Monday, December 18, 2006

The 1950 Law for Renouncing Iraqi Jewish Citizenship

We failed to find any mention in any English source about the content of the 1950 law, which was passed by the Iraqi government in reference to Iraqi Jewish citizenship after the establishment of the State of Israel (1948). Most sources indicate that Iraqi Jews were persecuted and forced to migrate out of Iraq. Not only this is not true, the content of the 1950 law below proves it entirely WRONG.

The 1950 law's content has been published in various Arabic sources including (but not limited to) the Taareekh al-Wizaaraat al-Iraqiyya by Abdur-Razzaq al-Hasany and Safahaat min Taareekhil Iraqil Hadeeth by Hamid al-Hamdany. The 1950 law appears in its entirety in both of the above mentioned sources. In Hamid al-Hamdany's book, the articles of this law are enlisted in chapter 13 and can be accessed at

http://www.hamid-alhamdany.com/side/al_kotob/tarikh_01/Chapter13.htm


The 1950 law for Renouncing Iraqi Jewish Citizenship:

In Arabic
قانون إسقاط الجنسية عن اليهود العراقيين:ا

المادة الأولى : لمجلس الوزراء أن يقرر إسقاط الجنسية العراقية عن اليهودي العراقي الذي يرغب باختيار منه ترك
العراق نهائياً، بعد توقيعه على استمارة خاصة، أمام الموظف الذي يعينه وزير الداخلية

المادة الثانية : اليهودي العراقي الذي يغادر العراق، أو يحاول مغادرته بصورة غير شرعية تسقط عنه الجنسية العراقية
بقرار من مجلس الوزراء

المادة الثالثة : اليهودي العراقي الذي سبق له أن غادر العراق بصورة غير شرعية يعتبر كأنه ترك العراق بصورة نهائية إذا لم يعد إليه خلال مهلة شهرين من نفاذ هذا القانون، وتسقط عنه الجنسية من تاريخ انتهاء هذه المهلة
المادة الرابعة : على وزير الداخلية أن يأمر بإبعاد كل من أسقطت عنه الجنسية العراقية بموجب المادتين الأولى والثانية، ما لم يقتنع بناء على أسباب كافية بأن بقاءه في العراق مؤقتاً أمر تستدعيه ضرورة قضائية، أو قانونية، أو حفظ حقوق الغير الموثقة رسمياً

المادة الخامسة : يبقى هذا القانون نافذاً لمدة سنة من تاريخ نفاذه، ويجوز إنهاء حكمه في أي وقت خلال هذه المدة بإرادة ملكية تنشر في الجريدة الرسمية

المادة السادسة : ينفذ هذا القانون من تاريخ نشره في الجريدة الرسمية

المادة السابعة : على وزير الداخلية تنفيذ هذا القانون


كتب في بغداد في الثاني من شهر آذار سنة ألف وتسعمائة وخمسون ميلادية

ولم يكد يصدر هذا القانون حتى بادرت الطائرات الأمريكية بنقل اليهود المسقطة عنهم الجنسية إلى قبرص، ومنها إلى إسرائيل في بداية الأمر، ثم قامت برحلات مباشرة إلى إسرائيل فيما بعد، حيث تم نقل 130 ألف يهودي، تعزيزاً للدولة العبرية ورفدها بالطاقة البشرية) . ا

In English
The Law for Renouncing Iraqi Jewish Citizenship:
Submitted to the Iraqi Parliament on 2 March 1950

Article 1: The Council of Ministers decides to revoke the Iraqi citizenship of the Iraqi Jew who voluntarily chooses to leave Iraq conclusively, after signing a special form before the official appointed by the Interior Minister.

Article 2: The Iraqi Jew who leaves Iraq or tries to leave it illegally will have his citizenship revoked by decree from the Council of Ministers.

Article 3: The Iraqi Jew who previously and illegally left Iraq is considered as having left Iraq conclusively unless he returns to it within two months from the effective date of this law. His citizenship will be revoked after this period’s expiration date.

Article 4: The Interior Minister will order the deportation of everyone whose citizenship was canceled according to articles 1 & 2 of this law, if the Minister is not convinced, based on sufficient reasons, that [the person’s] stay in Iraq is temporarily required by a judicial or legal necessity or the protection of the officially documented rights of others.

Article 5: This law remains valid for a period of one year from its effective date. The law can be terminated at any time by a Royal Decree published in the Official Gazette.

Article 6: This law shall be implemented from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.

Article 7: The Interior Minister shall implement this law.
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If you know of a non-Arabic source (in any language) that enlists the articles of the 1950 law above, kindly email it to historyofiraq@gmail.com

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

INSO E-Newsletter: Episode 17


Bimonthly Newsletter
Of the
IRAQI National Symphony Orchestra (INSO)
Episode 17 
October 2003
The 2nd Anniversary
Distributed by Al-Wafaa Website: http://www.INEAS.org/al-wafaanews

(*_*) (*_*) (*_*) (*_*) (*_*)

"Music is everything that war isn't"

Nobar Pashtikian, INSO, Baghdad

____________________

Inside This Issue:
1. Announcements
2. News & Reports
3. Reestablishing The INSO by Laman Al-Bakri
4. INSO's "Founders & Early Initiators" Part II

---------------------- 

1. Announcements:

The Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra (INSO) will be performing at the Kennedy Center on December 9th at 6 PM. The FREE concert has been sponsored by the Kennedy Center and the State Department. No information is yet available regarding advanced reservations. The Kennedy Center will post information about the event on their website after November 15th.

Unless we receive a yearly subscription of $10 from at least one hundred subscribers, this bimonthly e-newsletter will be discontinued in 2004. The final episode will be sent on or by December 24. This bimonthly newsletter has been in existence since September 2001. The first episode was emailed in October 2001. It has been maintained solely by Wafaa' Al-Natheema and has been costing her a tremendous amount of time, energy and money (mainly in the form of long distance calls to members of the writing/editing team). This yearly subscription will help cover the cost incurred by members of the writing/editing team. Thousands of hours of researching, writing, editing and email corresponding have been spent since September 2001. For those who wish to send the yearly subscription, you will be provided with the mailing address when we receive email requests from at least one hundred individuals by November 15. Otherwise, this e-newsletter will be discontinued.
(*_*)_________________(*_*)

2. News & Reports


* In early September, the Institute of Near Eastern & African Studies (INEAS) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, received a small shipment of strings for violin, viola and cello from two companies in Australia; The Violineri, Inc. and Alex W. Grant Violins.

* The September issue (2003) of Strad Magazine, published in the UK, featured a paragraph on the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra (INSO) mentioning the Orchestra's establishment, recent performance and needs providing INEAS's email address. As a result of this paragraph, the Australian companies contacted INEAS and donated strings (see news above)

* From a September-8th report (sent via email), Hisham Sharaf,the director of the INSO reported that Omar Abdul Razzak, a cello player with the INSO and the Baghdad Music Group, was injured in the August bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad. Omar was treated in Amman, Jordan. In a recent email from Nahla Jajjo, former INSO violinist (in Paris), she reported that Omar is well and currently living in Amman.

* In the early part of September, Hisham Sharaf met with representatives from UNESCO and UNICEF as well as with the Swiss Ambassador in Baghdad to identify the list of needs for both the INSO and the Music & Ballet School. No information has been provided since then as to whether donations have been actually received by the INSO from the above mentioned entities.

* In late October, donations, in the form of money as well as new and old strings for various instruments, were received by INEAS. Howard Hersch mailed the package from Nevada City, CA. Hersch and Anna Gold sent two checks. Lena Andaya of Sacramento, Anna Gold, Nancy Hill and Judy Bromley of Nevada City as well as Members of the Auburn Symphony in Auburn, CA, all contributed strings.

* The Women's delegation (which has been organized by INEAS) will be arriving in Iraq in the end of November. Details about the trip's duration, reports on the meeting with musicians of the INSO in Baghdad and about the donations given to members of the Orchestra will all be included in the December episode of this bimonthly newsletter. Donations are still being collected by INEAS and should be received on or by November 3rd. If unable to send musical spare parts or checks by that date and still wish to make a donation, Credit Card donations are accepted over the phone. Contact information for the Institute of Near Eastern & African Studies (INEAS) is as follows:
P.O. Box 425125 Cambridge, MA 02142 USA

* Laman Al-Bakri (in London) and Mohammed Siddiq (in Amman) recently joined this newsletter's writing/editing team. It was due to Laman's efforts and persistence that the Iraqi Symphony Orchestra was reestablished in 1971. Details on her background appear under Founders and Early Initiators (Part II) below. She has written an article for this episode detailing her personal account by mentioning her work in reestablishing the Orchestra. The team also welcomes Mohammed Siddiq who currently lives in Jordan. He began studying piano at the age of six, then continued his studies at The Music and Ballet School in Baghdad where he obtained his diploma in Piano. On scholarship, Siddiq attended the Gnesins State Academy of Moscow and obtained his Masters Degree. In 1991, he became the conductor of the INSO. Since 1994, he has been the conductor of the National Music Conservatory of Noor al Hussein Foundation in Jordan. His compositions won the First Composition Prize at Baghdad's 2nd Competition, the Grand Prize in the 6th Arab Songs Competition in Cairo-Egypt, and the First Prize at the 2nd Jordanian Song Competition in 2002.

////////////////

3. Re-establishing The INSO -- A Personal Account
By Laman Al-Bakri

The Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra (INSO) has been established in the 1950s. As a matter of fact, the Orchestra's musicians have been active in rehearsals and concerts more than a decade earlier, until it ceased its activities in 1966. As a music lover with a diploma from the Institute of Fine Arts in piano, I realized that the time was ripe for reestablishing the INSO knowing I was working at the Ministry of Information. So I had along talk with the Minister, Shafiq al-Kamaly in 1969/70. After presenting him with a detailed report, he encouraged me to go ahead with the project.At that time, I was the coordinator between the foreign cultural institutes in Baghdad (i.e. the German Goethe Institute) and the Ministry of Culture.

The Goethe Institute was the most active educational entity in music at that time. So I approached its representative for an advice, and simultaneously I contacted some of the members of the Orchestra for advice as well.We had to assign a conductor first, but whom? Also our budget needed extensive planning. We had to choose a place for rehearsals and a proper hall for concerts. After a while, the Goethe Institute came up with a proposal to help choose a conductor and to assist in paying him salary from the budget assigned to them for cultural exchange. I submitted the name and the proposal to the Minister, Al-Kamaly, who instructed me to get the approval of the Ministry of Finance and promised to allocate money for the members of the Orchestra as a part-time job. Thanks to the Minister of Finance, Mr. Amin Abdul Karim, who was a music lover as well, for his efforts in obtain money and the approval of the contract from the Revolutionary Council, which was necessary to Assign Mr. Mommer as the German conductor for the Orchestra.

Mr. Mommer arrived in Baghdad in 1971, and immediately began to form the members of the Orchestra. Because we didn't have any professionals at that time, he hired some of the musicians who were working at the Institute of Fine Arts and chose German musicians as well. Then I started seeking places for rehearsals. Because I was responsible for managing the Ballet School, which later became known as the Music and Ballet School, I was able to cultivate a large room for rehearsals of both the students and the Orchestra members. After extensive efforts, we were able to utilize the Khuld Hall and began in 1971 to give concerts on a monthly basis. Although I left the Ministry, and therefore, my involvement with the INSO in 1973, I was proud to be not just the main reason for the re-establishment of the INSO, but for allowing the INSO move ahead with many achievements including its tours in Russia in 1976 and Lebanon in the early 1980s.

