10 Reasons Why You Have To See The Palestine Youth Orchestra’s UK Tour This Summer by Sophia Smith Galer

06 July '16

The Palestine Youth Orchestra maintains a unique position amongst youth orchestras internationally, uniting Western and Arabic music and bringing together talented Palestinians from around the world to create an orchestral ensemble of the highest standard.  For details on booking tickets, please click here: http://bit.ly/1TJM1cW


1 – This will be the first time that the Palestine Youth Orchestra is touring the UK, following successful tours throughout the Middle East and Europe. This summer will see their biggest tour to date in its 12 year history, performing in Perth, Glasgow, Leeds, Birmingham, Cardiff and London.


2 – The orchestra comprises 70 bright young musicians from the West Bank and Gaza, who in the face of conflict and war are spreading a message of peace and harmony through their commitment to music.  They will be joined by members of the Palestinian diaspora from Jordan, Syria, the US, Europe and even Australia.


3 – Since its establishment in 2004, the PYO has gone on to play with world class musicians including the legendary Lebanese composer Marcel Khalife. Its smaller ensemble, the Palestine Strings, played with Britain’s own Nigel Kennedy at the BBC Proms in 2013.


4 – The only time the orchestra can meet and rehearse together is when they go on tour as it is very difficult to get visas or permits for all its members to return to Palestine. The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow will be their home before the tour for them to meet and prepare their music.

Palestine Youth Orchestra UK Tour

5 – Many of the students who were first taken under the wing of the PYO had never performed in public before. Now many of them have become leading musicians and have played in world-class music festivals and venues such as the Ravello Festival in Italy, Beitteddine Festival in Lebanon and at the Royal Opera House Moscat in Oman, among many others.

Palestine Youth Orchestra UK Tour 2016

6 – The orchestra will bring an important message to the UK: promoting intercultural understanding and musical exchange. This year they are inviting a small selection of Britain’s finest young conservatoire students from The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the Edinburgh Youth Orchestra to join the orchestra and learn about Arabic music and  Palestinian life and culture.

Palestine Youth Orchestra UK Tour 2016

7 – Their programme reflects the orchestra’s diversity and initiative in tackling challenging music from the Western world, including Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3, Graham Fitkin’s energy packed, pop inspired Metal and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

Palestine Youth Orchestra UK Tour 2016

8 – But what is MOST exciting is that they will bring Arabic music to venues all around the UK, not only playing famous songs by legendary female singers Om Kolthoum and Fairuz but also performing their own Arabic improvisations.

Palestine Youth Orchestra UK Tour 2016

9 – Sian Edwards, one of the UK’s finest conductors and Head of Conducting at the Royal Academy of Music, will be conducting the PYO. This is her fifth time conducting the orchestra but the first time she will be doing so in her home country!

Nai Barghouti

10 – They will be joined by the rising star of Arabic music, Nai Barghouti, who both sings and plays the flute. She will be making her UK debut this summer after her acclaimed performances at the Montreux Festival and the UN headquarters in New York. Watch Nai perform here 

So there we go – 10 reasons why the PYO’s UK tour is totally unmissable.  Make sure you follow  Palmusic on social media at @palmusic_uk and join in the conversation using #PYOtourUK.