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.
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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.
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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]


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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

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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]



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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
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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"
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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
*******************************

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.

______---_____________---_______


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]

Friday, July 14, 2006

INSO E-Newsletters Episodes 4-6


Monthly Newsletter
March, 2002
Episode 6
Distributed by Al-Wafaa News:
http://www.INEAS.org/al-wafaanews
(*_*) (*_*) (*_*) (*_*)


In this episode:
1. The INSO's Performance in Baghdad by Nahla Jajo
2. Arab World's Symphony Composers by Bassim H. Petros

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


1. INSO's Performance in Baghdad
by Nahla Jajo

The Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra (INSO), which included 50 musicians, performed on March 15 and 16 at al-Rasheed Theater. Both performances were sold out and the audience was very enthusiastic and appreciative. David Boin Carly, the young French conductor, who arrived in Baghdad in early March, conducted both performances and plans to return to Iraq in the future for more rehearsals and performances. Carly was born in 1978. He studied conducting under Robert Martinune. In 1998 he conducted the Con Forza Orchestra and became the assistant of Jan Clemann Joulie for the Academy's Orchestra.


The program included:
Grieg ............. (1843 - 1907)

Peer Gynt suite no. 1
*Morning mood
*Ause's death
*Anitra's dance

Haydn............. (1732 - 1809 )

symphony no. 101 (the Clock)

*Adagio
*Andante
*Menutto Allegro
H.G.Momer

* Fougi~nakhal (Iraqi folk song)
Bizet.............. (1838 - 1875)

L'Arlesienne (suite no. 2)
*Pastoral
*Intermezzo
*Menuetto
*Farandole

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

2. Arab World's Symphony Composers
Written by Bassim H. Petros

[with feedback and information from Munir Allahwerdi
and Wafaa' Salman]


The compositions of many of the Arab composers were written in orchestral forms and presented by Symphony Orchestras of various Arabic countries like Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia. Most of the following pieces were composed in
the forms of suites, themes and variations or as concertos for Arabic authentic instruments like 'Oud, Qanoon, Ney and other instruments:

IRAQ:

List of composers includes:

A. Farid Allahwerdi:
1. Al-Mansouria symphonic poem
2. Chamber music works

B. Solhi Al-Wadi:
3. Numerous works composed for Iraqi motion pictures
4. Meditations on a Theme by M. Abdel Wahab Piece # 4 was composed
for and presented by the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra (SNSO)

C. Beatrice Ohanessian:
5. Fantasy on Iraqi Theme
6. Hamurabi Overture
7. Spring Ballade
8. The Dawn
9. Variations on an Armenian Folk Tune

D. Hanna Petros:
10. Rondo Oriental (originally for Piano solo)
11. Melodie Arabe (for Violin and Piano)
12. Works for Wind instruments band.

Numerous works, composed by the following musicians,were written mainly for and presented by the INSO:

Abdalla Jamal, Abdul Amir As-Sarraf, Abdul Razzak Al-Azzawi, Hussein Qaddouri, Mohammed Ameen, Munir Bashir, Munther Jamil Hafeth, Salem Abdul Kareem and Sultan Al-Khatib. Both Munir Bashir and Salem Abdul Kareem, being oud players and composers, did not work with the INSO continuously. Munir Bashir composed "from the Orient to Andalus," to be performed by the INSO. Salim Abdul Kareem composed Oud Concerto (in F minor) which he played it with the INSO in 1993.

Compositions' titles of other composers will be collected and the list will be updated accordingly.


Egypt:

A. Ahmad Ebeid:
13. Symphonic Poem "5 November"

B. Aziz El-Shawan
14. Concerto for Piano & Orchestra, composed in 1959.

C. Mohammed Hasan El-Shogaa'y:
15. Overture Salah El-Din

D. Yousef Greiss:
16. Symphonic poem (Misr "Egypt"):
- La Paysanne
- La Bedouin
- Moonlight.

E. Abu Bakr Khairat:
17. Variations on a Theme by Sayed Darwish (2nd movement of the 3rd Symphony, op. 23, in C major)
18. Suite Folklorique, op. 24, in C major
19. Symphony No. 2 (La Folklorique), op. 21, in G minor
20. Mouwashah (Old anonymous) with Choir.

F. Baheeja Rasheed:
21. Youth Songs "Nagwa"
22. "Dream uninterrupted"

G. Hasan Rasheed:
23. Opera "Anthony's Death" - Poem by Ahmed
Shawqy (Cleopatra)

Additionally, Ahmed El-Saedi, who was the music director and principle conductor of the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, had written numerous compositions for symphony and chamber orchestras. He was awarded Egypt's highly acclaimed prize for composition in 1995. Titles of his compositions are unavailable.

Syria:

A. Muhammed Adel Jeray:
24. Maqam Shehnaz for Lute and Orchestra.

B. Nour Iskander:
25. Concerto for 'Oud and string quartet


Lebanon:

Walid Gholmiyya:
26. 'Ash_shaheed' Martyr Symphony
27. 'Al_Qadisiyya Symphony

Walid Gholmiyya's above symphonies among others were commissioned by the Iraqi Ministry of Culture and Information.