--------------------------------
Former Minister 
Shafiq Al-Kamaly
 (1930-1984)


Lived and studied in Iraq. He also studied literature in Egypt. Al-Kamaly became the Minister of Youth and Information in the 1970s and the head of the Union of Arab Writers. He is a published poet. One of his translated (from Arabic) poems is entitled,"Coda." It reads:
They say in my village
I was born
With one hand placed
Over my heart
The men said
This child will live
With the heart of a prophet
And the women of the tribe"Rejoice!" they said
Hailing the future lover But the old men
Were holding back their tears
And keeping calm.
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4. "Founders & Early Initiators" [Part II]

In this part, we acknowledge Sami Al-Sheikh QassimFu'ad MishuMunir Allahwerdi and Petros Hanna Petros from the earliest decade of rehearsals and performances during the 1940s. We also acknowledge Laman Al-Bakri for her efforts in reestablishing the INSO in 1971.
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Fu'ad Mishu
 (b. 1922 in Baghdad - )

Joined The Music Institute (later the Fine Arts Institute) in 1937 where he studied Clarinet under Hanna Petros, Oud under Muhiddin Heidar, and Violin under Sandu Albu. He studied andworked in engineering simultaneously. Fu'ad played Clarinet with the Wind Instrument Band of the Institute. As a violin player, he joined the first Orchestra's performance, organized within the FAI at the Iraqi Royal Medical College in early 1940s. When the Orchestra was reorganized in 1948-49, Fu'ad was the 2nd violin leader. Fu'ad and his brothers Luis (on Cello) and Nathum (on Clarinet) were among the members of the Orchestra since its reformation in 1948-49. He moved to the USA three decades ago where he continued performing, lecturing and holding musical sessions. He currently lives in Knoxville, TN.
*********************

Munir Allahwerdi
 (b.1926 in Basra - )

Joined the Fine Arts Institute in Baghdad in October 1942. He Performed in many chamber music and orchestralconcerts in Iraq as well as on radio and TV from 1945 mainlyas solo clarinetist and sometimes as contrabassist. Created thefirst clarinet class and taught the instrument at the Fine ArtsInstitute. Graduated as a civil engineer from the Engineering College and as clarinetist from the Fine Arts Institute in Baghdad 1948. Earned Master's of Science from the State University ofIowa. Munir worked as the head of the Arab States unit at the UNFinancing System for Science and Technology for Development1980-1985. In 1985, Munir retired in Vienna where he formed agroup of chamber music players from various well-knownorchestras and performed in Vienna and in Finland.

(*_*)_______________(*_*)


Laman Al-Bakri
 (b.1929 in Baghdad-- )

A Lawyer and an Art Critic. In 1954, she earned a BA inLaw (Baghdad University) and a Diploma in Music focusing on Piano at the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad.In the 1970s, she became Director of Culture at the Ministry of Culture and Guidance where she managed to reestablishing the INSO and the School for Ballet, then combined it with the School for Music to become the School for Music and Ballet. She currently lives in London.
*************

Petros Hanna Petros
 (b.1930 in Baghdad -1998)

A Graduate of the Fine Arts Institute (FAI), where he studied Trumpet under Hanna Petros, and Violin, under Jamil Saeed. He held a Business Administration Degree. In addition to his principle profession as an accountant then an entrepreneur, he played an important role in the music education as a teacher at the FAI. He played with almost every musical group organized within the FAI, wind instrument bands, chamber music groups and the Symphony Orchestra. He also played French Horn and Percussion. Petros along with his two brothers, Sabah and Bassim, and their father, Hanna Petros, were among the members of the Orchestra since its reformation in 1948-49. In 1959, Petros held the post of leader of the Brass Section. He moved to the UK in 1977 and lived there until he passed away in 1998.
///////////////

Sami Qassim
 (b. in Baghdad, d. in the USA, years unavailable)

Dr. Sami Abdul Razzaq Al Shaikh Qassim who died in the USA as Dr. Sami Kassim was among the earliest founders of the INSO. Qassim studied violin at the Fine Arts Institute under the tutoring of Sandu Albu for the years 1941-1946 while attending the Royal Medical College in Baghdad. He organized several concerts at the college. Sami can be credited for the establishment of the first Iraqi string quartet during the early 1940s. Members of the quartet were Sami Qassim as first violinist, Nouri Mustafa Behjet and Mahmoud Al Awqati alternating as second violinists, Mustafa Ibrahim Edhem as viola player and Hagop Kouyoumdjian as cellist. The quartet performed for the Baghdad (short wave) Radio service. Sami formed string quartets wherever he resided and played in local community orchestras as a first violinist and concert master. He passed away while in the USA due to cancer possibly in 1992.

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The INSO Writing/Editing Team:

Laman Al-Bakri, Lawyer, Art Critic [England]
Munir Allahwerdi, Clarinet Player, Engineer (INSO) [Austria]
Wafaa' Al-Natheema, List Moderator & Concert Tour Organizer [USA]
Agnes Bashir, Pianist, Composer (INSO) [Jordan]
Munther J. Hafeth, Composer, Musician (INSO) [IRAQ]
Nahla Jajo, Violinist, Architect (INSO) [France]
Beatrice Ohanessian, Composer, Pianist (INSO) [USA]
Bassim H. Petros, Cellist, Music Critic (INSO) [New Zealand]
Zaid E. Shawket, Violinist, Mathematician (INSO) [France]
Mohammed O. Siddiq, Conductor, Composer (INSO) [Jordan]

INSO E-Newsletter: Episode 16

Bimonthly Newsletter
Of the
IRAQI National Symphony Orchestra (INSO)
Episode 16 
 August 2003
The 2nd Anniversay

Distributed by Al-Wafaa News Website: http://www.INEAS.org/al-wafaanews

(*_*) (*_*) (*_*) (*_*) (*_*)

Dear Subscribers:

This INSO bimonthly newsletter will be celebrating its SECOND anniversary in September. We would like to thank you for your commentary and encouragement and for making it an interesting task.I would like to acknowledge the great efforts of the writing/editing team, which have been instrumental in the success of this e-newsletter. Our prayers go to one of the w/e team's members in IRAQ, Munther J.Hafeth, to all musicians of the INSO and to the courageous and patient people of IRAQ.

We would like to know from those of you who live in the USA, Canada and Europe whether you will be willing (Starting in September) to contribute yearly subscription of $10. This will help us pay for the cost of placing all INSO e-newsletters on our website and cover some of the cost for publishing a book on the history of the INSO. Please note that not participating in the yearly dues will not affect your subscription status. But it will be greatly appreciated.Non-subscribers will not receive anymore emails. If interested, please see subscription's simple instructions below.

I wish you a pleasant and a relaxing fall.

Cordially,
Wafaa' Al-Natheema



"The only message that we were able to deliver in our performances was one of survival. That we were able to stay alive through all those years."

Imad Youssef, INSO violinist living in IRAQ

**********************

Inside This Issue:


1. News & Reports
2. History of The INSO by Wafaa' Al-Natheema
3. INSO's "Founders & Early Initiators"


_____________________

1. News & Reports:

* Thanks to the efforts of Lewis Brinin, a violinist with the Florida Orchestra, PIRASTRO in Germany and THOMASTICK in Austria have contributed a generous amount of strings to the INSO. They were received by the Institute of Near Eastern & African Studies (INEAS) in Cambridge, MA., which is collecting donations to the INSO and Music & Ballet School in Baghdad. INEAS is still welcoming/receiving donations from various organizations/benefits, working to form a women delegation to take the donation to IRAQ in the fall and organizing another benefit to raise more funds. The BBC will cover the women delegation should they arrive in Baghdad by mid of October and coincide with an INSO performance. More details on donations and the trip to IRAQ will be included in the October and/or December episodes.

* Munther J. Hafeth and Hisham Sharaf of the INSO will be part of the Arabic Music Symposium in Morocco from October 1st to October 10th. Both currently live in Baghdad.

* The Institute of Near Eastern & African Studies received a fax on July 9th from Music in the Middle East, an international music council, UNESCO, investigating the possibilities of inviting the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra(INSO) to Amsterdam, Holland. After debating the dates whether in November or February, Neil Van Der Linden, of Music in the Middle East, decided to work on inviting the INSO in February.

* Beatrice Ohanessian, former INSO pianist and composer, has been recently interviewed on German radio stations by producer/host George Hersch, thanks to Lewis Brinin, a violinist with the Florida Orchestra. These stations were Deutschland Radio Berlin (airs nationwide), WDR Dortmund/Cologne (airs all over Western Germany), and SWR Baden-Baden (airs all over Southwestern Germany).

__________________________

2. History of the INSO
By Wafaa' Al-Natheema

In documenting the history of the INSO, the decade of the 1940s seems to be the period during which the admiration of western classical music inspired its birth. Such admiration was evident in the live performances that took place featuring symphonies, concertos and others from the Baroque, Classic and Romantic periods. However the INSO was not the first musical entity in Iraq. Several orchestras and conservatories were founded before the spark of activities of the INSO (see this episode's Founders & Early Initiators of the INSO). One such notable institution was The Music Institute, which was established in 1936. Five years later, The Music Institute was renamed The Institute of Fine Arts whereby a Chamber Orchestra was formulated.

Hanna Petros conducted this Orchestra's early performance at the Royal College of Medicine. In an earlier article I wrote for this INSO e-newsletter (September 2002), documenting from a couple of sources that in 1948, The Baghdad Philharmonic Society (BPS) was founded in affiliation with the Institute of Fine Arts. But Munir Allahwerdi, former INSO clarinetist, wrote in an email dated August 22 quoting the Constitution of the BPS as follows:

"Section 1, Article 1; The Society was formed by members of the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad in 1950...." This led me to believe that perhaps 1948 was the unofficial or the non-documented year of the Society's establishment!The BPS, then, formed the Baghdad Symphony Orchestra, which was composed of the Institute's students and teachers as well as musicians from the Army Band. Sandu Albu, Romanian violin professor, supervised the Baghdad Symphony Orchestra, which gave performances in Baghdad at the hall of the Institute of Fine Arts and at the King Faisal Hall as well as in Kirkuk (North of Iraq). In 1959, the Orchestra became officially known as the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra (INSO), within the Ministry of Guidance. Before 1959, all musicians used to perform on volunteer basis. This is why many sources indicate that the establishment of the INSO was actually in that year. However, majority of this Orchestra's musicians used to perform voluntarily under a different name, so their activities and contributions should be part of the INSO's history.

Due to Iraq's instability during the 1960s, the Orchestra was shut down a couple of times. In 1971, by special efforts of Ms. Lamaan Al-Bekri (of the Ministry of Information) and a joint preparatory committee (M. Hafeth, I. Ad.ham, B. Petros and the late A. Ali), the INSO resumed its activities under the baton of Hans G. Mommer (German Conductor) and began to perform inside and outside of Iraq. The Orchestra reached its glory in the 1970s and early 1980s during which they toured in Lebanon and Russia and numbered as many as fifty-five musicians. Since its early stage in the 1940s, the INSO has had twenty-two (Iraqi and foreign) conductors. The Orchestra did not just perform classical works by European composers, but had also presented works composed by Iraqi, Middle Eastern and foreign musicians.

The list of Iraqi composers includes (but not limited to) Hanna PetrosFarid AllahwerdiMunther J. HafethAdbul Razzak Al-AzzawiBeatrice OhanessianMunir BashirKhalil IsmaelAbdul Amir As-SarrafAgnes BashirHussein QaddouriMohammed Amin IzzetAbdallah JamalZaid Othman and others. Bassim H. Petros, former INSO cellist, quotes Sandu Albu (Conductor, Violinist) saying, "in view of my experience here in Iraq, whenever we think of forming an orchestra, it would - for sure - be made of family member players." The family atmosphere within the Orchestra was evident since the 1940s and can be illustrated in the list below:

- Hanna Petros (Tympani and Bassoon) and sons; Petros Hanna Petros (Trumpet, Corn, Percussion), Sabah Hanna Petros (Clarinet), Bassim Hanna Petros (Cello and Contrabass).

