Tuesday, July 20, 2010

منير عيسى نوري - Munir Allahwerdi



Munir Allahwerdi was born on March 15, 1926 in Basra, IRAQ. He was one of the early founders of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra (INSO), which began its activities in the 1940s.

ولد منير عيسى نوري في 15 آذار 1926 بمدينة البصرة في العراق ، وهو أحد المؤسسين الأوائل للفرقة السمفونية الوطنية العراقية التي كانت بداياتها في عقد الأربعينيات .ا


The following clip features an interview with Munir in Arabic. The clip is a small part of a one-hour interview recorded in Vienna by Wafaa' Al-Natheema on February 11, 2010:

أدناه مقطع قصير من مقابلة مع منير باللغة العربية ، وهو جزء من حوار دام ساعة سجلته وفاء النظيمة في فيينا بتاريخ 11 شباط 2010 .ا






Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fuad As-Saden Meets His French Daughter



After 45 Years of Separation, Fouad As-Saden, Iraqi Violinist, Teacher and One of the Early Founders of the INSO, Meets His French Daughter in Erbil, IRAQ



by Wafaa’ Al-Natheema




© Copyright Yasmin, 2009

Fuad As-Saden with Daughter Yasmin in Erbil


A French woman sent me an email on April 18, 2008 inquiring about whether I knew the whereabouts of Fouad As-Saden, one of the early founders and musicians of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra (INSO). She introduced herself as Fouad’s daughter whom she has not seen since 1964. She searched his name on the Internet and was directed to me through this INSO blog, which I have been maintaining for over three years. After we exchanged phone numbers and talked a couple of times, I emailed a large number of Iraqis requesting Fouad's tel. number.

Unfortunately, the number I had for As-Saden when I met and interviewed him in 2003 was not working in 2008! So it took us few weeks before obtaining his valid number. Yasmin, his daughter, contacted the French embassy in Baghdad to obtain his mobile number. Her first call to him was overwhelming having been after 45 years of separation and because they could not understand and hear each other well. She was uncomfortable with English and he was with French. As a result, I phoned him in Baghdad and had a conference call with Yasmin in Paris talking simultaneously. It was a touching voice reunion.

Theirs was an unsuccessful story of mixed marriages between easterners and westerners: The mother left Iraq with Yasmin and they never met with Fuad As-Saden again.

After several attempts of phoning her father and communicating with her half brother, Faris, in the UAE, Yasmin and her husband met with her half brother in the UAE on November 30, 2008. Later in Christmas of the same year, Yasmin’s son, Nicholas, visited Faris. Finally, Fouad As-Saden and his two sons, Faris and Zaid, met with Yasmine on November 13, 2009 in Erbil. This Movie-like reunion lasted for only five days. But for Fouad, it was his first trip outside Baghdad in 25 years!


About flying to Erbil from the UAE, wrote Yasmin, “We had to take a flight by an unknown airline company using an airplane without any logo on it to go to the North of Iraq. It was a strange and stressful situation for me. The flight was postponed for two hours, so we ended up flying at night over Iraq without any flashing lights! This added more stress. We arrived at about 8pm at Erbil airport


Then she continued, “Zaid, the elder brother came to introduce himself at the reception. It was our first meeting! He was gentle, nice and very shy. He helped us with our luggage. I had stomachache, I felt nauseous, and my heart was beating very strong before going to my father’s house and his wife. I entered first and saw my father; he was sitting on a sofa and his wife was standing up with her arms open to kiss me. After that I sat near my father on the sofa and he took my head in his hands and kissed me. My stress disappeared immediately after our meeting

About her father, Yasmin stated, “My father has no teeth. He walks with the help of a crutch taking small and slow steps. Sometimes I was very sad, my emotions were very strong. My father was old, yet I remembered a different image from the distant past, forty-five years ago. I was not sad about my parents’ divorce because it was their concern, but about the fact that I always thought that my father did not care about me. However, after this reunion, I have the answer; he has loved me, and still does.”





© Copyright Yasmin, 2009

Zaid (left) with his father, Fuad As-Saden and Ysmin


© Copyright Yasmin, 2009


Zaid (left), Yasmin, Faris (right) and his mother




The case of Yasmin finding her father through this INSO blog was not the only one in 2008. On July 28, 2008, the German neice of both INSO musicians, Nuri and Ghazi Bahjat, wrote to me inquiring about her uncle's ontact information in Baghdad after twenty-eight years of separation. These stories have elevated the importance of this blog for me. Looking forward to being part of other positive stories.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fawzi Habboosh & the Physicians Symphony Orchestra



Fawzi Habboosh, MD
Iraqi Conductor







Please note the new youtube channel for the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra (INSO), which can be accessed at http://www.youtube.com/user/IraqiNSOrchestra


Subscribe to the channel and receive clips every few months.


By clicking twice on the screen above, you will be automatically directed to the
clip at the youtube channel where you find more written description about the clip.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Khatchatur Pilikian: Iraqi Opera Singer

Courtesy of Khatchatur Pilikian

* Born in Mosul, Iraq in 1939. Khatchtur lived and studied in Iraq, Lebanon and Italy. He left Iraq for Lebanon in 1951/52.

