If you’ve ever dug into the comparative mythology of the Hero’s Journey, first brought to light by Joseph Campbell in “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”, you’ll know that something deep, unspoken exists in all of us, raring to get out, tear us apart, stitch us back together and return us to life forever changed. UPBEAT is the story of how a very unlikely group of young Iraqis and their friends put themselves though such a mill to forge a national youth orchestra for Iraq.
Sitting on a bed in an Iraqi hotel room in 2009, waiting for my first radio interview about the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq, I picked up the phone to a BBC Radio Scotland reporter who informed me he’d barely woken up and was nursing his first cup of coffee. Just to spite me for getting him into the studio so early, his opening salvo went:
“So, most people would think this is a pretty strange career move, wouldn’t they?” I burst out laughing and told him how honoured I…Continue
I've followed the National Youth Orchestra of USA since its beginning, as Music Director of the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq. We were in discussions early on about working together, but as our plans developed in different directions, as is often the case, our projects developed different complexions. I'm still very fond of NYO USA, and completely understand the sheer amount of work that a national youth orchestra takes. Their team have my sympathies!
It's been a brutal few months. Building a team in the USA, and managing my musicians and team in Iraq, whilst sitting in Starbucks in Rudolfplatz, Cologne, Germany, where I live, hammering away on my laptop. Thus is the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq's 2014 Summer Camp and US tour being organised.
We're a pro-bono team involving the NGO of the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq in Baghdad, the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Iraq Foundation, the US Embassy in Baghdad,…Continue