- Fuad Mishu (Clarinet, then Violin), Lewis Mishu (Cello), Nadhim Mishu (Clarinet),

- Munir Allahwerdi (Clarinet, Contrabass) and brother Farid Allahwerdi (Violin, Viola),

- Aram Tajirian (Violin), Onik Tajirian (Clarinet).

The INSO has toured in Russia, Azerbaijan, Lebanon and Jordan. The last tour in Jordan was during the embargo in 1992. The INSO's last and most successful performance before this year's bombing on March 19th was on Christmas Day, 2002. An article (dated December 26) about this concert was featured in the NY Times. Munther J. Hafeth, still viola player of the INSO in Baghdad, once was quoted saying, "my target is to bring the INSO over to the 21st Century." Although the Orchestra made it through the 21st Century, it was not a blossoming entrance due to the embargo and wars and, so it stayed fairly unknown! The hope is to see it perform outside of Iraq and allow it to tell the story of the predicament as well as people's feelings, survival and accomplishments through music. Since I attended a live performance by the INSO in February 1999 in Baghdad, the idea of having the INSO tour the USA has been growing limbs. Of course the INSO is among several ideas that are causing limbs to grow in me, not to mention that the more the wars, bombs and calamity, the more the limbs due to survival instincts and being adamant! I feel like a haunted OCTOPUS!

Sources:
* Documents by the Ministry of Information
* Constitution of the Baghdad Philharmonic Society
* Munir Allahwerdi
* Bassim H. Petros

****************************

3. "Founders & Early Initiators" [Part I]

This is part 1 of the list of Founders & Early Initiators. The alphabetic list includes (but not limited to) Farid Allahwerdi, Munir Allahwerdi, Aram Baboukhian, Hamdi S. Kaddouri, Hagob Keyomjian, Fuad Mishu, Hanna Petros, Petros H. Petros, Sami S. Qassim, Fuad Ridha and Aram Tajirian.

Some of the later initiators were Munther J. Hafeth, Bassim H. Petros and others. In this part, we acknowledge Hanna Petros, Farid Allahwerdiand Munther J. Hafeth.

1. Hanna Petros (1896-1958)
Composer, music educator and the founder of music education in IRAQ, which included (but not limited to) the Iraqi Army MusicDepartment (1923), the Baghdad Music Conservatory (1936)and the Iraqi Police Music Band (1941).His "Rondo Oriental" was composed in 1937 for piano soloand was presented by the Romanian pianist and pianoinstructor, Julian Hertz, at the conservatory in Baghdad,as well as in Paris, Geneva and London during the 1940s.In the year 1976, the Orchestra's Russian conductor Youri Alieve converted the piece (Rondo Oriental) for string orchestra. It was performed by the INSO in Baghdad, Beruit, Moscow and Amman.Hanna's works included national songs, marshes for WindBand and works for solo violin and piano.

2. Farid Allahwerdi (b. 1924 in Basra- )
A composer of modern music and a member of the International Federation of Composers. He studiedcomposition in Paris, Moscow and New York.His composition "Al-Mansooriyya" symphonic poemaired on Moscow radio in 1958.In 1950, Allahwerdi earned a Diploma in Music, violin, from the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad. Then completed a Master's degree in Music Composition from The Hunter College in NY. For over a decade, he taught musical education, theory and instruments, mainly violin and viola, at the Yarmouk University in Irbid, Jordan.Allahwerdi currently lives and composes in Dublin, Ireland.

3. Munther J. Hafeth (b. 1931 in Baghdad - )
A composer and viola player of the INSO since 1950. Mr. Hafeth joined the Institute of Fine Arts in 1949 and graduated in 1957.His studies in England included interior decoration, viola and composition.One of his earliest compositions, "Dijla River Banks," based on the theme of "Ala Shawati Dijla Mor" song, written for String Quartet. This work was later revised for a string Orchestra by the Hungarian violin instructor & conductor George Man and performed by the INSOin Baghdad and was recorded by Baghdad radio station in 1974. Other compositions were performed by theINSO during the 1970s and 80s. Hafeth currently lives in Baghdad, IRAQ and continues to perform with the INSO.

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"THERE IS NO ART WITHOUT CRITICISM"
Munther J. Hafeth

___________________

The INSO Writing/Editing Team:

Munir Allahwerdi, Clarinet Player, Engineer (INSO) [Austria]
Wafaa' Al-Natheema, List Moderator & Concert Tour Organizer [USA]
Agnes Bashir, Pianist, Composer (INSO) [Jordan]
Munther J. Hafeth, Composer, Musician (INSO) [IRAQ]
Nahla Jajo, Violinist, Architect (INSO) [France]
Beatrice Ohanessian, Composer, Pianist (INSO) [USA]
Bassim H. Petros, Cellist, Music Critic (INSO) [New Zealand]
Zaid Esmat Shawket, Violinist, Mathematician (INSO) [France]

INSO E-Newsletter: Episode 15


Bi-Monthly Newsletter
Of the
IRAQI National Symphony Orchestra (INSO)
Episode 15 June 2003
Distributed by Al-Wafaa NewsWebsite: http://www.INEAS.org/al-wafaanews

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In This Episode:

1. News
2. INSO Report by Zaid Esmat Shawkat
3. Music Schools and Musicians of Baghdad -- A Personal Account by Agnes Bashir
4. Jawad Saleem Part II: A Personal Accountby Munir Allahwerdi
5. In Memory of Daoud Al-Qaisy by Bassim Petros


1. NEWS:

* The IRAQI National Symphony Orchestra (INSO) gave a successful performance in Baghdad on June 12 at the French Cultural Center. Another concert was performed on June 27th, which was coveredon CNN. More details about this performance are provided in a report by Zaid Esmat Shawkat and included in this episode (below)

* We are pleased to welcome composer and pianist Agnes Bashir, and former violinist and (INSO's) previous concert master, Zaid Esmat Shawkat, to the writing/editing team of this bimonthly e-newsletter. Agnes Bashir, I.O.M., aside from her long and important involvement at the Music and Ballet School in Baghdad, has accompanied the INSO on the piano and has composed numerous pieces for the Orchestra to perform. She currently resides in Jordan. Her "April Festivities" composition was the talk of people who attended the Cambridge benefit on Friday, June 27th. More details on this event appear below. Zaid Esmat Shawkat is a graduate of the school of Music and Ballet in Baghdad in 1982. He has been performing with the INSO on the violin since 1983. Shawkat left IRAQ to France early this year to pursue his Ph.D. in mathematics.

* On June 14 (2003), Nahla Jajo, one of the INSO's former violinists who currently resides in France, and pianist Abbas Ali Abood performed a concert organized by the Board of Archaeological Museums of Lyons. The program included a solo piano recital and piano and violin duet recital of Oriental music. The Archaeological Museum of Lyons used to work with the Baghdad Museum (2000-2003)

* The Institute of Near Eastern & African Studies (INEAS) and Music For A Cause cosponsored a Jazz concert featuring Bob Sinicrope and Ben Stepner in a benefit for the IRAQI National Symphony Orchestra (INSO) on Friday, June 27th. Over seventy people attended the event, which was well organized and very successful thanks to Judy Gerratt of Music For A Cause, a violinist from the Hayden and Handel Society. The event was publicized in Phoenix and theBoston Globe. An article about the event, Wafaa' Al-Natheema and the INSO appeared in both Cambridge Chronicle and the Newton Tab on Wednesday, June 25. At the conclusion of the Jazz evening, Agnes Bashir's composition "April Festivities" (which was performed by the INSO in the early 1980s) was listened to by the audience from a cassette tape. It was admired by many in the audience and some wished they could hear it performed live! Both Judy Garrett and Wafaa'Al-Natheema plan to organize another major event with famous musicians to raise more funds and collect more musical instruments and parts. Such an event may include former INSO musicians living abroad.

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2. The INSO in Baghdad
Reported by Zaid Esmat Shawkat from Paris

The INSO has been preparing for its first after-war major concert. The Orchestra is back to regular rehearsals by its members who are graduate of the Academy of Music, Institute of Fine Arts and the Music and Ballet School. They performed in the "Palace of Conferences Hall" on the 27th of this month. The program included:
1- W.A.MOZART (1756-1791), Symphony (no.40 KV 550)
2- G.BIZET (1838-1875), extracts from "CARMEN"
3- H.G.MOMER (Year unavailable), "On the Palm Trees" (from the Iraqi Folklore)
4- A.R. Al-AZZAWI (1942-), "Voices of the Wilderness".
Conductor: A.R. AL-AZZAWI.
Additionally, the Orchestra had contacted the "Saraievo Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra" for a joint work in the middle of September. Communications are taking place with famous conductor, Zubin Mehta to lead this joint musical venture, said Hisham Sharaf, the INSO director. Sharaf also indicated that some musicians, who left the country before the war and due to the UN/US sanctions, are ready to get back to join the Orchestra. One example is Mohammed O. Siddiq, the conductor of the Royal National Orchestra of Jordan.

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3. Music Schools and Musicians of Baghdad --A Personal Account
by Agnes Bashir

I would like to remember my arrival in Baghdad in 1968 and my involvement with the musical life and activities which existed at that time. I had just earned my Master's Degree in "Analyses of Tone Poems by Richard Strauss" Four of us who studied in Moscow: Fuad Al-Mashta (flute), Husam Yakub (flute), Fikri Bashir (violinist, my husband) and myself were young, enthusiastic and eager to create new projects in Baghdad. We started a piano quartet: Flute, violin, cello and piano. For the Cello part, we invited Hussein Qadduri. Later, this quartet became part of the INSO. During this part of the late 1960s, the INSO was inactive. So the reestablishing of the Orchestra began by initiative of Munther Jamil Hafeth, Bassim Petros, Assad Mohammad Ali and others. Rehearsals were taking place at Munther's house, which had a very big hall. The enthusiasm and ingenuity of many musicians gave birth to many cultural events in this historical city. I was very lucky to be part of this. In 1968, the Musical School was founded by Aziz Ali as a public school. Many of us became involved in it as well as three Russian experts. After a while the school became a very important part of the INSO: Many of its graduates became INSO members and the best ones were honored to perform as soloists in some of its concerts. Lately I was involved with the INSO as a composer when I started to write music combining western and eastern traditions.

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4. Jawad Saleem Part II -- A Personal Account
by Munir Allahwerdi

I have been strongly urged by friends to write about the people I knew and about what it was like in Baghdad during the 1940s and 1950s, a period in which the arts and literature as well as the music were in a state of flux trying to break out from their centuries-dormant state looking for new directions in the larger world; be it France, Germany, Russia or England.About the people I knew, perhaps the dearest to me was Jawad Saleem. Decades elapsed without my writing and publishing a word about him. I have no excuse except that I considered myself not eligible to contribute about his memory. I am neither a writer nor a painter. But Nizar Saleem, Jawad's brother, wouldn't accept my reasoning and insisted on my participation in describing that period and Jawad's role in it.

Nizar made such remarks when we met in an Iraqi Embassy reception in Helsinki during the late 1970s/early 1980s. I remember him saying, "if you want to be fair to Jawad's memory, you have to write whatever you can about your relation with him. Munir, you owe it to him." I promised Nizar to fulfill his wish. But to my profound sorrow he did not live long to see me accomplish that promise. During the last two decades of Jawad's life (the forties and fifties), other great artists appear on the horizon, some within his immediate family such as his brother Nizar, his sister Nazeeha, and his wife Lorna as well as others like Faiq Hassan, Hafith Ed-Duroubi, Shakir Hassan and Khalid Er-Rahhal.

