Asia/Oceania

 
The Ensemble seeks to connect and inform all people who are committed to ensemble music education for youth empowerment and social change.

Agrigento: Advancing Music as Social Action 

05-04-2022

Music for social change is a field with enormous potential, yet one that has not been fully realized because of a central paradox: a common reliance on musical and educational practices that have little to do with social change.

Finding Harmony in Chennai and Delhi

03-02-2022

In India’s most disadvantaged communities, musicianship is not always encouraged. Domestic violence is not uncommon in some homes; in others, girls are not allowed to sing due to household chores. Some families simply don’t like their children singing. And yet many of these very same communities have produced the members of the NalandaWay Foundation’s Children’s Choir.

‘Controlled Chaos’: In Soma, New Techniques Produce Stronger Rehearsals

02-02-2022

When children do this for the first time, they often begin with uncertainty. But they quickly realize that they are hearing the music in a different way. They also come to understand that each of them has an important role to play in taking responsibility and shaping the music.

Korea’s Orchestra of Dream Celebrates Ten Years with “I Contact”

01-05-2022

KACES wrestled with the best way to plan the celebration, an important milestone for us. Ironically, minimizing human contact became the primary mission for a concert designed to bring people together. We eventually came up with the idea of a contactless concert and began putting into action a plan unlike any we had tried before.

Music Endures at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music

12-01-2021

The ANIM campus had long been a target of Taliban terrorism, not only for its musical focus but also for its male/female coeducation and promotion of women. Its visionary founder/leader, Ahmad Sarmast, had once been injured in a terrorist bombing.

In August, the peaceful campus, which included dormitories and a performance space, was taken over almost immediately by the Taliban, who are now using it as an operations center. Since then, we have been holding our collective breath, worrying about the safety of ANIM’s hundreds of students and faculty.

Arts-Based Research—or at Least Our Version of It

11-03-2021

In January 2020, Sistema Whangarei – Toi Akorangi found itself in a quandary. Like many programs around the globe, Sistema Whangarei has limited access to local professional orchestras or universities; instead of their expertise, we rely on the support of our young people to create a sustainable program. It is paramount, then, that we attract and retain teenagers in our organization. But we had noticed a concerning phenomenon: students who seemed invested in our program and who were making great progress would suddenly, unexplainably leave.

The Key to Interfaith Collaboration in the Middle East? Steel Drums

10-06-2021

I was not anxious to go to either Afghanistan or Iraq. Most recently, I had been working in Israel, but had to abandon my teaching there due to the Second Intifada. I was also directing several university and secondary school steel bands at home and was impressed with how quickly the students learned, formed close bonds, and enjoyed themselves in that setting.

It hit me: What if I could start an Arab/Israeli youth music ensemble in Israel using a musical instrument that did not belong to any of the cultures in the Middle East—one that was itself born out of conflict in Trinidad and Tobago almost 70 years ago?

New Project Connects TAs across Asia

09-15-2021

Singapore-based teaching artist Jeffrey Tan is exploring ways that fellow TAs can advocate for inclusive arts practice in Asia, through his ITAC-funded program Teaching Artist Asia. The project seeks to document, map, and advocate for TAs working across the region, exploring inclusive practice and collaborating with the sector’s disability community. As part of the project, Tan and a series of guest speakers host monthly online sessions that unpack the unique ways that TAs in Asia approach their work. Sessions are free to attend, and the next one is September 27. View the schedule via ITAC to get involved. The project’s findings will be shared at the ITAC6 Conference in Oslo in 2022.

Finding the Musical ‘Meeting Point’ Our Students Seek

09-01-2021

For the peoples of the Middle East, especially, this is a crucial time to question the hegemony of Western classical music and to reassert their own musical traditions. During the last five years, I’ve been able to observe the way this has played out in the historical regions of the Armenian Highlands and Mesopotamia, where both Armenian and Kurdish musical traditions—two traditions with a common root—are indigenous.

Floods of Fire: An Evolving Artist-Led Community Building Project

08-04-2021

What is the role and purpose of the orchestra in the 21st century? As society, culture, and funding models change, how audiences engage with live music also continues to shift, which has led to an “industry-wide existential soul-searching.” Some argue that the traditional orchestral model is risk-averse and outdated, and that orchestras could better address some of these issues by “creating a new canon” and “better connecting with the world.”

With orchestras around the world seeking new ways to work, engage, and connect with communities, I’d like to share with you a project that I’m involved in, where an orchestra and its community are collaborating in deep and meaningful ways to tell their unique stories.

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