Iraq: Conductor in delicate negotiations with religious leaders




Conductor in delicate negotiations with religious leaders

The Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra’s director and chief conductor Karim Wasfi has negotiated performances in 2010 in the holy Shiite cities of Karbala and Najaf, where conservative religious values dominate.

Explaining his delicate negotiations with religious leaders there, he told reporter Steven Lee Myers: “There’s no indecent music.”

It is only three years ago that the New York Times’ Edward Wong wrote movingly about The Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra struggle for survival at a time when its members fled for safety abroad and those who remained practiced in secret for fear of offending militants who considered music un-Islamic.

“We were fighting against the impending doom simply by functioning,” the orchestra’s director said.

Now the orchestra finds itself ‘out of the bottleneck’, as Karim Wasfi put it, facing challenges in a post-conflict society that are no less daunting for being less immediately life-threatening.

Click to read more about music in Iraq

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Steven Lee Myers’ blog on New York Times’ website – 22 July 2009:

‘National Symphony Orchestra’

Other music news from Iraq

AFP – 16 July 2009:

‘Iraqi ‘rap royalty’ takes to the Baghdad stage’

Alsumaria Iraqi Satellite TV Network – 14 July 2009:

Iraqi Rap Band DZK rocks Baghdad

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