Tunisia:

Saleh Al-Mehdi
No specific titles of any of his compositions are available to us. Al-Mehdi is the founder of the National Music Conservatory in Tunis and an Arabic music scholar. In 1975, while hosting the 4th conference of the Arabic Academy of Music in Baghdad, the INSO played one of his compositions. As for Arabic Symphony Orchestras other than those of Iraq and Egypt: The Syrian National Symphony Orchestra founded under the direction of (the Iraqi) Solhi El-Wadi gave series of concerts in the USA, Europe, Egypt and Jordan.

The Jordanian Army Symphony Orchestra was trained in Vienna by a special request from the late King Hussein. It no longer exists as the majority of its members have retired. The Jordanian Symphony Orchestra was founded and conducted by Kifah Fakhouri, Director of the National Music Conservatory in Amman. Since 1994, the Orchestra has been performing under the direction of Mohammed Othman Siddiq (an Iraqi pianist - conductor) Many young Iraqi musicians work and play with this Orchestra.

______---_____________---_______


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]


(_*_)_____________________(_*_)



Monthly Newsletter
February, 2002
Episode 5
Distributed by Al-Wafaa:
http://www.INEAS.org/al-wafaanews
(*_*) (*_*) (*_*) (*_*) (*_*)

In this episode:

1. The INSO's performance in Baghdad by Nahla Jajo
2. Thoughts from An Artist by Jason Carter
3. Jazz & Blues -- Arab Influences by Wafaa' Al-Natheema
4. Subscribers' Commentary and Questions followed by a reply from Wafaa' Al-Natheema
5. Apology

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


1. Report on the February INSO's Performance
by Nahla Jajo

I was so proud to see an audience of about 350 attend the INSO Um Al Ma'arik competition on February 20 that al-Rasheed Theater. Members of the Ministry of culture were attending as well. Out of eleven Iraqi composers, three winners' compositions were selected for the performance.

They were:

* Munther J. Hafeth ....... Piece title: Kaseedah Reefiyyah

* Abdul Ameer As-Sarraf ......Piece title: Anwar Al-Kuds

* Hasan A. Elewee ..... Title: Watany


The orchestra was conducted by Abdul Razzak Al-Azzawi and included forty-five musicians.

The next concerts will be on March 15 and 16 and will be conducted by Boane Karli, a French conductor who will arrive in Baghdad on March 1st.


------------------------------


2. Thoughts from An Artist 
by Jason Carter
I have recently seen the effect of how Art can influence, unite, inspire and encourage. Having visited the Middle East twice since November, performing to mixed audiences of Bahrainis, Europeans, Qataris, Saudi Arabians, North Americans and Emirates, I would often look around the hall and catch the eyes of children, mothers, teenagers, fathers and the elderly. Each one of these people receives something different from the music. It is easy and possibly naive to use this as a template for bigger situations in the world, but then I am an optimist.

I am very interested in how art can influence society and politics. Someone once said 'A society is only as good as its dreams, and its dreams are dreamed by artists'. I think there is some truth in this. Regardless of who is an artist, perhaps deep inside we are all artistic in some way, but some gifts are more obvious than others.

----------------------------

3. Jazz & Blues -- Arab Influences
by Wafaa' Al-Natheema

The resemblance is close enough to suggest direct influence, especially in view of the importance of the Gold Coast in the North American slave trade. The famous hollers, those rhapsodic forerunners of the early blues, seem to have derived as much from the Savannah as from the coastal style. At the end of the nineteenth century, Jeannette Robinson Murphy gave an account of the black American singing style which leaves no doubt about its Near Eastern character. Beginning with the most solid pieces of evidence, the instruments.

Mesopotamia seems to have been the birthplace of the bow harp, roughly described as a bent stick with a sound-box at one end and several strings strung between this on the other end. Another very early Mesopotamian invention was the lyre. Later on the oud (lute), which made its appearance in the same area. Lute is the conventional designation of the instrument, but in fact it would be more accurate to describe this ancestor of the whole guitar and fiddle family as a primary banjo, with the sound-box and the strings played with a plectrum, tied onto the broomstick-like finger board.

The reed pipe was another Mesopotamian development. A silver pipe from Ur has actually come down to us from about 2500 BCE, its shape is debatable whether it was single or double. The harps, lyres, lutes and pipes of Mesopotamia spread into Egypt, and later into Greece and mainly through the Greek influence to Rome. Via the Roman empire, they then made their way into northern Europe. From Egypt the same instruments spread south and westward into Africa, where some of them survive to this day: the lyre family in East Africa, and the lute, in its original form, in the more northerly parts of West Africa.