Characterizing the same period, there were parallel movements in literature, the theater and music which were going on with vigor. In the field of music, a group of "crazy" enthusiasts (including myself) none born into a musical family (except the sons of Hanna Petros), and who began learning music, fell in love with classical music, studied with or without proper guidance from available teachers and practiced against protestations of their families and neighbors with nothing standing in their way, suddenly appeared in musical Baghdad performing chamber music and orchestral concerts.They began to perform in Baghdad Hayden's, Mozart's, Beethoven's and Schubert's Trios, Quartets, Quintets and Symphonies before having ever seen any similar live performances in their life. Some of those instrumentalists such as Vartan Manoukian, Haik Balaian and Beatrice Ohannesian, after a period of studies abroad, even performed in world capitals. In appreciation of the remarkable work done by the young musicians who helped in the establishment of the Baghdad Symphony Orchestra and in bringing classical music to the Iraqi audience, Jawad Saleem drew pencil sketches of those of us who were available at the time including Sami Qassim, Fuad Ridha and myself to name a few. Free Thinking and tradition challenge were what united me with Saleem. This union was embodied in our love for classical music and in performing it on our instruments; the clarinet and the guitar.
Jawad never compromised traditional/national art by his devotion to the universal expression. In his book, Shakir Hassan Al-Saeed devoted a good deal of thinking to this particular aspect of Jawad's works. He explained Jawad's universality as follows: (I am translating a paragraph from his book in Arabic)

QUOTE:
"Jawad Saleem, as the rest of his generation of the 1950s suffered from the psychological and economic burden of War World II and its aftermath, was driven by the sincere desire to escape imperialism and reactionary mentality, dreamt of the social well-being and the international cultural awareness.Here, the "Other" becomes his preferred topic represented by the human being. His conviction in the importance of the human being lead him to take a special interest in humanity and thus the importance of observing it from all possible angles. Saleem's indulgence in European and World arts and in their non-visual arts prepared him to pose the question: How would he go about taking care of the humanitarian aspects of his art in both the international and national sense simultaneously? Then how to incorporate inputs from all resources into his relation with his environment? " End of Quote

By stating "his environment," Shakir Hassan was referring to the present as well as to the periods of Sumer, Babylon, Assyria and the Arab/Islamic eras and their artistic and cultural heritage. Saleem showed deep interest in local folklore and tremendously loved symphonic classical music. He preferred Mozart over Beethoven.As for the Hurriya (or freedom) Monument, Jawad explained to me the enormity of the task of accepting the proposal of General Abdul Kareem Qassim. He did not want his art to be tied to politics. We had a brief discussion during which I reminded him of the example of Verdi's composing of the opera Aida, which despite its political circumstances remained a great work in the Italian and human heritage. But he explained to me how much he admired Qassim and his sincerity toward the people of Iraq and how it would be difficult for him to decline Qassim's request to compose and implement the project. Saleem gave me a photo print of a composition in black mud relief which, as I believed, it would include the main parts of the composition still fermenting in his mind, and signed "Jawad Saleem, Baghdad," six and a half years before the July 1958 revolution. In this composition, the central figure is the same man who appears in the Hurriyya monument dressed as a soldier was presented as an almost naked poor farmer struggling in the agricultural field without iron bars, where his posture as a hard working farmer, is the same one who is dressed as soldier freeing his country from poverty and all what the 1958 revolution aspired to achieve. After taking a few lessons from me on the contrabass, Jawad joined the INSO as a contrabass player. He was a great supporter of the INSO.


5. In Memory of Daoud Al-Qaisy
by Bassim Petros

Daoud Al Qaisy was working with Munther Jamil Hafidh andmyself at the music Dept. of Baghdad Radio and TV during the mid 1970s. Further, he was my neighbor in Baghdad before moving into his house near the Technology University. His two sons and daughter studied at the Music and Ballet School. He was very friendly with all artists, and assisted them in many aspects, especially with regard to releasing many of them from the army service. In his capacity as a head of The Iraqi Artists Union (Naqaaba), he participated in every musical conference which was being annually held in Baghdad and traveled to certain European and Arab countries to conclude bilateral artistic agreements. Daoud was a very kind person and friendly with all.
Every artist knew him well. His assassination in May 2003 was a tragic loss. He will be remembered by all those who knew him.

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The INSO Writing/Editing Team:
Munir Allahwerdi, Clarinet Player, Engineer (INSO) [Austria]
Wafaa' Al-Natheema, List Moderator & Concert Tour Organizer [USA]
Agnes Bashir, Pianist, Composer (INSO) [Jordan]
Munther J. Hafeth, Composer, Musician (INSO) [IRAQ]
Nahla Jajo, Violinist, Architect (INSO) [France]
Beatrice Ohanessian, Composer, Pianist (INSO) [USA]
Bassim H. Petros, Cellist, Music Critic (INSO) [New Zealand]
Zaid Esmat Shawket, Violinist, Mathematician (INSO) [France]

INSO E-Newsletter: Episode 14

Bi-Monthly Newsletter
Of the
IRAQI National Symphony Orchestra (INSO)
Episode 14 
April 2003
Distributed by Al-Wafaa NewsWebsite:  http://www.INEAS.org/al-wafaanews

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In the name of all those who died, were injured and are living under the horror of the American aggression since March 19th, we dedicate this issue!

In this episode:
1. News & Reports
2. Interview w/ INSO Musicians in Baghdad on April 18
3. How to Become a Subscriber of This INSO Email Bimonthly Newsletter

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1. NEWS & Reports:

Munther J. HafethHisham Sharaf and Majid (pronounced Maajid, not Majeed) Al-Ghazali were interviewed live on April 18 on National Public Radio's The Connection. This is a historic interview and worth listening to in its entirety. More details below.

* In a report from Zaid Esmat Shawket (former Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra concert master), who is currently living with his wife in France and has been there for a couple of months to study Ph.D. in Math, we learned that Zaid had lost one of his family members, his mother's sister, May Al-Haydery. Her uncle was the famous Dr. Salim Al-Haydary of Al-Haydary Hospital. She is the wife of Munir Al-Mala'ika, uncle of famous poet Nazik Al-Mala'ika. Munir has been injured as well. May Al-Haydary was killed by the American bombing of Al-Mansoor Quarter as she was trying to find medicine for her retarded daughter. Her mother (Zaid's grandmother), Charlotte Josef Ernest, who is British, still resides in Baghdad despite all the bombings. Charlotte is 92 years old. Zaid Shawkat wrote, "At my aunt's house at Abu Nuwas Street, there were music concerts held by the famous pianist Beatrice Ohanessian and some other musical activities. Munir and May were regular attendants of the INSO concerts. Under this environment, I lived and loved music and became a member of the INSO. "Zaid's picture maybe accessed in the link below: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2399745.stm

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2. Live from Baghdad: Interview w/ INSO Musicians
By WBUR's Dick Gordon on April 18

Here is the link: http://www.theconnection.org/shows/2003/04/20030418_a_main.asp
Commentary by Wafaa' Al-Natheema

One troubling and insensitive request made by the interviewer, Dick Gordon, was asking Husham Sharaf, whose house was damaged by the US bombing and who lost one of his fingers, to "smile for us." The typical "Tumble-for-us" American-style journalism, which reminded some of us of Dan Rather's interview with Saddam Hussein shortly before the war, when he asked Hussein to speak a little English for the viewers! After all the damage the US has inflicted on Iraq, and instead of apologizing, Gordon was expecting a smile from someone who had suffered tremendously by asking him live in front of millions of listeners, an approach that can be equated to force!
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3. How to become subscribers of this (INSO) list?

If you have not subscribed to this list, this is the only message you receive. To subscribe, please send an email to alwafanews@aol.com by writing 'subscribe' in the message box NOT in the subject title. Thank you.Please note that Al-Wafaa News is an independent newsletter, which focuses on the arts and social issues.

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The INSO Writing/Editing Team:
Munir Allahwerdi, Clarinet Player, Engineer (INSO) [Austria]
Munther J. Hafeth, Composer, Musician (INSO) [IRAQ]
Nahla Jajo, Violinist, Architect (INSO) [France]
Beatrice Ohanessian, Composer, Pianist (INSO) [USA]
Bassim H. Petros, Cellist, Music Critic (INSO) [New Zealand]
Wafaa' Al-Natheema, List Moderator & Concert Tour Organizer [USA]

INSO E-Newsletter: Episode 13

Bi-Monthly Newsletter
Of the
IRAQI National Symphony Orchestra (INSO)
Episode 13 
January 2003
Distributed by Al-Wafaa News Website: http://www.INEAS.org/al-wafaanews

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In this episode:

1. News & Announcements
2. NY Times Article on INSO Performance in Baghdad
3. Letter to the NY Times' Editor by Munir Allahwardi
4. Letter to the NY Times' Editor by Wafaa' Al-Natheema
5. A Report From Musicians Trying to Visit IRAQ
6. How to Become a Subscriber of This INSO Email Bimonthly Episodes

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Important note: It is strongly recommended to read the letter to the editor by Munir Allahwerdi to recognize the errors made in the NY Times article. Only the parts related to the INSO areincluded in this episode. Whenever some paragraphs are omitted, you will see six vertical dots on the left edge of this page. To read the entire article and to see the photos, visit the website at the bottom of the article below.

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The Next Issue will be emailed in the end of March. Subscribers are welcome to send their news and announcements by March 15. No reminder will be sent, so please remember to send us your news and announcements by the due date above.

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1. NEWS & Announcements:

* Mesto will give a special Sunday Concert on March 2, 2003, at 4:00 p.m. at West Los Angeles College in California. Nabil Azzam will conduct the 40-piece orchestra in a program that will include compositions representing different musical cultures. Mesto gave its debut concert on March 11, 2000. The repertoire of Mesto has grown fast to include today over 50 compositions. Some of the pieces were composed by the orchestra members. (For more details on the Mesto please visit our site at www.mesto.org)

Munir Allahwerdi, clarinetist and member of the INSO writing/editting team, and his fellow players in Vienna, have been requested to repeat the concert, St. Salvator Kirche, which they gave in Vienna last October 22, 2002. The repeated concert, which will feature Brahms' Clarinet Quintet again in h-moll op.115, will be held at the Residence of Dip.Ing. Fritz Schueller on 22 February 2003.
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2. NY Times' Article on INSO Performance in Baghdad on December 25, 2002

"In Baghdad, There's Little Romance in Music by Candlelight"December 26, 2002
By NEIL MacFARQUHAR BAGHDAD

Iraq, Dec. 25 - The musicians of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra, elegant in black tie or long black skirts, were just settling into their places on the final night of their Christmas week concerts when the electricity failed and the performance hall was plunged into darkness. For a while afterward, the performance unrolled with a dreamlike quality. A note from the oboe floated through the pitch black, guiding the players tuning their instruments,until candles affixed to the music stands illuminated their scores. The musicians played an initial overture and then the tenor soloist, Emad Jamil, sang the Agnus Dei fromBizet's "L'Arlésienne." But with each turn of the sheet music, the players grew increasingly nervous about the risk of igniting the barely legible pages. So they stopped before the final Bach piano concerto. "We might as well have been playing in Bach's time," Mr. Jamil later joked ruefully. "But at least I could forget myself in the music. For a short period of time there was nothing but music. It's very hard living with the thought that soon we will have another war."

