UPDATE: Unfortunately, this project won't succeed on Kickstarter. Please visit the following sites to keep up to date with the NYOI and to find out how you can help them save their summer camp this year, and to guarantee the orchestra's existence going forward. Thanks to everyone who pledged! Your support is greatly appreciated.
NYOI on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NYO.IRAQ
The German Förderverein on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JO.Irak
NYOI on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/nyoiinfo
A youth orchestra in Iraq? Amid the poverty, and violence? It seems impossible, but it’s true. The National Youth Orchestra of Iraq consists of musicians from all ethnic and religious backgrounds. They come together each summer for two weeks of intense musical training, learning to trust each other and work together.
But it’s not easy. Music teachers are rare, instruments are in shambles, and the orchestra members don’t even speak the same language. Security remains a constant concern, and there is a large gap in the orchestra’s budget.
With your help, Harmony-Iraq will capture the musical journey of an improbable group in a country beset by decades of desperate conditions. We’ll collect film, audio, photos, interviews, portraits, and testimonials from this year’s two week summer camp and create a 45 minute documentary film. Money collected will also help directly fund the orchestra, and give these kids a chance they won't otherwise have.
“The orchestra is a complete paradox from top to bottom” says music director Paul MacAlindin. It exists thanks to Zuhal Sultan, a young Iraqi woman who, in 2009, advertised for a conductor to start up a youth orchestra in Iraq. Auditions are held on YouTube, and music lessons are done using Skype. Talented and experienced music tutors from around the world coach the musicians in the orchestra and give them valuable training that is otherwise simply missing in Iraq.
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Master of the Queen's Music, is the orchestra’s honorary composer-in-residence. His new piece for the orchestra, to be premiered in Iraq this summer, is dedicated to Prince William and Kate Middleton on the occasion of their British Royal Wedding in 2011.
Also, Iraqi composers Ali Authman and Mohammed Amin Ezzat will have new works performed by the orchestra, making this year’s event a bonanza of new orchestral music.
Harmony-Iraq is sending a film maker and camera crew to Iraq during the two week summer camp to collect the stories and experiences and assemble them on an interactive multimedia DVD. Your pledge to Harmony-Iraq will enable us to make the DVD capturing the experience of the orchestra, and at least 15% will go directly to the orchestra itself, enabling them to have their summer camp.
The stories that we collect, in film, audio, and photos, and personal testimonials will be distributed online using a Creative Commons license. This will help others tell the story about the orchestra, and it will play a role in making the orchestra more sustainable in the future.
Please support this project and help the young musicians in Iraq have an uplifting and magical orchestral experience!
About the filmmakers
The multimedia DVD and all other digital goodies will be produced by Cologne-based filmmaker Ulli Schauen and the German production company Lighthouse-Film.
Ulli Schauen's in-depth documentary work has covered subjects as diverse as the US occupation of South Korea, bouncers at discos, Indian "untouchables" throughout history, the reasons why men visit prostitutes, and conflict facing muslims building mosques in Germany. While working with Paul MacAlindin, he's become "downright smitten" with the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq, and hopes the Kickstarter sponsors are as curious as he is about the life and passions of these young Iraqis.
The creative minds at Lighthouse-Film are presently finishing a six-part-series of documentaries on high profile Turkish writers, among them Nobile Prize winner Orhan Pamuk.
Our ambitious goal
The funding target for this project is very ambitious. It has to be, or we can't meet both goals of supporting the orchestra and filming the orchestra. The film part of the project is a relatively fixed cost, while the orchestra needs all the support we can give it. Therefore, as we raise more and more money, a larger and larger hunk of it goes to directly funding the orchestra. For every dollar over the funding target, 75% is for the orchestra. That's our motivation for hitting and exceeding the goal!
Many thanks to Mike Newman and Richard "Dobbs" Hartshorne for providing the video footage from 2009 and 2010 that was used in the making of our teaser video.
On Facebook and elsewhere
Join the NYOI.IRAQ group on Facebook, and share it with your friends. Watch videos and press coverage from the orchestra's first two years on YouTube. Please share this project with your friends! Thank you.