Along with the instruments went the Near Eastern singing style. In Africa it can be found in approximately the same areas at the Near Eastern instruments, and there is every indication that it prevailed in medieval Europe as well, at least among the upper classes. No sooner had the Islamic influence reached its height, around 1300 CE, than it began to recede with the first stirrings of the Renaissance. In one way, the Renaissance was itself the outcome of Oriental influences. Europeans, and especially Italians, took Arab science, culture and financial methods, and with them started a train of developments which have gone on to this day.

Writing of the United States, Alan Lomax describes 'Southern backwoods singing' as "mostly unaccompanied, rubato, highly ornamented and solo; the voice oriental, high-pitched and nasal, produced out of a tense body and throat".

A. M. Jones gives much the same description of the Afro-Arab style: "The Islamic tradition can at once be recognized by the very nasal and string quality of voice that is invariably used. But added to the nasal vocalization there is the very frequent use of mordants to embellish the melody notes. "The African style, too, was taken across the Atlantic. Late nineteenth century commentators remarked on it.

------------------------------

4. Subscribers' Commentary and Questions followed by a reply from
Wafaa' Al-Natheema

*** "Dear Wafaa':
Thank you and the writing/editing team for all the work you've been doing. It is great that we are learning about the tour update and the INSO performances. Please keep the articles from the perspective of the musician's personal account coming like the first article by Allahwerdi and the one by Andrew Jones as well as the history of the INSO as you've been doing in the previous emails. The "history of musical documentation" provided an interesting information. I am looking forward to reading about Middle Eastern composers who composed symphonies and women musicians who were/are part of the INSO. I enjoyed reading about Paul Anka. I bet very few know that he is an Arab-American. I think it should be made public especially at this anti-Arab-bashing time.
Keep up the great work,
Richard Sullivan"


*** "Thank you, Wafaa', the sponsors and the writing/editing team for being eager and consistent with the INSO project. Even if the INSO don't end up coming, your victory is that you are educating the world about such an unknown symphony. God bless you.Pardon my confusion, but I was unclear about Paul Anka's Arab origin. Which side of his family or is he an Arab from both sides and when did his parents come to North America? Congratulations! Keep up the wonderful work.
Warmest Regards from
Rita Cohen-Sharaf"


Reply to Rita Cohen-Sharaf from Wafaa'

"Thanks for your commentary and encouragement. Paul Anka's both parents are originally Lebanese Arabs who arrived in Canada in the early part of the 20th century. No exact date is available as to the arrival of his family. Unless you are writing some article about him and it is extremely important for you to know, then I will be encouraged to write to Paul Anka or phone his manager. Otherwise, I will leave it at that. Thanks again."


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


5. Apology

We would like to apologize for not including the article about Modern Arab Symphony Composers in this issue. The author of the article has been undergoing prolonged and serious health problems. We wish him well and promise to include his article in the March episode.

______---_____________---_______


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]
_____________________________




Monthly Newsletter
January, 2002
Episode 4
Distributed by Al-Wafaa News:
http://www.INEAS.org/al-wafaanews

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


In this episode:1. The INSO's performance by Nahla Jajo in Baghdad
2. NEWS
3. INSO Tour Update
4. An Arab-American Popular Singer by Wafaa' Al-Natheema.


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



1. Report on the INSO's Performance
by Nahla Jajo
The Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra (INSO), conductedby Mohammed Amin Izzat, gave two performances in Baghdad's Al-Rashid Theatre on January 23th and 24th.

The program included:

Dance Macabre ................ Saint-Saëns (French)
Symphony no. 85 ................Haydn (Austrian)
'The Queen' Concerto for the piano & orchestra no. 20 ....... Mozart (Ausrian)

In both performance dates, the hall was full with an increasingly approving, appreciative and pleased audience. One interesting aspect about the current INSO is that the entire Orchestra is comprised of Iraqi born and raised musicians, which is relatively uncommon in Middle Eastern Orchestras.

For The Records:

* Saint-Saëns (1835-1921): The best known of the thirteen operas completed by Saint-Saëns is "Samson et Dalila", a romantic treatment of the biblical story.

* Haydn (1732-1809): His many works include 104 symphonies, 85 string quartets, 52 piano sonatas, 4 oratorios and 14 Masses.

* Mozart (1756-1791): His three last and best symphonies (Nos. 39, 40 and 41) were composed in the astonishingly short time of about six weeks in the summer of 1788.

-----------------------------------

2. NEWS:

** Ojala CD has been selected # 6 in the Austin Chronicle's Top Ten lists of 2001. The CD was produced and performed by the Iranian-born Kamran Hooshmand [subscriber] and the Mexican-born Javier Palacios. The 11-song CD includes love songs in both Persian and Spanish languages, often within the same song. Fourteen additional musicians from around the world have participated in this production with a variety of instruments such as accordion, clarinet, guitar and the Middle Eastern drums. Hooshmand plays on the 11-stringed Oud (or lute), which gives the CD its Middle Eastern character.The Austin Chronicle's list include Tosca Tango Orchestra's release "La Ciudad del Tango", and the Latin/Cuban dance band La Tribu's release "Ataca!". To see the entire list, please access http://www2.austinchronicle.com/issues/dispatch/2002-01-04/music_strung_all.html

More information about Ojala and how to order the CD can be obtained at their website at http://www.ojalamusic.com/

** Fuad Mishu, one of the earliest musicians of the INSO, has celebrated his 80th birthday this January. He currently lives in Tennessee, USA.

