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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-11-28

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From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Palestine Youth Orchestra plays to packed audience at the Megaron

  • [01] Palestine Youth Orchestra plays to packed audience at the Megaron

    Playing before a packed audience of all ages and descriptions at the Athens Megaron Concert Hall on Sunday night, the young musicians of the Palestine Youth Orchestra - ranging in age from 12 to 26 years old - put on a powerful and accomplished performance that many a professional musician would have been proud of.

    Conductor Sian Edwards, leading the PYO for the third time, ran a tight ship as she put her players through their paces in a diverse programme that included elements of both east and west. This ranged from classical music like Haydn to a medley from Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess" but also three traditional Arab songs performed by vocalists Oday Al-Khattab, Rawan Elleyan and Osama Diab and some haunting orchestral pieces by Arab composers Ahmad Al-Khatib (Mystifying Transparencies), John Bisharat (Elegy in a Country Churchyard) and Issa Boulos (The Street Your House is On & The Street Your House is on, on a Different Day). The last was commissioned specially by the PYO and premiered for its 2010 concerts at the Jordan Festival and on Sunday at the Megaron.

    Their polished performance was perhaps even more remarkable when one considers the troubled background against which it has emerged, within cities torn by strife such as Gaza and Ramallah. Oday, for example was born in a refugee camp in Hebron and now studies music in Ramallah, as does Osama Diab. The beautiful Rawan Elleyan with her warm, rich voice was born in Gaza in 1991. Both Diab and Elleyan won the National Music Competition in Palestine in 2010.

    The event was brought to the Megaron courtesy of the sponsors, the Athens-based Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) and CCC President Said Khouri.

    The evening was kicked off by the Palestinian ambassador in Athens Samir Abou Ghazaleh, who addressed an auditorium in which most leaders of Greek political parties in Parliament were either present or represented, as well as several Greek artists and celebrities. The Palestinian Authority and its president Mahmoud Abbas were represented by Dr. Nabil Shaath.

    Party leaders in the audience included Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga, Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras and Democratic Left President Fotis Kouvelis.

    From the ruling PASOK party came PASOK National Council Secretary Mihalis Karhimakis and former Parliament president Apostolos Kaklamanis, head of the Greek Parliament's Greece-Palestine Friendship Committee, as well as Deputy Labour Minister Anna Dalara, who arrived with her husband, the popular Greek singer George Dalaras.

    The Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party was represented by MP Adonis Georgiadis, accompanied by his wife and TV presenter Evgenia Manolidou, while the new Democratic Alliance party headed by Dora Bakoyannis was represented by MP Kostas Kiltidis.

    Other notable appearances included those of popular Greek composer Dionysis Savvopoulos, film director Nikos Koundouros and veteran politician Manolis Glezos, among others.

    The Palestine Youth Orchestra is the 'flagship' of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music. It was created in 2004 and today consists of 55 young Palestinian musicians who come from the Palestinian territory and former Palestinian areas and from the Palestinian diaspora, living in neighbouring countries such as Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt but also Europe and America.

    They frequently have guest players and this year there were four Greek musicians that joined the PYO at its annual workshop and six Greeks played with the PYO during Sunday night's concert in Athens.

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

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