* Khatchatur I. Pilikian is a performing and recording musician (RAI-TV, RCA, Durium, Poetica), painter (Gentes Ars=People’s Art, International Exhibition Prize, Rome, 1961), and a research scholar/lecturer.

* After leaving his studies in architecture at Rome University (1957-1959), Pilikian pursued his art studies at the Fine Arts Academy and the French Academy, both in Rome, while continuing his music studies at Rome’s St. Cecilia Academy and Chigiana Academy in Siena.

* As a leading tenor, Pilikian was invited to Armenia, where he made his debut in 1961, singing the role of Cavaradossi in Puccini’s opera Tosca, at the Spendiarian Opera Theatre of Yerevan, conducted by maestro Yuri Davitian.

* In 1964, Pilikian created two roles in Mario Nascimbene’s TV-opera Faust a Manhattan, conducted by maestro Franco Ferrara and directed by Sandro Bolchi, presenting Italy in the International TV Festival Premio Italia 64.

* In 1970, an original poster in Kufic style, designed by K. I. Pilikian, publicised the First Poetry Encounter—a world conference on Arab poetry, held in Beirut.

* In 1973, Leonardo da Vinci on voice, music and stage design was the title of his research as a Fulbright scholar at Indiana University, Bloomington,

* In 1975, he completed the resident requirements for the Doctor of Music degree.

* In 1976, Khatchatur Pilikian joined the music faculty of Wayne State University (Michigan), where, in addition to his academic responsibilities as a pedagogue/performer with WSU faculty, Professor Pilikian designed and directed an original university radio WDET-FM series entitled HARC-The Heritage of Armenian Culture (sponsored by the Armenian General Benevolent Union—AGBU Alex Manoogian Cultural Fund).

* In Jan. 2002, he took part, as a tenor soloist, with Cahit Baylav (violin) and Hassan Erraji (oud), in the NAZIM HIKMET 100 Celebration Concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

* In April 22, 2006, Pilikian produced and directed his original Audio-Visual Libretto—Harmonic Synthesis of Armenian Poems and Music, for the AGBU 100 Anniversary, Montreal Chapter, Canada.

* Garod Books of the Gomidas Institute has recently published Pilikian’s latest book titled "UNESCO LAUREATES: Nazim Hikmet & Aram Khatchaturian"

* Khatchatur currently live in London.

* He was not affiliated with the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra (INSO), but as an Iraqi who specializes in western classical music (whether composer, musician or conductor) and/or opera singing, he is featured here.

Listen to his performance here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7x0dfYwusw



Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Beatrice Ohanessian (1927-2008)
























Beatrice Ohanessian
Pianist and composer
March 15, 1927 in Baghdad - July 17, 2008 in Minnesota
Courtesy of Bassim H. Petros

Monday, May 19, 2008

Fuad Ridha As-Saden & Fuad al-Mashta




This is a clip from the Documentary Film,

"Baghdad in Four Days"


Video taped in November 2003 in Baghdad

by

Wafaa' Al-Natheema


The clip includes an interview with INSO founder
and viola player, Fuad Ridha As-Saden who was
teaching at the Music & Ballet School of Baghdad
at the time of the interview

and with Fuad al-Mashta who was a music
teacher at the above mentioned school and a musician with the
Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra (INSO)




Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Farid Allahwerdi & Jewad Selim



Picture taken in 1953 at the British Cultural Center
From Left:
Farid Allahwerdi, Jewad Selim and Vartan Manoogian
Also appears Jewad Selim's wife, Lorna (left)

Farid Allahwerdi -- Profile


Picture taken at the King
Faisal II Hall
on March 6, 1953
Baghdad Philharmonic Society

From left:
Vartan Manoogian-violin, Sandu Albu-violin, Julian Hertz- piano, Farid Allawerdi-viola and André Thoerè- Chello




Farid Allahwerdi
(b. 1923 in Basra, Iraq- d. February 2, 07 in Bublin, Ireland)

A composer of modern music and a member of the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM). In 1948 he graduated from Law College of University of Baghdad. He studied composition in Paris, Moscow and New York. In 1950, Allahwerdi earned a diploma in violin and piano from the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad. He then completed a Master's degree in Music Composition from The Hunter College in NY. His compositions include "Al-Mansooriyya" symphonic poem, which aired on Moscow radio in 1958, and 'Fantasy' for solo violin, and have been performed by many notable performers including Quatuor Margand, the Yasuda Ken-Ishiro String Quartet, the Moscow Radio and TV Symphony Orchestra, Najmi Succari, Vartan Manoogian and Igor Chernyavsky.

Allahwerdi taught musical eduaction, theory and instruments, mainly viola and violin, at Baghdad's Fine Arts Institute (for 25 years) and at The Academy of Fine Arts of Baghdad University (for five years). For over a decade, Farid also taught at the Yarmouk University in Irbid, Jordan. He has received many prizes including the Prix D'Honneur de L'Ecole Nationale de Musique de Saint-Brieuc in 1952. In 1995 he was awarded Honorary Certificate from the Arab League of Music for contribution and promotion of Arabic Music

Allahwerdi lived in Dublin, Ireland, for four years until his death.