** In February, Jason Carter will give several performances in the Gulf States of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain. The dates and locations are: February 11, 02 at the Raddisson SAS Hotel in Bahrain and February 16 at the Virgin Megastore in Dubai, UAE. For tickets, call 04 3551862 or log on www.factoryproduct.com


(*_*)_____(*_*)


3. INSO Tour Update
Wafaa' Al-Natheema conference called Andrew Jones in South Africa and Denis Morrison in Seattle on Saturday, January 19. The three discussed the tour idea, goals and plans as well as grant proposal writing and grant-giving organizations. Andrew Jone's main goal is to have the Durban's Natal Philharmonic Orchestra sponsor the tour. The Orchestra's director, Bongani Thembe, being a progressive individual and a friend of Jones provide a positive initiative. Denis Morrison of INOC (Interfaith Network of Concern for the People of Iraq) indicated that Sponeck had received the draft letter written by him and awaits the signature of Denis Hallidayand Hans Von Sponeck who were both United Nations Humanitarian Coordinators in Iraq.

(*_*)_____(*_*)

4. An Arab-American Popular Singer
by Wafaa' Al-Natheema

Although we focus on information and articles on classical and orchestral music as well as on symphony composers in these monthly episodes, every once in a while we will introduce other musical genres and types of artists. Paul Anka was born in 1941. He became popular at the age of fifteen, when the recording of his own song 'Diana' sold more than 9 million copies throughout the world. In 1959, he settled in the USA (Coming from Canada), where he composed the hits, 'Put Your Head on My Shoulder' for himself, 'She is A Lady' for Tom Jones, and 'My Way' for Frank Sinatra.

Anka gave limited performances in the 1960s. He reemerged in the 1970s with his song 'You're Having My Baby', which although failed to please the critics, it became a huge success. By the mid-1970s, Anka had produced fifteen gold records.

_________---_____________---_______


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]

Thursday, July 13, 2006

INSO Monthly Newsletters Episodes 1-3

INSO Monthly Newsletter
December, 2001
Episode 3

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

In this episode:

1. News
2. INSO Tour Update by Denis Morrison [Sponsor in Seattle]
3. 'History of Music Documentation in Iraq' by Bassim H. Petros [W/E Team]
4. 'History of the INSO - Part II' translated into English by Wafaa' Al-Natheema [W/E Team]

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


1. NEWS:

* We are pleased to announce that Jason Carter, a Spanish guitar player from Britain, has joined our writing/editing team.

Jason Carter plays a fusion of flamenco, jazz and classical guitar. He was trained under John Williams and Paco Pena at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Some of his solo performances took place in Bahrain, Belgium, Finland, France, Holland, India, Ireland, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and the USA. Jason played with the Orchestra of the Royal Marines, New Irish Orchestra, Belgium Radio Choir and others. He co-founded the ‘Bahrain International Guitar Festival.’ This year Jason received a Music Award from the Crown Prince of Bahrain alongside four Arab Artists. In 2001 he performed the ‘Concerto de Aranjuez’ to celebrate the centenary of the composer’s life, Joaquin Rodrigo. This was performed in Finland, Ireland and the UK. He has also recorded ‘Boccherini Guitar Quintets’ with the Bingham String Quartet.

* Fawzi Habboushe [subscriber], music director and conductor of the Philadelphia Doctors' Orchestra, has participated in a workshop focusing on conducting in the Czech Republic between Nov 29 and Dec 9. The activities included rehearsals of Beethoven symphony # 2, Rimsky-Korsakov's Capriccio Espaniole, Copland's Outdoor Overture, DeBussy's Afternoon of a Faun, Strauss's Polka and Donna Diana's Overture of Resnicek. A concert with the Karlsbad symphony orchestra concluded the workshop.

----------------------------------------------


2. INSO Tour Update from Seattle by Denis Morrison

We are still looking for someone who can write a grant proposal to solicit funds for the INSO project. Currently, we have no funds to pay for a grant writer so that person would have to be able to look at including his/her fee within the grant proposal itself. Our hope initially wasto find someone with that skill to donate that ability.

