heart warming musical events I have ever attended. The combination of the young musicians hard-won expertise and sensibility with the palpable level of admiration, support and solidarity from the audience afforded me and everyone else there a once in a lifetime experience which I will always treasure.

  2. Together with friends I attended the orchestra’s Leeds concert which was an outstanding event. Leeds welcomed the young musicians with enthusiasm and almost lifted the roof with their appreciation at the concert’s end. The Lord Mayor explained that Israel had withheld visas for two Gazan members of the orchestra and we applauded them in sympathy for their absence. Can the Israeli government not see how much they lose by persecuting Palestinians and ignoring the rich well of talent they offer? Music unites us as this concert tour shows. I can’t wait for their next visit.

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