Baghdad used to pride itself as the living soul of "1,001 Nights," a cosmopolitan place where sophisticated music, theater or cabaret acts spun on long into the night, and where the Iraqi middle class kept every publisher in the Arab world afloat. Since the beginning of the eight-year Iran-Iraq war in 1980, however, Iraqis have ricocheted from one crisis to the next. The once thriving middle class has been groping through an especially long dark night of plunging living standards since economic sanctions were imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. Now they find themselves bracing for yet another conflagration in which they have little voice. In response, they cling to what normalcy they can, defiant one minute and utterly gloomy the next. "In life, sorrow tends to last just a little longer than joy," said Abdul Razak al-Alawi, who helped found the orchestra in 1950 and has been its conductor since 1974. His son and daughter, elementary school students, died in 1985 when their home took a direct hit from an Iranian missile. "So we try to just touch the joy to alleviate the sorrow."Most Iraqis seek any brief escape, although even the jokes tend to swirl around their desperation. Audiences have been packing the National Theater every night for a show called "Vagabonds," which gently mocks Iraqis for having become a nation of beggars.
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"Imagine the difficulty of making people laugh after 20 years of war and 12 years of sanctions," says Abed Ali Qaed, the show's writer and director, weighing in with his own twist on an oft-heard political remark, "The conspiracy against our people by the Zionists and the Americans is to kill our ability to laugh." Iraqis sense they are caught in a twilight zone. The Draconian sanctions imposed in 1990 were alleviated somewhat by an oil-for-food program started in 1996, but virtually everything the country wants to buy must be approved by the United Nations. When the last two passengers holding up a plane from Amman to Baghdad were stopped at security, the officer rummaging endlessly through their bags asked the airline agent, "Are they journalists?" "Of course, they are journalists," the agent shot back."Who else would want to go to Baghdad?"
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The story of Iraq's lone symphony orchestra follows the arc of the country's development and subsequent decay. Formed with a few strings, woodwinds and horns, by the early 1970s it blossomed into a full 70-piece orchestra with 20 to 30 foreign members. It has by now shrunk to some 45 musicians. Big booming pieces like much of Tchaikovsky, Brahms's Fourth Symphonyor Beethoven's "Eroica" are out of reach. Most of the best instruments have been taken abroad for sale, and replacement parts are rare and costly. When the orchestra started, its members got the then princely sum of 10 dinars, or $30, a month. Now they get 25,000 dinars, which is worth $12. That's a little less than the cost of a new set of strings. Every member of the orchestra has another job. The ten orgrinds coffee beans. One horn player drives a cab. The man who plays the bassoon also fixes electric heaters. They try to give one concert a month, but sometimes too many miss practice because of their jobs. The audience turns up faithfully whenever they perform. "The good musicians have all retired or left Iraq," saidone man in his 60's, a patron for decades. "Still, it's better than spending a lonely evening at home where you don't know when the electricity might be cut." Moments after he spoke on Monday night, the power failed in the performance hall. Mr. Jamil, the tenor, stepped to the edge of the stage before his solo to say the candle light made the night seem blessed, expressing his wishes for a Merry Christmas and a far happier New Year for all. "Everybody always makes wishes, but nothing ever changes,"said a voice in English from the dark.
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/26/international/middleeast/26BAGH.html?ex=1041898496&ei=1&en=ad6c773bf995718e

Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company
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3. Letter to the Editor
by Munir Allahwerdi

I would like to congratulate the New York Times and Mr. Neil MacFARQUHAR for the article entitled (In Baghdad, There´s Little Romance in Music by Candlelight) in which a true picture of life for the Iraqi people especially the intellectuals and music lovers under UN sanctions is humanely and poetically depicted. As a former Iraqi citizen and a founder of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra who served as its solo clarinetist from its inception during the late 1940s until 1960 I found it useful to add a slight correction to the story. The orchestra was referred to as The Baghdad Symphony Orchestra in April 1950 by the English language daily - The Iraq Times- announcing its first concert under that name and listing the names of its founders. Mr. Abdul Razak al-Alawi was not among them nor was he a member of the orchestra at that time. That is a fact needing to be put on record even though I have great respect for him and for his achievements and struggle to keep the orchestra going under the present difficult circumstances. Besides, his name is correctly written as al-Azzawi and not al-Alawi.

[The writer lives in Vienna, Austria as a UN Retiree and continues to play the clarinet and performs with his Chamber Music group of players.]
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4. Letter to the Editor
by Wafaa' Al-Natheema

Despite my boycott of the New York Times for its political incorrectness and propaganda, I read some good paragraphs in the article by Neil MacFARQUHAR. I thank him for reporting on the INSO's performance on December 25. Some of the information presented in his article was valuable. I only wished that MacFarquhar focused on the INSO, musicians and the arts rather than diverting some of the article's paragraphs to addressing political cliches. From my long reading experience of the New York Times, staying neutral or focusing on the subject without hints or hidden agenda is near-impossible whenever the coverage is related to the Arab or Islamic worlds.

The picture, that was included in the article showing the performers with candles, was wonderful and truly romantic. Please note that there were two errors in this article concerning the date on which the Orchestra was founded (not in 1950 as indicated in the article, but almost a decade earlier) and the spelling of Mr. Al-Azawi's name, which appeared in the article as Al-Alawi. Thank you for publishing the article.
Best Regards.
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5. Musicians' Report Hoping to Head to Iraq
by Cameron Powers
We have been invited to enter Baghdad by the Musicians' Association there. We recently heard from some peace activists there that our visa applications have now been approved and that when e-mail communication into and out of Iraq comes back, we may receive this good news from the authorities there. Back here in the USA we give presentations which allow us to show photographs and tell stories about our adventures. On our last trip we sang with people in parks, theaters, homes and restaurants... We lived with Iraqi refugees in Amman and with Bedouins in the desert... We spent some time in Ramallah in the West Bank of Palestine singing in a restaurant and in a hotel...We are prepared to return to the Middle East and to enter Iraq and to bring our musical connection to people there as soon as our visas are approved.

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6. How to become subscribers of this (INSO) list?
If you have not subscribed to this list, this is the only message you receive. To subscribe, please send an email to alwafanews@aol.com by writing 'subscribe' in the message box NOT in the subject title. Thank you. Please note that Al-Wafaa News is an independent newsletter, which focuses on the arts and social issues.


The INSO Writing/Editing Team:
Munir Allahwerdi, Clarinet Player, Engineer (INSO) [Austria]
Munther J. Hafeth, Composer, Musician (INSO) [IRAQ]
Nahla Jajo, Violinist, Architect (INSO) [IRAQ]
Andrew Jones, Violinist, Journalist [South Africa]
Beatrice Ohanessian, Composer, Pianist (INSO) [USA]
Bassim H. Petros, Cellist, Music Critic (INSO) [New Zealand]
Wafaa' Al-Natheema, List Moderator & Concert Tour Organizer [USA]

INSO E-Newsletter: Episode 12


Bi-Monthly Newsletter
Of the
IRAQI National Symphony Orchestra (INSO)
Episode 12 
November 2002
Distributed by Al-Wafaa NewsWebsite: http://www.INEAS.org/al-wafaanews

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In this episode:
1. News
2. INSO South African Tour Update by Andrew Jones
3. Jawad Selim: A Great Icon of Iraqi Art by Munir Allahwardi


The Next Issue will be emailed in the end of January. Subscribers are welcome to send their news and announcements by January 15.
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Ramadhan Mubarek to all those who are fasting. We wish you a joyful Eidul Fitr, a happy Hanukkah, a merry Christmas and a fruitful and peaceful New Year
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1. NEWS:

* The Babylon Festival of Iraq, which took place in Babylon in September 2002, had unique programs. Among the programs were the performances of both the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra (INSO) and the Algerian Symphony Orchestra. They performed separately and jointly at the Festival. The large theater was completely sold out. Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro," and Beethoven's "Symphony No. 5" were among the pieces that were performed by the INSO at the Festival.

* Nahla Jajo, one of the INSO's young talented violinists and one of the writers/reporters of this INSO bi-monthly magazine, has been in Dordogne, southwest of France since the early fall on a scholarship to give violin lessons to students ages five to eighteen (18) while learning violin techniques. The scholarship, which has been made possible by funding from the Music Esperance, a non-profit organization that helps sponsoring children's concerts, will involve her in orchestral participation as well.

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2. INSO South African Tour Update
by Andrew Jones
The climate in South Africa is difficult to say the least. The Islamic community is fractured. The media offers little or no real insight into the Middle East or Pacific Islamic situations. Most news is couched within the context of Saddam versus Bush. Despite this I have tried for the last few months to engage parties whom I think might be interested in sponsoring an orchestral tour and I've committed my own company to supporting this in whatever way we can. It hasn't been easy, but I think it will happen. In fact, I'm sure it will happen. We just have to be very patient, very persistent and hope that the powers that be decide against war. I'll keep you all posted.
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3. Jawad Selim: A Great Icon of IRAQI Art
by Munir Allahwerdi

During the mid 1940s while at the Fine Arts Institute studying the clarinet, Jawad Selim and I met. Jawad was in his mid-twenties and had just returned from an interrupted study mission in Europe due to the break out of World War II. He was fond of playing the guitar, but only as his hobby since his official mission in Europe was to study sculpture. Selim was looking for someone who played an instrument to accompany him on the guitar for the pleasure of playing music together. He invited me to his home in old Baghdad and showed me his guitar and some of his flute and guitar music. At that first visit, he also played some solo passages on the guitar and we quickly agreed to play together after I transposed the flute part for my B-Flat clarinet. Thus the basis for a lifetime friendship was established when I met with what was to become "the first Iraqi whose fingers produced beautiful things since Hammurabi" as quoted by Rifat Al-Chadirchi with whom I was walking during Jawad's funeral. Jawad and I played and performed in college programs as well as on Baghdad Radio for years. He wanted to expose Iraqis to western music, so he found a natural ally in me and in those who were interested in introducing western classical music to the Iraqi audience. And aside from exposing people to fine recorded music, we all believed that the most effective way for achieving such goal was to expose Iraqis to the music live, and even better, was performed by Iraqi musicians. After all, music, from whichever country, is part of the human heritage, and has a universal message. Jawad's vision toward western music and the arts came at a time when learning about and implementing western arts were considered westernization and was resisted by Iraqi society.
To illustrate further Jawad's thinking: In 1952, I recall on occasion of opening of an arts exhibit at the Higher Teacher's Training College in Baghdad where he was teaching. He asked me to walk with him through the paintings and insisted that I pass my opinion on them. After a long silence not wanting to say a word in front of a great master such as Jawad, he insisted again that I give him my feedback. As I began to voice my opinion, we were in front of a painting by Shakir Hassan As-Sa'eed. So I said Shakir seemed to have been influenced by Amedio Modigliani. Jawad looked at me and said: "That is exactly what I wanted to hear.. Let him be influenced by Modiglani." The guitar was Jawad's favorite instrument. He wanted to explain that this instrument was a logical development of the Arabian Lute (Oud). He requested (and received) my assistance in preparing a lecture with musical illustrations on the guitar and why the Lute was almost totally abandoned and replaced by the guitar in Europe. Selim established the Iraqi Guitar Society in Baghdad and began to give guitar lessons. His involvement in music was not limited to the guitar. It covered the orchestra as well.On his involvement with the orchestra which later became the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra (INSO) and about his thoughts concerning his major work (The Hurriyah Monument), I feel I should write another article later on.

Jawad Selim was born to his Iraqi parents in Ankara in 1919. He was married to a British artist and with her, Jawad had two daughters; Zayneb and Maryam.

