Very inspiring article in today's Sunday Times about Zuhal Sultan, the young Iraqi girl who started the National Youth Orchestra of Baghdad.
“When the war broke out, most of the music teachers in Iraq disappeared. They either left the country or stopped teaching. Many young musicians in Iraq are self-taught. It is the only way,” she says.
Finally, she sought funding for her venture. “I was staying up late at night sending 40 emails a day to anyone I could think of,” she says. “One day I found that the deputy prime minister [of Iraq] was on Twitter, so I sent him a message, with an article about me and the orchestra, and asked him if he would be interested in supporting us. Two days later I met him and he gave me $50,000. It was the quickest $50,000 I ever got,” she says. “After that, I was ecstatic because I just knew it was going to work out.”
With some irony, since she's now based in Scotland, this article is classified under "Scottish Lifestyle Stories". I'd have put it under: "Music", "Inspirations", "Cultural Recovery", "Incredible Tales of What Can Be Achieved Given Enough Personal Oomph" or something of that ilk. More power to Zuhal's elbow, vision and enterprise!
Jessica Duchen is a music journalist and the author of four novels, two biographies and several stage works. She writes regularly for The Independent and BBC Music Magazine. Her latest novel, Songs of Triumphant Love, is published by Hodder.
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