Afghan Women’s Orchestra – Orchestra of St John's | Taking classical music out into the community

Afghan Women’s Orchestra

Afghan Women’s Orchestra
2019 Residency and Mentorship programme

In collaboration with Somerville College, the Oxfordshire County Music Service (OCMS) and the University of Oxford Faculty of Music, OSJ engaged with the young musicians of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM) to cultivate musical and personal skills and develop mutual understandings across cultural boundaries.

An ongoing mentorship programme for ANIM instrumentalists, conductors and composers, a distance musical mentorship programme between Oxford University and ANIM students, and a week-long residency in Oxford for the Afghan Women’s Orchestra (Ensemble Zohra) included workshops, academic panel discussions, community engagement activities and performances in Oxfordshire and London with OSJ, OCMS and OU student musicians. This is the first time that the orchestra travelled to the United Kingdom, and OSJ was pleased to be the driving force behind this historic event.

Distance Music Lessons

OSJ provided much-needed online music lessons for the students of ANIM in trumpet (Paul Archibald), composition (Toby Young), percussion (Chris Nall) and conducting (Cayenna Ponchione).

Oxford-ANIM Musical Mentorship Programme

Oxford University Students met with younger students at regular intervals during term time, to discuss musical backgrounds and share musical experiences. The mentorship programme was designed to build connections across cultural and physical boundaries.

Afghan Women’s Orchestra (Ensemble Zohra) Residency (12-19 March 2019)

The Afghan Women’s Orchestra, Ensemble Zohra, were in residence at Somerville College from the 12th-19th of March. During this time they played alongside, OSJ, Oxford University, Harrow Young Musicians and Oxford County Music Service students, took part in masterclasses, panel discussions, and performed in schools concerts in Oxfordshire. They performed at the Harrow Arts Centre, Sheldonian Theatre, Holywell Music room and Lancaster House.

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