==========================



The INSO Writing/Editing Team:
Munir Allahwerdi, Clarinet Player, Engineer (INSO) [Austria]
Munther J. Hafeth, Composer, Musician (INSO) [IRAQ]
Nahla Jajo, Violinist, Architect (INSO) [IRAQ]
Andrew Jones, Violinist, Journalist [South Africa]
Beatrice Ohanessian, Composer, Pianist (INSO) [USA]
Bassim H. Petros, Cellist, Music Critic (INSO) [New Zealand]
Wafaa' Al-Natheema, List Moderator & Concert Tour Organizer [USA]

INSO E-Newsletter: Episode 11


Monthly Newsletter
Of the
IRAQI National Symphony Orchestra (INSO)
Episode 11 
September 2002
The First Anniversary
Distributed by Al-Wafaa NewsWebsite:  http://www.INEAS.org/al-wafaanews

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Dear Subscribers:

This INSO monthly-episode project is celebrating its FIRST anniversary this September. We would like to thank you for making it an interesting task through the year via your commentary, news and information. During this critical time in the life of Iraqis worldwide, these monthly episodes mount as a drop of hope and the willingness to continue and thrive without giving up. In an effort to continue this project complementary (without any sort of funding) and to further improve the quality of the information and news provided, as well as accommodating the writing/editing team's schedule and availability, I have decided to continue this project on a bimonthly basis. So the next episode will be emailed in November.
I wish you a pleasant and a relaxing fall.

Wafaa' Al-Natheema


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In this episode:

1. News
2. INSO's History by Wafaa' Al-Natheema
_________________________


1. News
A chamber music concert has been scheduled for Tuesday October 22.2002 at 19.30 at the inner courtyard of the St. Salvadore Church, Wipplingerstr.8 in Vienna, Austria. The concert will feature J.Brahms's Clarinet Quintet op.115 in h-moll. Munir Allahwerdi, member of the writing/editing team and INSO will be performing on the clarinet. The string players: Carl Poldy and Reinhard Halsmayr-violins, Herbert Plass- viola and Otto Blecha- chello. FREE to the public. This group of chamber music players has been in existence for some 10 years. They have given concerts in Finland and in Vienna.


2. History of the INSO
by Wafaa' Al-Natheema

The Music Institute was established in 1936. It was then when music lovers began to meet at the Institute to listen to classical music both live and recorded. Five years later, The Music Institute was renamed The Institute of Fine Arts whereby a Chamber Orchestra formulated. The Orchestra,which consisted of string instruments, gave its first performance, conducted by Hanna Petros, in 1941 at the Royal College of Medicine.

In 1948, The Baghdad Philharmonic Society was founded in affiliation with the Institute of Fine Arts. This Society, then, formed the Baghdad Philharmonic Orchestra, which was composed of volunteers. The Orchestra gave three performances; two in Baghdad at the hall of the Institute of Fine Arts and at the King Faisal Hall, and a third in Kerkouk (North of Iraq). In 1959 during the leadership of Prime Minister Abdul Karim Qasim, the Orchestra became officially known as the IRAQI National Symphony Orchestra (INSO). Before that year, all musicians used to perform on a volunteer basis. Due to Iraq's instability during the 1960s, the Orchestra was shut down a couple of times. In 1971, underthe presidency of the Baathist Ahmed Al-Baker, theINSO was resumed performing again and continued its activities till the present day. Since its establishment in the 1940s, the INSO has had twenty-two (Iraqi and foreign) conductors.The Orchestra did not just perform classical pieces by European composers, but had also played symphonic compositions by Iraqi musicians. Among them were Farid Allahwerdi, Munther J. Hafeth, Munir Bashir, Hanna Petros, Khalil Ismael, Beatrice OhannissianAgnes Bashir, Hussein Qaddouri, Mohammed Ra'oof and others.

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The INSO Writing/Editing Team:
Munir Allahwerdi, Clarinet Player (INSO) [Austria]
Munther J. Hafeth, Composer, Musician (INSO) [IRAQ]
Nahla Jajo, Violinist, Architect (INSO) [IRAQ]
Andrew Jones, Violinist, Journalist [South Africa]
Beatrice Ohanessian, Composer, Pianist (INSO) [USA]
Bassim H. Petros, Cellist, Music Critic (INSO) [New Zealand]
Wafaa' Al-Natheema, List Moderator & Concert Tour Organizer [USA]

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

INSO E-Newsletters Episodes 7-10

Monthly Newsletter
Of the
IRAQI National Symphony Orchestra (INSO)
Episode 10
July/August 2002Distributed by Al-Wafaa News
Website: http://www.INEAS.org/al-wafaanews


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In this episode:
1. NEWS
2. Subscribers' Profile
3. The Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra--Facing the Challenges by Munther J. Hafeth
4. The Sulaimaniya Musical Summer Camp: July 1947
by Bassim H. Petros and Munir Allahwerdi



1. News:
^^^ This summer, the INSO has published a new book entitled, "The School of Violin" written by Fuad Ridha and a CD consisting of selections from previous performances by the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra. We await receiving a copy of each of the book and CD for this list's information and for the press.

^^^ 1001 Nights Orchestra's new CD has been released on August 24th
The long-awaited CD of 1001 Nights Orchestra entitled "Music from the Middle East and Beyond" has been released on August 24th at the Paramount Theater. The 1001 Nights Orchestra performed the "Thief of Baghdad" at the Paramount Theater, where the film was first screened in 1924!

The 17-song, 62-minute CD produced by the local indie label Kamooli Recordings is a compilation of the best of the orchestra's repertoire including themes used in their alternative soundtrack to the Thief of Baghdad. The all-instrumental CD includes folk, traditional and original tunes from Turkey, Iran, Armenia, Russia, Macedonia, Greece, Afghanistan, Spain, Bulgaria and the Arab world, with music ranging from contemplative to dance. The CD will be available online as well as in local stores in Austin.

For more info. about 1001 Nights Orchestra, go to:
http://www.1001nightsorchestra.com

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2. Subscribers' Profiles:

** Katya: I am an American, who due to world events, developed an interest in the Middle East and in Arabic music, particularly the classic composers. I really love Um Kulthoum; it meant so much to hear her songs while within her country. I read the Qur'an out of wanting to know what it said for myself rather than to base what I thought on hearsay, and it's meant a lot to me to do what I could over the years to make what little difference I could in the lives of the Palestinians who are suffering.

I had said to Wafaa', whom I've had the pleasure of meeting, that I could make a donation to the visit of the tour. We had talked about this while discussing possibly procuring for me a cassette copy of the martyr symphony, which the orchestra had recorded and which had been written about in a previous issue of your newsletter.

Thank you very much for your kind attention.


** Denis Halliday: My interest in the Baghdad orchestra goes back to the John Pilger video which he made with me for Carlton TV in London and his wonderful segment on the orchestra and its leader who had lost his wife and was severely burned as a result. I would be happy to provide very modest financial support if you are going in that direction.

As a UN Assistant Secretary-General I volunteered for the assignment to head up the UN presence in Iraq and to be coordinator for the Oil for Food Program. I resigned after one year, having doubled the size of the Program, in protest at UN genocide via the work of the Security Council led and corrupted by the USA. I went public worldwide and used the media, and parliamentarians and other opportunities to bring the attention of others to the double standards of the UN/SC and the killing of innocent Iraqis due to the unending Sanctions regime. Inter Alia, the abuse of the UN, its reform, the misapplication of international law, US bombing and desire for war, not to mention breech of Human Rights by the UN itself, and the unjust punishment of the people of Iraq all remain my concerns.
Sincerely,
Denis J. Halliday


** Fawzi Habboosh: I was born in Iraq, studied medicine at the college of medicine in Iraq, did my tour of military duties for 2 and half years, and then residency in surgery in Kadhumain General Hospital. In 1965, I came to the States and did an internship in Washington DC, then a prolonged double residency with the graduate school of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in general surgery and in thoracic surgery. I served as a senior registrar at Hawkmoor IN Devon to Mr. Jack Lloyd Griffith in chest surgery. In 1973, I simultaneously entered Temple University Esther Boyar College of Music to study music and advanced conducting, while working in emergency medicine setting up a department of emergency medicine at Chestnut Hill Hospital in Philadelphia. I was the director for ten years while completing my musical studies.

During my medical practice, I founded the Philadelphia Doctors Chamber Orchestra and have been its music director and conductor for the past twenty years. We have performed in many venues over the tristate area as well as in Washington DC for the Iraqi medical alumni Society in 2000. I have been a guest conductor of the Baghdad philharmonic in 1989, of the Wayne Coterie ensemble in the states and Temple university ensembles. I have participated in workshops in Europe with the West Bohemian Symphony Orchestra for three seasons and with the Karlsbad Symphony Orchestra for one season. I am happy to assist in what I can in the Baghdad Orchestra visit.


** Ghazi Mustafa Bahjat: I performed with the Fine Arts Institute Orchestra from 1954 to 1957 under the Romanian conductor Sando Albo then there were some missing years from 1957 to 1964 that is when I went to W. Germany to further my studies in the oboe instrument. On my return on 1964, I joined the INSO until 1994 when I left Iraq to Jordan where I joined the National Music Conservatory in Amman /Jordan as an oboe player and tutor from 1994 to 1997 when I left for New Zealand. From then to now I am a member of Auckland Symphony Orchestra in New Zealand. As to teaching I was the oboe tutor for the School of Ballet and Music from 1981 to 1994.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

3. The Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra --Facing the Challenges
by Munther J. Hafeth
First of all the conductor had to choose the players and to rehears the orchestra in a limited time, which was usually seventeen hours of total rehearsal; three hours each time, which were enough for one concert per month. That was the standard of this orchestra, but how to keep up with its aspiration? Trained players give that weight of sound, but how to get a good trained players in Baghdad at that time was another challenge for the orchestra to face and solve.

The conductor, Mr. Mommer (who conducted from January 1971 to June 1972), was faithful, and hard working. He knew the way to achieve a good result in that particular three-hour period. He threw himself into the music with unbridled joy and abandon of rehearsal.

Another problem the orchestra faced was to search for a proper concert hall, and a place for rehearsal and administrative center. It was difficult to find a large place to accommodate more than seventy players with good acoustics. The orchestra had to change its place every now and then in order to settle down in a proper location that meets the standards of a symphony orchestra.

Additionally, the orchestra had to deal with the lack of instruments needed to fulfill an orchestra standard. Purchasing good quality instruments from abroad solved this problem.

The other challenge was how to build a music library for the orchestra. A great deal of music literature had been collected since the beginning of Baghdad Philharmonic Society during the fifties. The conductor argued that the members of the orchestra were committed, hard working and compassionate.

The orchestra was almost in a suitable stage to give a good concert, ready to exhilarate the audience, and to prove that it was very possible to establish a symphony orchestra in Baghdad at that time.

In this article, I focus on the period in which the INSO has maintained its status as an official and paid orchestra till the present without interruption despite the wars and the embargo. So the first administrative office for the orchestra was established at the ministry of information in Baghdad in 1971. All the preparations of the orchestra were completed during the summer of that year. As'ad M. Ali, Ihsan Adham, Basim H. Petros and myself were the first officially appointed at the ministry to run the office of the orchestra. In January 1971, the rehearsal time for the orchestra was set in the evening from 6 to 9 PM. The poster of the concert was printed and distributed on walls and public places, tickets were sold and the first concert became a reality, the fruit of the great labor of the committed Iraqi musicians.
____________________________


4. Sulaimaniya Musical Summer Camp: July 1947By Bassim H. Petros and Munir Allahwerdi

The latest round of fighting between the Iraqi Government forces and the Barazani rebels had just ended with Mustafa Barazani fleeing with his men to the USSR. In a celebrating mood, it was decided that the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad mobilizes a force of artists, mainly musicians to go to Sulaimaniya to entertain the people with live music and courses in music and arts.