As a side effort to the funding, a draft letter was sent to Hans Von Sponeck, former UN Humanitarian Aid Coordinator to Iraq; which if he agrees to its content, it will be sent to the two Washington State Senators asking for their support of the INSO project for Seattle. While visiting in Seattle, Mr.Sponeck was presented with the background of our intent with the INSO project and he was extremely supportive of the idea. He requested the draft letter be sent to him and we're hoping that he finds it acceptable.
_________---_____________---_______

3. 'History of Music Documentation in Iraq'
by Bassim H. Petros [W/E Team]

For over three decades, the Iraqi media (press, periodicals, TV and radio) have contributed in the publishing of musical articles and journals. Among the leading writers were:
1 Asa'ad Mohammed Ali, 2 Abdul Wahab Belal, 3 Adel El-Hashimi, 4 Abdul Wahab El-Sheikhli,
5 Soua'd El-Hermizi, 6 Bassim H. Petros, 7 Hussein Qaddouiri, 8 Hamdi M. Saleh, 9 Hameed Yasin.

During the 1980s and 1990s, writers such as Tarek Hassoon Fareed and Adel Al-Hashimi became among the major contributors in the music documentation process. For the INSO concerts and relevant program literature booklets, the major contributors were Ghazi Mustafa Bahjet, Mazin El-Zahawi, Munther J. Hafeth, Bassim H. Petrosand Hamdi Qaddouri. The World of Music, the first TV program of its kind,was established in 1974, as a weekly one-hour program, by both Munther J. Hafeth and Bassim H. Petros. They both hosted it for over a year, and then was continued by Father Phillip Helayee (Music Scholar), Abdul Razaak Al-Azzawi and Tarek Hassoon Fareed. During the second half of the 90s, Sultan Al-Khateeb (a young pianist, graduated from the Music and Ballet School, Baghdad) and Ali Abdul Amir (a journalist) hosted another musical TV program called 'Music Music'.

Musical conferences and festivals were regularly held and/or hosted in Baghdad, and other towns in Iraq. The National Symphony Orchestra used to give concerts in Baghdad, Mosul, Kirkuk, Erbil, Suleymania, Nassiriya and Basra with lectures presented prior to many of the performances. Special concerts were organized for Students Summer Popular Work Camps, universities and disabled rehabilitation centers.

Al-Kithara, Music and Children: Monthly magazines were published in 1975 by the Musical Arts Department of the Ministry of Culture and Information. Al-Kithara's Editor-in-Chief was Munir Bashir. Bassim H. Petros (currently living in NZ) was the magazine's editor and Munther J. Hafeth and Hussein Qaddouri (both living in Iraq) were its editing team. The Arabic Music Magazine (of the Arab Academy of Music "Al-Majma'a Al-Arabi Lil-moseeqa" of the Arab States League) was published in 1982. The first six issues were edited by the late Dr. Sinan Sa'eed. Then continued to be edited by Bassim H. Petros with Munir Bashir as Editor-in-Chief. The first 11 issues of the Arabic Music Magazine were published and printed in Baghdad. Later, four other issues were published outside of Iraq:

* One published in Sudan (studies on the Pentatonic Music),

* Another issue published in Morocco, and

* Two issues published in Syria..


Since 1997, the magazine has been published in Amman (where the Academy's new Secretary General Kifah Fakhouri). Five issues were released since then.National and international musical conferences and festivals were regularly held and/or hosted in Baghdad, which were organized and sponsored by the Iraqi National Music Committee of the International Music Council - Unesco. The committee was composed of Munir Bashir (president), Munther J. Hafeth (vice-president), Bassim H. Petros (secretary general), with other music documentors such as Hussein Qaddouri, Dr. Subhi Anwar Rashid and others.As a result, the musical culture gained an adequate level of documentation in Iraq, third after politics and sports, which is perhaps a common rank of subject importance worldwide.

(**************)

4. 'History of the INSO' by Wafaa' Al-Natheema [W/E team] Part 2
Mostly based on documents published by the Ministry of Culture and Information, and made available by Bassim H. Petros
-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

In 1959, the Orchestra became officially known as the IRAQI National Symphony Orchestra (INSO), whereby musicians began to earn monthly stipend. Before that year, all musicians used to perform on a volunteer bases. Due to Iraq's instability during the 1960s, the Orchestra was shut down a couple of times.

In 1971, it was reopened and continued its activities and performances till the present day.Since its establishment in the 1940s, the INSO has had twenty-two (Iraqi and foreign) conductors (their names will be enlisted in future issues)

The Orchestra did not just perform classical pieces by European composers, it had also played symphonic compositions by Iraqi musicians. Among them were Farid Allahwerdi, Munther J. Hafeth, Munir Bashir, Hanna Petros, Khalil Ismael, Beatrice Ohannissian, Agnes Bashir, Hussein Qaddouri, Mohammed Ra'oof and others.

To be continued............


-------------------------------------------------------------------
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]
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^


INSO Monthly Newsletter

November, 2001

Episode 2

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


In this episode:

1. News

2. 'A Violin & A Trip' by Andrew Jones [W/E Team]

3. History of the INSO translated into English by Wafaa' Al-Natheema [W/E Team]

4. Inquiry about M. E. composers by Nabil Azzam [Subscriber]

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1. News

* Recently, we learned that Iraqis are now able to get on the Internet in the convenience of their home or office, something that was unavailable before. We received our first email three days ago from Nahla Jajo in Baghdad, a violinist and one of INSO's writing/editing team. We were informed by her that the INSO just gave a performance in October. We await her report about the concert. The availability of the email service in Baghdad will make it easier for us to receive their reports, news and articles, not to mention it enables us to organize better for the tour.

