This is a summary of the information I have received from Sima Khory Odeh, Executive Director of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music in Ramallah about the Gaza Music School.
“The Music School was established in 2012 as a branch of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music. It organised community outreach programs, festivals, concert seasons and music activities. It has affected the lives of thousands of Gazans under siege especially children and youth.
A lot ot the teachers and students have lost family members, friends, neighbours and homes. Most are now displaced and lacking the basic needs of life. When Khamis Abushaban, the Administrative Assistant reached their building, located at the Red Crescent Society, he discovered that half of the structure had been heavily damaged. Musical instruments, equipment, and teaching tools were either burnt or destroyed. “The sole grand piano in Gaza survives as a witness to this destruction, eagerly awaiting the chance to be played again.”
While the genocide continues it has not been easy to plan any activities while we are sure that music would definitely help traumatized children and their families. If and when the situation allows, some musicians might conduct interactive music activities for children in schools and shelters. Some areas are very dangerous. Other areas allow a person to move in the vicinity of two kilometers which is not safe either. It has not been easy to plan any activities …The needs will be immense, but it is most important to stop the genocide and then we all need to work together with our friends and partners to try to bring music back to Gaza or what is left of it. .. We have to bring back the children to music as they need it more than ever.
Until now, we managed to establish a shelter and financially support around 40 musicians to get their basic needs. However, the needs are immense .
It seems that the word "human" can be used for some people but must not be used for those who take part, approve and support the genocide on Gaza.
Together we can make a difference to the lives of young Palestinians through music especially in Gaza which needs us now more than ever.
Gaza in our minds,
Sima Khory Odeh
To contact or support he Gaza Music School / Edward Said National Conservatory of Music in Palestine go here: email@example.com
The following is Mahmoud Abuwarda’s tribute to Lubna Alyaan, an aspiring violinist martyred in Gaza.
“On a quiet day amid the few serene days in Gaza, I met that calm girl with eyes full of determination and passion. Lubna Alyaan was preparing for an audition for a music scholarship at the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, where I worked as a guitar teacher and academic supervisor. I will never forget the enthusiasm and passion that filled Lubna’s eyes. She told me with strong will that she wanted to study the violin, even though the violin class was full. My question to her was: Why the violin? She answered, “I love the violin passionately, and I want to become one of the world’s top violinists. That’s my dream.” When I saw her determination to learn the instrument and her profound love for it and music, I was moved to make an exception and accept her into the class despite the limited opportunities. Lubna performed brilliantly in the aptitude test and became a valuable addition to the class.For all of us at the Conservatory, it was gratifying to witness Lubna’s steady progress. We all loved Lubna’s diligence, enthusiasm, and joyful spirit. We assisted her in achieving her big dream by arranging violin lessons with teachers and musicians from outside Palestine, such as Tom Suárez, and also through PalMusic in London. As a teacher of music theory and classical music history, I will not forget Lubna’s passion during her lessons. As a composer, I always encouraged her to use what she learned in improvisation and to try composing some musical phrases. She showed a keen interest in musical composition, demonstrating meticulous attention to every detail in a musical piece. February 7, 2022, was my last day in Gaza due to the war in May of the previous year. In a difficult farewell moment with Lubna, I encouraged her to continue learning and pursuing her dream.
Lubna was martyred on the morning of November 21, 2023, after the bombing of Lubna’s aunt’s house in the city of Al-Nuseirat, south of Gaza City. This is despite the Israeli army declaring Al-Nusairat to be a safe zone. Lubna and her family had sought refuge in the south of Gaza for safety, but their home was bombed that morning, leading to the martyrdom of nearly 50 members of Lubna’s family. Her entire family has been wiped from the civil registry, like so many Palestinian families in Gaza.
I will preserve Lubna’s memory in the best way I know how — by writing music in her memory, in memory of her dream, in memory of her passion, in memory of the future stolen from her. I promise you, Lubna, to keep true to your dreams and to help share your story with the world.”
1st Director, Pavarotti Music Centre