Born in Irak, raised in Damascus before he went to the famous Victoria College in Alexandria, then to London at the Royal Academy of Music, Solhi al-Wadi’s life is a nice example of a Middle-Eastern sophisticated cosmopolitanism better known in the West through Edward Said’s works and life.
Like the great maestro Solhi al-Wadi who died a few months ago, Ra‘ad Khalaf is from an Iraqi origin. Famous violinist, inspired in his works by thousand-year old heritage of the Syrian civilization, he founded at the end of year 2006 the first all women symphonic orchestra in the area.
Conductor Ra‘ad Khalaf got the idea of this orchestra by year 2006 in order to help its 62 players and 39 singers, trained in Syria or abroad, in finding good opportunities to perform in concerts, as the orchestra did in Dubai with great success, some days ago.
Obviously, the project is also to give a different picture of the Syrian culture and of the situation of women in this country. Let us hope that Professor Bernard Lewis will hear about Mari Orchestra: he could give up some of his arrogant ideas about culture in general and music in particular, in the Arab World!
Follow that link to read the original and more detailed post in French. And to discover the more cultural than political blog ot the official Syrian "visitor" to the USA, this link to a very intreresting and (apparently) more cultural and personnal than political blog