* We are proud to announce that the famous Iraqi pianist and composer, Beatrice Ohanessian, had just joined our writing/editing team. Until we receive her credentials and article in December, we will introduce her with a brief background provided by BassimH. Petros:
Beatrice Ohanessian was born in Baghdad in 1930, where she started her early piano training at the age of 7. In 1937, she entered the Music Institute where she was accepted regardless of her age condition. She studied there all through 1944 under Prof. Julian Herts (Romanian). Upon graduation in 1944, she was appointed as piano teacher at the Institute of Fine Arts. On a scholarship grant, Beatrice proceeded with higher studies at the Royal Music Academy in London. Ms. Ohanissian was granted another scholarship to study at the Juliard School of Music in New York. Stay tuned for more.
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2. 'A Violin & A Trip -- Performing in Baghdad'

By Andrew Jones


It’s hard to remember the day, but I know it was hot in downtown Baghdad. I had found out about the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra (INSO) through my association with Layla Al-Attar, who was the Director General of Arts.

In 1993, Ms. Al-Attar and her husband were at a family member's house when they were killed by a cruise missile. Their house had been hit in January 1991 and destroyed. But at that time, they weren't home. Layla made a phone call and got me an invitation to a rehearsal. I was looking forward to it eagerly and would have been even more eager had I not lost my violin on the way over from the States. As it happened, my Lufhansa flight to Frankfurt and Rome had left early because of thunder storms. I had had my violin repaired. Unfortunately my partner was bringing it to the airport from the repair shop when he got stuck in traffic. So my violin missed the flight. He sent it via the next flight but that one was late because of the same group of storms. So by the time it arrived, my connecting flight had left already. So there I was about to take a video of the INSO and all I could think of was that my violin wasn't there with me. I remember they were playing Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings, a piece my own ensemble in the States had performed. They played very well.

After completing their rehearsal, one of the musicians approached me and started asking me questions. Yes, I am a musician, I said. My instrument?, the violin. He immediately grabbed one of the violinists, and spoke to him in Arabic. After which the young man politely handed me his violin. Now I didn't know everyone was watching this until I put my camera down, took up the instrument and this huge silence came over the hall. First, I played theA and E strings to see how well in tune they were. I sharpened the A string a bit to create perfect fifths. Because I changed the tuning of the A string, I had to raise the pitch on the D and G strings. Then, I listened again to all four strings and decided that they were in tune. I played a four octave D major arpeggio and a bit of Bach. When I finished all musicians applauded. Later I was able to perform in concert with the Baghdad Chamber Music Ensemble, a group made up of the principal players in the INSO.

In rehearsals as well as during our concert at the Saddam Arts, to say they played me into the dirt is an understatement. The concertmaster, Aram Zarassian, had studied in Russia and so had the cellist and a few of the others. Their training had been first rate and their playing was masterful whereas my performance was competent at best. But I was pleased for having the chance to do something other musicians wouldn't have had the chance to do so, perform in Baghdad at the Saddam Arts Center. Ms. Al-Attar and her husband attended the concert and they both were proud of me and their own musicians.

After the concert, I promised the musicians that I would help them come to the States and perform. Little did I know how difficult that was to accomplish here in the States, but I never forgot that promise. Now that I live in South Africa, I can and will do my best to arrange for them to tour here. I did eventually recover my violin in the lost and found department at Lufthansa Airlines in Frankfurt. The agent swore they didn't have it, but I insisted they did. After two hours of arguing and searching, I found it. Having survived such circumstances, I am interpreting this as some kind of an omen for what lies ahead. I took it as a sign and intend toplay it with members of the INSO when they come to South Africa.

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3. History of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra (INSO) Part 1

Translated to English by Wafaa' Al-Natheema

From documents published by the Ministry of Culture and Information, compiled and made available by Bassim H. Petros


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 in 1941.

It was conducted by Hanna Petros 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 Kerkuk (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). It was then when it became an official-paid Orchestra and continued so to this day.

To be continued......................

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4. Inquiry about Middle Eastern Composers[Please respond to Nabil Azzam directly regarding his inquiry and CC it to our address, so that we share the information with the list.]"

