News / Middle East

Young Nazareth Musicians Bridge Cultural Divide

A chamber music concert in Washington, DC is not unusual - even a concert where the players are young.  But this concert is something special – it features Arab and Jewish Israeli musicians playing works of Bach, Mozart and Vivaldi.

Polyphony was co-founded by violinist and teacher Nabeel Abboud-Askhar with backing from pop diva Cher and financier Craig Cogut and his wife Deborah.  The goal is to provide classical music education to Arab Israelis who otherwise would not have it.

Related video:

The D.C. concert – the final stop on a seven-city U.S. tour – featured works by Bach, Mozart, and Vivaldi and showcased the talents of several of the young musicians.

Abboud-Ashkar – himself one of the world’s most prominent Palestinian musicians – grew up in Nazareth, but left his home town to study violin in Europe.  He returned to Tel Aviv University with degrees and physics and music.  He completed his master’s degree at the Hochschule fur Musik, in Rostock, Germany, under Professor Axel Wilczok. Abboud-Ashkar wants to provide the music education he had to leave his home town to receive.

However, some obstacles had to be overcome before parents and teachers would embrace classical music in schools in Nazareth.

“I can tell you that when we first started working and we came to the schools and we came to the parents and we said ‘classical music is important, it is important for education; it develops the minds, the hearts, the souls of the students’ it was not so taken for granted or understood,” he said.

Abboud-Ashkar’s college roommate, violist Amit Landau and cellist Anat Nevo, are teachers in the program. Landau said that music might not bridge every gap, but it helps foster communication.

“It can bridge a certain divide in Israel that is coming because of lack of comprehension – like the simple comprehension between two people,” he said.  “And that is also very important. I mean you cannot change the world politically speaking without people starting talking with each other – having fun, having music together,” the musician said.

Anat Nevo who speaks only a little Arabic – says music has bridged even the language barrier with her students.

“And the beautiful thing is that it sounds like a barrier, but it is amazing to see how they insist to have the lessons by themselves without their parents so we can communicate, just the two of us because it’s part of the lesson,” she said.  “And so it’s a marvelous thing in my opinion.”

Both Nevo and Landau travel two hours from their homes to teach the children in Nazareth. But both also say they gladly make the drive in order to help Abboud-Ashkar bring musical training to children who otherwise would not have it.

Polyphony means “the convergence of a number of largely independent voices and melodies that harmonize with each other.”

Abboud-Ashkar says that his hope is that this ensemble will help personify that definition and will show how music can bring harmony to people of all backgrounds.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid