Afghan Women’s Orchestra

Residency and collaboration

The Afghan Women’s Orchestra, Ensemble Zohra, was formed in 2014 as an ensemble at the relatively newly founded Afghanistan National Institute of Music. As can be seen from the institute’s website, it is the ‘first ever all-female ensemble in the history of Afghanistan’ (https://www.anim-music.org/girls-ensemble/) and it is led by the first female conductor in Afghanistan. New horizons are opening up for gender equality all over the world, but young women in Afghanistan face additional challenges compared to their colleagues in the UK. This project will bring several older and more advanced members of Ensemble Zohra from Kabul to Oxford for a two-week residency. During their residency they will each be twinned with one female Oxford student as well as one female school student. They will have the opportunity to make chamber music with OSJ players, explore the educational opportunities in and around Oxford in formal and informal settings, perform alongside OSJ players in a side-by-side concert in the Sheldonian theatre, share their own experiences and stories through panel discussions and open forums, take part in musical leadership training with the conductors of OSJ, and socialise with their UK colleagues.