Greetings: I wonder if you have any printed material regarding symphonic works by composers from the Middle East. I am very much interested in the subject since I work with Mesto (an orchestra based in Los Angeles) Best, Nabil Azzam" Azzamv@aol.com

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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 (INSO) [IRAQ]
Andrew Jones, Violinist, Journalist [South Africa]
Salem A. Kareem, Composer & Oud player [UAE]
Beatrice Ohanessian, Composer, Pianist (INSO) [USA]
Bassim Hanna Petros, Cellist, Music Critic (INSO) [New Zealand]
Wafaa' Al-Natheema, List Moderator & Concert Tour Organizer [USA]
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INSO Monthly Newsletter
October 26, 2001
Episode 1

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

In this episode:
1. Remarks by Bassim H. Petros [Writing/Editing (W/E) Team]
2. Article by Munir Allahwerdi [W/E Team]
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1. Remarks on the INSO and Classical Music for Brainstorming
By Bassim H. Petros

The objective of the writing team for the INSO list is to introduce the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra's history, music and activities. In doing so, I would like to point out the following:

1. There is no western symphonic music in musicology; this type of music is unique. Therefore it’s sufficient to refer to it as symphonic music.

2. The INSO was the fruit of collaboration, it did not materialize due to a single person's initiative.

Should we seek to lay a case study about the INSO, I would suggest:

1 Few lines of INTRODUCTION: Symphonic Music in Iraq.

2 The Role of the Music Institute (1936 – 1940) in the formation of Classical Music Groups (Bands, smaller groups, solo players, etc.),

3 The founding stone of the first (string) orchestra introduced by the Fine Arts Institute before 1946, which presented its very first, but only one, concert at the Royal College of Medicine in
Baghdad (according to available documentation).

4 Then reaching the solid phase starting from the Baghdad Philharmonic Society (as an orchestra comprised of volunteers), to the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra as an official-paid orchestra, which is still so to this very day.

Musically, we need to focus on the literature presented by
the INSO, including Iraqi and Arabic music specially composed
and presented by the Orchestra.
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2. THE IRAQI NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA/1946-1951
A Personal Account
By Munir Allahwerdi

Munir, for heaven´s sake let us stop this “Monkey Business” (somehow some friends took me as a focal point in matter related to the Orchestra.)

With countless number of complaints, I was asked by friends at the Fine Arts Institute to leave them alone and refrain from persuading them to come to an orchestral rehearsal. They complained because I was putting them on the spot; making a difficult choice of either saying NO to a noble idea or agreeing to continue with the frustration of having to come to rehearsals without the basic ingredients of an orchestra. Eligible players for certain instruments did not even exist in Iraq and recruiting them from abroad by the Government was not financially feasible. No real orchestra was in sight.

But we don´t have an oboe player! "Well," I said, "I can play the solo oboe part on my clarinet when the clarinet part is not so important and it could be easily sacrificed." The idea was to
introduce symphonic music live to the Iraqi public which was unavailable to them. By symphonic, I mean orchestral diversity; strings, woodwinds, brass and processions. Who would care if instead of oboe a theme is played on the clarinet? So I would play the opening themes in both movements of Schubert´s Unfinished Symphony on the clarinet instead of oboe and when
that should be followed by the solo clarinet, it is me again on the clarinet itself.

But we don´t have a Bassoon player! "Come on fellows, that is very easy," I said, "I will play the Bassoon solo opening passage for Haydn´s Symphony "The Clock" on the lower register of my clarinet which sound´s quite like Bassoon." I also told them that there is no need to worry anymore. The army has just discharged a player from its Royal Guards Band into retirement and we could hire him for the job at the Institute as an “Office Boy”. He plays the Euphonium (a small Tuba). He shall be able to play the Bassoon parts on the
Euphonium. "Just be patient!"

But you, Munir, are doing all of this in order to enjoy the opportunity to play all the solo passages and have us the string players accompany you one viola player concluded. Of course I enjoyed playing the solo parts. Why do we play music anyway? By then, a glimpse of hope for real woodwind players to join us appeared on the horizon. During my coffee breaks while working as an engineer at the British firm Stephen Lynch, I visited my friend Arshak who had a tailoring shop on Rasheed Street. In that shop, a man sitting quietly on a chair busy mending holes in used clothes, was introduced to me as a talented flute player. His name was
Dikran Kousoudjian. I proposed that he comes to our next rehearsal. He was grateful for the pleasure of playing and didn't mind that it was compensation free. Dikran turned out to be an excellent professional musician (Flutist) who, according to rumors, fled Cyprus to hide in Iraq. With Dikran, the orchestra got a quantum jump ahead.

In a similar way, I enlisted a Spanish contrabass player named Valieri who was a music Academy graduate from Madrid playing with a cabaret band temporarily stationed in Baghdad. He played with us for about a year for free. Both of us used to ride my old Packard car to go to rehearsals. He left Iraq with his Band at the expiration of their residence permit leaving behind his instrument and his pupil, myself, whom he taught also free of charge. We gave him a thank-you gift of 20 Iraqi Dinars for the instrument. The money came from our subscriptions to the Baghdad Philharmonic Society of which I was the Secretary.
I played the contrabass for nearly a year until my good friend and a keen follower of the development of the orchestra, Jawad Selim, decided to act. His wife, Lorna, was already playing second violin occupying the chair next to Fuad Michu. Fuad was always the leader of the second violin section because he was the most reliable in that group with regard to keeping time. Jawad Salim, who was aware of my long term plans to leave Iraq to study abroad, wanted to secure a contrabass player to replace me. Since he played the guitar, we decided that I give him lessons on the contrabass. He learned quickly and did not waste time. We wanted to share our pleasant experiences with our friends and the society. We believed the most effective way would be to have them witness a live symphonic concert, and we did indeed succeed in converting people to music lovers.

