Support of US Musicians Helping Iraqi National Orchestra Prosper
INSO has received 100 donated instruments to date
The Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra, which created such a stir last year during its debut US concert tour, is prospering thanks, in part, to the generosity of stateside benefactors and the New York-based charity Musicians For Harmony, Inc., and despite war-related incidents that have included at least one suicide bombing near the Baghdad Convention Center that acts as its rehearsal hall. To date the INSO has received 100 donated instruments. Now violin maker Nabil Abd al-Salaam—shown here with Yo-Yo Ma and believed to be Baghdad's first and only luthier—has obtained wood from luthier Bill Weaver to build a cello. In June, Cho Liang-Lin performed on Nabil's Rose violin (made during the Iraq War and the subject of a recent Patrick Dillon documentary). The violin is being auctioned to raise funds for the INSO. Despite the turmoil in their country, the musicians are optimistic about the future. "I really do like teaching and most I like children," says 23-year-old INSO violinist Annie Melconian. "When I'm with them I forget all about this world—hatred, wars, and pollution—and transfer into another world full of happiness, joy, innocence, and peace."