The mission was arranged and headed by Hanna Petros and included the Director of the Institute and instructor for woodwind instruments, Walter Jenke. Both Mr. Jenke and Mr. Petros brought along their families. Among the members of the mission were Munir Allahwerdi (Clarinet), Jameel Bashir (Violin), Dr. Sami Sheikh Qassim (Violin), Petros H. Petros (Trumpet), Sabah H. Petros (Clarinet), Shaheem (Trombone), Ghanim Haddad (percussion and violin), Salim Hussein (Qanoon), Yaqoub Youssif (Oud) in addition to other musicians. We performed Chamber music (played by Jenke, Munir and Hanna). We also played Band music composed and conducted by Hanna Petros.

Jameel Bashir and others played Arabic and Kurdish music on the violin, Oud and Qanoon. Ismaeel El Shaikhly gave lessons in visual arts.

Aside from that episode, the most pleasant experience which I remember was our being invited to a resort near the Iranian borders at the Goyszah Mountain area which flanks the city of Sulaimaniya. There, near the top of the mountain (we were driven by cars provided for us by the hosts which included Sheikh Latif the son of Sheikh Mahmood Al-Hafeeth), the view was boundless and the air was so fresh and crispy cool under the bright sun. All of us were sitting under a sort of a cover made of tree branches they call, "Cuprah" which provided shade. A barbecued sheep with rice was prepared and to my surprise several kinds of imported beer cooled with natural condensed snow preserved in pits in the ground from the last winter. It was the tastiest beer I had in my life.

With us were Mrs. Petros and Mrs. Jenke and her two young daughters, who kept themselves busy with their favorite sports and games.

Many performances were presented at Sulaimaniya. There were twenty Kurdish students who attended musical workshops, among them were Prof. Shamal Sayib (famous Kurdish singer, Oud player and a university lecturer), Qadir Dylan (studied Clarinet under Munir Allahwerdi), who worked for twenty years at Prague Radio Station, and William Hanna (a leading musician in Sulaimaniya) and others.

At the end of the summer camp, Hanna Petros composed the music for a Kurdish national song, although he did not know any bit of this language. The song was presented in a public performance, with the Band's accompaniment.

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The INSO Writing/Editing Team:
Munir Allahwerdi, Clarinet Player (INSO) [Austria]
Munther J. Hafeth, Composer, Musician (INSO) [IRAQ]
Nahla Jajo, Violinist, Architect (INSO) [IRAQ]
Andrew Jones, Violinist, Journalist [South Africa]
Beatrice Ohanessian, Composer, Pianist (INSO) [USA]
Bassim H. Petros, Cellist, Music Critic (INSO) [New Zealand]
Wafaa' Al-Natheema, List Moderator & Concert Tour Organizer [USA]


******************************************


Monthly Newsletter
Of the
IRAQI National Symphony Orchestra (INSO)
Episode 9
June 2002Distributed by Al-Wafaa News
Website: http://www.INEAS.org/al-wafaanews

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We would like to inform you that during the summer, the INSO newsletter will be produced once and emailed in the end of August. The first anniversary episode will be emailed in the end of September. We encourage this list's subscribers to send their profiles (as done in this issue) by August 10, so that they will be included in the summer issue.

Have a pleasant and a relaxing summer.

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In this episode:

1. INSO Bits & Pieces by Salem Abdul Kareem
2. Subscribers' Profile
3. The Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra--A Personal Account by Beatrice Ohanessian

****************************************************************

1. INSO Bits and Pieces
by Salem Abdul Kareem

My experience with the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra (INSO), as a listener, performer, composer and conductor extends to 20 years. In 1976, I was a student at the Center for Musical Studies. Part of the curriculum was a course on western theories, which was taught by a great teacher, Mr. Munther J. Hafeth. He had written a composition for Oud and Orchestra in the form of concerto. When Mr. Hafeth shared his desire with the students to have his composition performed with the accompaniment of the Oud, I was very interested in the project and joined the orchestra to play Hafeth's piece on the Oud. That was my first involvement with the INSO. . . . .


2. Subscribers' Profile
**Evelyn Alsultany is a Ph.D. candidate in the Modern Thought Program and Literature at Stanford University. Her work focuses on Arab-Americans, particularly increasing the visibility of Arab-Americans within the US Ethnic Studies Departments. Her father is Iraqi and she is on the INEAS e-mail list to keep him informed of the Iraqi and other Arab musicians and artists that come to the US.

**Nabil Azzam is the director of Mesto (Multi Ethnic Star Orchestra). He is a violinist, Oud player, composer and conductor. Received his Ph.D. from UCLA. His dissertation was on Muhammad 'Abdul Wahhab's music and life.

Mesto was founded in Los Angeles in order to provide different aspect of world music (based on ethnic music themes) in a symphonic format. Without any regards to the classic norms of the Western classical repertoire, Mesto started to play ethnic music of the Middle East and other areas arranged and reinterpreted to fit the 40-musician Orchestra. Mesto was able to perform three successful concerts and is preparing for the fourth one this summer. It can be accessed at  http://www.mesto.org

The aim of joining the INSO list was to "look around" and see what is being done in the field. I really believe that music can do miracles. I admire the Iraqi ethnic music (classical and folk alike) and I also think that the Iraqi audience appreciates Western classical music. "Music is not part of my life; Music IS my life"


** Laith Al-Attar was born in Baghdad, Iraq, in 1978. Currently a student at the University of Michigan, College of Literature, Science and the Arts specializing in Psychology (BS) program and the University of Michigan School of Music Composition (BM) program. He studied Arabic music theory, Oud, and voice with a number of acclaimed Arab musicians, including Karim Bader, Ali Jihad Racy, and Rima Khcheich. His latest composition is Mobile (2002) for solo clarinet. Laith is currently working on a string quartet piece.

He joined the INSO list to learn about the INSO musicians, history and news and hopes to collaborate with the INSO in the future.


3. The Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra--
A Personal Account

by Beatrice Ohanessian

The year was 1961, I had just returned to Baghdad, my hometown, after having completed my music studies at the Julliard School of Music in New York. That same year I was invited to perform Johann Christian Bach's piano concerto with the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra (INSO) for brief, conducted by Siegfried Stolte.

Considering the size of the Orchestra then, which included mainly Iraqi musicians, who are graduates from different music schools in Europe and were back home teaching and developing the artistic movement in the field of 'western' classical music performance.

Each had his specialty; his or her chosen instrument and each member was a vital presence in the Orchestra; a medium which demands great sacrifice, cooperation, flexibility, discipline, hard work and perseverance.
To my delight that first concert was a great success. I had performed as soloist in piano concertos with other orchestras in England and the USA, such as the Royal Academy of Music first orchestra; The Orpheum Symphony Orchestra in New York, Julliard School of Music Orchestra New York; the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra (which is called now the Minnesota Orchestra) and other large Chamber Orchestras.

So I felt proud that such venue was also possible in my own hometown Baghdad.

Here I should like to mention an important fact, which is that the Orchestra actually existed long before 1961. I recall its existence since my student days at the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad. It grew in the hands of various conductors both local and foreign. It also expanded in number over the years from being almost a chamber orchestra size to a fully fledged sixty member orchestra to which musicians from various foreign countries were invited to join while they were also teaching at music schools in addition to the existing large number of Iraqi musicians.

My collaboration with the Orchestra continued from 1961 to 1994 except for a number of years which I spent abroad working in my field of teaching and concertizing in the United States from 1968 to 1972 and then in Geneva Switzerland from 1972 to 1974.

My post with the Orchestra was that of a permanent member who carried through my piano parts in symphonic works and as a soloist performing numerous concertos from different composers with different conductors. There have been memorable performances throughout the concert seasons with brilliant successes.

Between 1980 up to 1994 I composed several pieces which included solo piano works as well as orchestrated versions of number of them. These works were performed both during our concert season televised and also at the annual Babylon Festivals. Also televised as the first Iraqi-born female composer, my work met with great support from the Orchestra as well as the Ministry of Culture and Information. I had encouragement and appreciation and every cooperation for their presentation a fact, which is very precious and dear to me.

From the mid seventies up to the present time, female musicians joined the Orchestra as permanent members.

They came from different backgrounds, music schools in Baghdad such as the Institute of Fine Arts and the School of Music and Ballet, playing different instruments. Also in the past, several foreign female musicians have worked with the Orchestra.

As for my own repertoire performed over that period of time, I was fortunate to present several challenging concertos with the Orchestra by the following composers: J.S. Bach, J.C. Bach; Beethoven; Saint-Saens; Edward Grieg; Aram Khatchaturian; Bela Bartok; two concertos by Mozart; Amiroff; Chopin; besides my own compositions and others. Those were presented with different conductors from Iraq and other countries to name a few - Hans Gunther Mommer; Siegried Stolte; Hans Graf; Yuri Aliev; Akoka; Abdul Razzak Al-Azzawi; Van Karoly; Mohammed Othman and others.

There were also opportunities to perform with the Orchestra abroad. Some of these events took place in Lebanon in 1974, Jordan also in 1985 and in Moscow, Azerbaijan and St. Petersburg in 1989.

My colleagues have been:

Munther Jamil Hafeth, Assad Mohammed Ali, Bassim Hanna Petros, Fuad Mashta, Nubar Pashtikian, Munir Allahwerdi, Agnes Bashir, Bahija Hafidh, Abdul Razzak Al Azzawi, Mehdi Abed Ali, Moammed Othman, Leith Abdul Ghani.



The INSO Writing/Editing Team:
Munir Allahwerdi, Clarinet Player (INSO) [Austria]
Jason Carter, Guitarist [UK]
Munther J. Hafeth, Composer, Musician (INSO) [IRAQ]
Yaacoub Hallak, Educator, Musicologist [USA]
Nahla Jajo, Violinist, Architect (INSO) [IRAQ]
Andrew Jones, Violinist, Journalist [South Africa]
Salem A. Kareem, Composer & Oud player [UAE]
Beatrice Ohanessian, Composer, Pianist (INSO) [USA]
Bassim H. Petros, Cellist, Music Critic (INSO) [New Zealand]
Wafaa' Al-Natheema, List Moderator & Concert Tour Organizer [USA]



----------------------------------------------
Monthly Newsletter
Of the
IRAQI National Symphony Orchestra (INSO)
Episode 8
May, 2002
Distributed by Al-Wafaa News
Website: http://www.INEAS.org/al-wafaanews
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In this episode:
1. News
2. From Subscribers
3. Series: Honoring Women Composers (Part 1)
by Wafaa' Al-Natheema
****************************************************************

1. News

**In April, we received words that the father of Mr. Salem Abdul Kareem, renowned composer and oud player, had passed away. May his father rest in peace. Salem has composed and arranged several pieces for the INSO and has been part of the editing/writing team of this monthly newsletter. Currently, he is living in the United Arab Emirates. As a result of his involvement in arranging some of Kathum Al-Saher's new CD, constant travel since January and recent loss of his father, he has not been able to participate in the writing of the INSO newsletter. We send him our condolences and wish him peace of mind.

** In Germany, one million people protested the George Bush's "war on terrorism" carrying anti-war slogans during Bush's recent visit to Germany. Being the backbone of the European Union, Germany's unprecedented reaction to the current US policy has challenged the possibility of attacking IRAQ.

** Dr. Yaacoub Hallak will join the writing/editing team of this INSO newsletter. Dr. Hallak, educator and musicologist, earned his Ph.D. in musicology and culture from the Union Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has been teaching graduate courses at Cambridge College on
"The Universal Language of Music in Education and Culture," and on "Shakespeare in Love, Music, and Film." He also teaches at North Shore Community College and Quincy College. In the 1970s and 80s, Hallak worked as a flight engineer, airline transport pilot and commercial pilot for the Middle East Airlines and Royal Saudi airlines. Welcome to Dr. Hallak.