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


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

The Writing/Editing Team
Biography
As of September 2001


Salem Abdel Kareem, United Arab Emerites (UAE)Born in Baghdad in 1953. Mr. Abdel Kareem is a graduate of theCenter for Musical Studies. He is a Oud player, composer and teacher. Since 1976, he has been given solo performances inside and outside of Iraq. Salem accompanied the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra (INSO) on the Oudin 1976, 1980 and 1993. He is a composer of more than 250 musical pieces. He established several music groups including the Oud Ensemble, which was comprised of 48 Oud players. His last position before leaving IRAQ was Dean of the Center of Musical Studies. He currently lives,composes and teaches in the UAE.
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Munir Allahwerdi, [Former INSO Musician] Austria
Born in Basra, Iraq in 1926. Joined the Fine Arts Institute in Baghdad in October 1942. Performed in many chamber music and orchestral concerts in Iraq as well as on radio and TV from 1945 and on mainly as solo clarinetist and sometimes as contrabassist. Created the first clarinet class and taught the instrument at the Fine Arts Institute. Graduated as 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 of Iowa. Worked as the head of the Arab States unit at the UN Financing System for Science and Technology for Development 1980-1985. In 1985, Munir retired in Vienna where he formed a group of chamber music players from various well-known orchestras and performed in Vienna and in Finland.
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Munther J. Hafeth, [Current INSO Musician] IRAQ
Born in Baghdad, in 1933. He completed his musical studies at the Fine Arts Institute in Baghdad in 1955. Mr Hafeth joined the Viola section of the Institute Orchestra in 1949. He was one of the founding members of the Hydn String Quartet. Munther proceeded with higher musical training in UK in 1950s. With Bassim Petros, he founded the program [World of Music] which aired weekly on Baghdad TV.From 1974 to 1992, he was vice president of the Iraqi National Music Committee of the International Music Council (IMC)He is a member and administration director of the Arab Academy of Music (AMA) of the Arab League and an editorial member of the Arab Music Magazine of the AMA. Mr. Hafeth was leading composer throughout the lst three decades of the 20's century.
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Nahla A. Jajo, [Current INSO Musician] IRAQ
Born in Kirkuk, north of Iraq in 1970. Started her music studiesat the Music and Ballet School in Baghdad at the age of six. She received a diploma in music from the same school in 1988. Began playing violin with the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra in 1992. Nahla has been teaching the violin at the Music and Ballet School since 1994. A member of the Somer Chamber Music from 1994 to 1998 and currently a member of the Baghdad Music Group. In 1991, she obtained a B.S. in architectural engineering from Baghdad University in Iraq. Worked with several architectural engineering firms in Iraq and Jordan. Currently, she is working in interior design in Baghdad as an independent contractor.
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Andrew P. Jones, South Africa
Born in Virginia, USA in 1952. He is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music and Boston University. As a violinist, Mr. Jones has performed with the Opera Company of Boston, the National Philharmonic Orchestra, the String Reunion in New York, The New Hampshire Symphony and others. He has also performed with famous artists including Stevie Wonder, Lena Horne, Lou Rawls, Tom Jones, Gladys Knight and the Pips and Sammy Davis Jr. A highlight of Andrew's musical career was a 1991 invitation to perform with the Baghdad Chamber Ensemble at the Saddam Arts Centre in Baghdad. He has been a broadcast journalist covering news for ABC, NBC, the BBC, WDR German Television, The Canadian Broadcast Company and other networks in S. Africa and Russia. Currently, he works as a filmmaker and a guest lecturer in Johannesburg, South Africa.
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Bassim H. Petros, [Former INSO Musician] New Zealand
Born in Baghdad in 1934. Joined the Fine Arts Institute in Baghdad in 1947 to study 'Cello under Sherrif Muhi_ddin Haydar (Turkish), Hagob Kouyoumidjian (Iraqi) and Adres Taurrer (French) Joined the Baghdad Philharmonic (INSO later on) in 1948 as a Cellist. Established and presented with Munther J. Hafeth the-first-of-its-kind Baghdad TV weekly program (The World of Music). Bassim is a member of the Iraqi National Music Committee (INMC), the International Music Council (Unesco), the Arab Academy of Music (of the Arab States League) and the Iraqi Artists Union. Bassim has been part of Arab music festivals, conferences and rostras. For five years, he worked at the National Music Conservatory in Amman as Cello and Contrabass teacher and as a member of its orchestra and band.
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Wafaa' Al-Natheema, The United States of America (USA)

Wafaa' Al-Natheema is the moderator of the INSO email list.