2. From Subscribers

"Wafaa': Through people like you, reporters such as myself are introduced to a colorful, miraculous side of Arab culture we never knew existed. Your tireless work deserves a big salute--and you deserve a rest. Here's to a speedy and complete recovery.
Warm regards,
Lou Carlozo,
Chicago Tribune"

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"Dear Wafaa´:
I join your other friends and sympathizers in wishing you well and a rapid recovery. I am looking forward to hearing from you again, but give your body and soul time before you go back to work which in your case is very consuming.. Cheer up and chin up.
In Frienship,
Enis Al-Attar"

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"Dear Wafaa':
Assalamu Alaikum,
I am so sorry for the news. I had just learned about your eyes situation. I hope you are now better. Wishing you all happiness, health and peace.
With my best regards,
Cordially,
Salem Abdul Kareem"
**********************

3. Honoring Women Composers (Part 1)
by Wafaa' Al-Natheema

In an effort to acknowledge the unknown and forgotten musicians and their slashed-out-of-history work, this series is dedicated to women composers. Its future parts may or may not be written by me. Other musicians and writers are welcome to add to this series. Although it will focus on women composers who have composed classical music, symphonies concertos and other related variations, occasionally it will introduce women composers in other musical genres.

Music history books are littered with references to composers like Mozart, Haydn, Handel, Verdi, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky. Musical experts and non-expert listeners alike have recognized and noted the historical emphasis on composers who are near entirely white males.

In part one of this series, I will acknowledge two (deceased) French composers, Lili and Nadia Boulanger; an Iraqi composer and a piano player, Beatrice Ohanessian; and a Georgian-Iraqi composer and piano player, Agnes Bashir-Dzodtsoeva. In part two, I hope to cover the life and accomplishments of women composers such as the Egyptian Baheeja Rasheed, the Palestinian Rima Naser Tarazi and the Iraqi Inaam Wali. Both Rima and Inaam are not classical or symphonic composers. Although I have some information about Inaam Wali, I have little to none about Baheeja Rasheed and Rima N. Tarazi. So, I hope it won't be too long before I find enough references about both of them.

Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979), French music teacher, composer and conductor, born in Paris and educated at the Paris Conservatoire. In 1908, her cantata La Sirene won second place in the Grand Prix de Rome competition. Nadia began teaching at the Paris Conservatoire in 1909 and at the Ecole Normale de Musique, Paris, in 1919. She was so affected by her sister's death in 1918 that made her stop composing as of that year. Among her positions, were becoming the head of the composition department at the Ecole Normale in 1935.

Between 1939 and 1945, she taught in the US., then returned to the Paris Conservatoire. In 1949 she became director of the Conservatoire Americain, Fontainebleau. Ms. Boulanger was guest conductor with the London's Royal Philharmonic Society in 1936 and 1937; with the Boston Symphony in 1938 and 1945; and with the New York Philharmonic in 1939 and 1962.

Ms. Boulanger taught such students as the American composers Roy Harris, Lennox Berekely, Walter Piston, Aaron Copland, Marc Blitzstein, Elliott Carter and virgil Thomson, the French composer Jean Francaix and the Russian conductor Igor Markevich.

In addition to the La Sirene, she composed several pieces for cello and piano in 1915 including: Modere, E flat minor; Sans vitesse et a l'aise, A minor; Vite et nerveusement rythme, C sharp minor.

Lili Boulanger (1893-1918), Nadia's sister, was a composer of great promise. Lili suffered through much illness in her short life before passing away due to intestinal tuberculosis in March 1918.

She became the first woman to win Grand Prix de Rome for composing her cantata, Faust et Helene in 1913. She composed the winning piece in four weeks. There is a recording of this composition with Yan Pascal Tortelier conducting the BBC Philharmonic.

In addition, Lili composed Nocturne for violin and piano in 1911 and both D'un Matin de Printemps and D'un Soir Triste in 1918, the year in which she passed away.

Beatrice Ohanessian (1930- ) born in Baghdad, Iraq. She graduated from the Institute of Fine Arts with special honor majoring in piano. With an Iraqi government scholarship, she was able to continue her studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Ms. Ohanessian obtained her L.R.A.M. in performance and pedagogy and was awarded the Frederick Westlake Memorial Prize.

She was granted a Fulbright Scholarship to continue her higher training at the Juilliard School of Music in New York where she studied with Prof. Irwin Freundlich in piano. After performing at the Carnegie Recital Hall, which was followed by a series of concerts in the US, she returned to Iraq where she was appointed the head of the piano department at the Institute of Fine Arts.

Summer breaks in Iraq were and still are more than two-month long, periods that enabled Beatrice to participate in Master's classes in Austria and Spain. Also she has given Master's classes and music seminars in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Iran.

In 1969, she was invited to teach at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and simultaneously at Macalester College in St. Paul. In 1972, she taught and performed in Geneva for two years. In addition to being a regular soloist with the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra (INSO) and the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, she was a regular
reciter in Austria and Germany.

Ms. Ohanessian's solo appearances in recitals included Europe (Austria, Belgium, Czeckoslovakia, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Scandinavia, Switzerland and the UK), the Arab World, Iran and the USA.

Between 1980 and 1994, Ms. Ohanessian composed several pieces including Fantasy on Iraqi Theme, Hamurabi Overture, Spring Ballade, Variations on an Armenian Folk Tune and The Dawn. Beatrice, who is the first Iraqi-born female composer, was honored as a pioneer and first concert artist of Iraq. Since 1996, she has been living in the USA. Being part of the writing/editing team of this INSO newsletter, Ms. Ohanessian has written an informative article about her experience with the INSO, which will be published in June.


Agnes Bashir-Dzodtsoeva (birth year unavailable), born in Tbilisi, Georgia. She began learning music at the age of six. Since then she has pursued music studies until her graduation in 1968 from the Russian Academy of Music.

After marrying Fikri Bashir, an Iraqi musician studying in Moscow, Agnes moved to Iraq and since then has worked as a concert pianist, composer and music teacher at the Music and Ballet School and the Fine Arts Institute in Baghdad. In 1990 Agnes Bashir was awarded the First Prize for composition by the Ministry of Culture and Information in Baghdad.

Since 1992 she has been residing in Amman, Jordan. She worked with Jordan's National Music Conservatory and participated in Jarash Festivals in 1994 and 1995 performing her own compositions. In 1996 she participated in the Spring Festival in Paris (France) and the 10th International Congress for "Women in Music" in Los-Angeles (USA). Agnes contributed in Fuiggi Festival (Italy), where she became an Honorary Member of Adkins-Chitti Foundation.

In 1998, Ms. Bashir got the medal of Recognition from the Italian Prime Minister Office for Equal Opportunities for Men and Women. In 2000 she established the AAWM (Arab Alliance of Women in Music). In the same year, she attended the 27th International Millennium Congress on Arts and Communications in Washington, DC, where she received a medal for her distinguished participation. She also participated in the 2nd Festival of Women-Creators of the two seas the Mediterranean and the Black Sea organized by UNESCO.

She has written numerous compositions including ballets Sinbad and Ishtar, Arabic suite (tone poem for symphonic orchestra), In Jordan (composition for symphonic orchestra), Song of Peace (for choir and orchestra), Dream and Dance (two movements for symphonic orchestra), Fantasia (for Piano), Miniatures (for string quartet) and many others.

Her name was included in the "Who is Who in Music" ; "Who is Who of Intellectuals" ; and "Five Hundred Leaders of Influence on the Art of 20th Century".

This year, on May 13, Agnes Bashir along with Oksana Kosenko, Zina Asfour, Malak Al-Taher and Suad Bushnaq under the patronage of H.E. The Minister of Culture Mr. Haider Mahmoud, The Arab Alliance of Women In Music and in cooperation with Freddy For Music and Le Meridien Hotel presented a "Tribute To The Piano" in help for the people
of Palestine.

Sources:1. Encyclopedia Britannica
2. Columbia Encyclopedia
3. Funk & Wagnalls Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music
4. Beatrice Ohanessian
5. Agnes Bashir-Dzodtsoeva
6. www.ambache.co.uk/wBoulanger.htm
7. www.classicalmusic.about.com/library/weekly/aa040701a.htm

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The INSO Writing/Editing Team:
Munir Allahwerdi, Clarinet Player (INSO) [Austria]
Jason Carter, Guitarist [UK]
Munther J. Hafeth, Composer, Musician (INSO) [IRAQ]
Yaacoub Hallak, Educator, Musicologist [USA]
Nahla Jajo, Violinist (INSO) [IRAQ]
Andrew Jones, Violinist, Journalist [South Africa]
Salem A. Kareem, Composer & Oud player [UAE]
Beatrice Ohanessian, Composer, Pianist (INSO) [USA]
Bassim H. Petros, Cellist, Music Critic (INSO) [New Zealand]
Wafaa' Al-Natheema, List Moderator & Concert Tour Organizer [USA]


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Monthly Newsletter
Of the
IRAQI National Symphony Orchestra (INSO)

Episode 7
April, 2002
Distributed by Al-Wafaa News
Website: http://www.INEAS.org/al-wafaanews
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In this episode:

1. Announcement to Composers
2. Subscribers' Profiles and Interest


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1. Announcement to Composers

" I am interested in finding out as much as possible about composers from the Arab world in order to consider commissions for them. That means that I would not present the recordings I would get from you or others with anybody in public. I just want to get a sense for what kind of composers there are and if I can see (hear) them as part of our CrossSound programs.

In order to find out more about CrossSound please go to our web site at http://www.crosssound.com

CrossSound programs are designed to cross many cultural borders and to challenge everybody involved, from the composer to the audience. That concept is what has won us the ASCAP-Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music for our current season. We invite composers, usually four per program, from all over the world to write for musicians form Southeast Alaska and beyond.

Our ensembles are very eclectic and may consist, to give you an example, of Western strings, Chinese erhu, Japanese koto, flute and euphonium. A commission from Cross Sound means for the composer to write a new piece very likely for an instrumental combination for which nobody has written before. In addition to that CrossSound will bring the composer to Alaska for a 10 day residency during which the composer will attend the rehearsals of his or her piece and be available for public discussions and interviews and possibly a master class. For this CrossSund pays the airfare and houses the composer.

This should give you more of a sense for the kind of composers for which we are looking and who we may consider to commission to write new pieces for our musicians and audiences.

With kind regards,
Stefan Hakenberg
CrossSound
1109 C Street
Juneau Alaska 99801
+1 907 586-9601
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2. Subscribers' Profiles and Interest

We ask that ALL subscribers please send us an email of up to ten lines including your full name, mailing address if out of USA/Canada and tel/fax numbers if in the USA/Canada along with a background information on your credentials and interests and the reason for subscribing to this list. Are you interested in funding and/or co-sponsoring the INSO tour? The background paragraph will be included in the May and June issues for introduction and networking purposes without personal contact information unless otherwise requested.

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The INSO Writing/Editing Team:
Munir Allahwerdi, Clarinet Player (INSO) [Austria]
Jason Carter, Guitarist [UK]
Munther J. Hafeth, Composer, Musician (INSO) [IRAQ]
Nahla Jajo, Violinist (INSO) [IRAQ]
Andrew Jones, Violinist, Journalist [South Africa]
Salem A. Kareem, Composer & Oud player [UAE]
Beatrice Ohanessian, Composer, Pianist (INSO) [USA]
Bassim H. Petros, Cellist, Music Critic (INSO) [New Zealand]
Wafaa' Al-Natheema, List Moderator & Concert Tour Organizer [USA]