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Classical 101

Afghan youth orchestra makes it to Carnegie Hall

You might remember a couple of years ago that Jennifer Hambrick wrote about a music school being established in Afghanistan.  (Kabul's first music school)  These youngsters have now proven that the old saying, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?  Practice, practice, practice." is true. Let me refresh your memory.  Ahmad Sarmast is an accomplished musician, receiving his PhD in music from Monash University in Australia.  In the United States, there are many who hold such degrees, but Dr. Sarmast was the first native of Afghanistan to accomplish that.  Returning to his native country while it was ruled by the Taliban would have been fruitless, since music was banned.  The mere act of listening to music could cost you your life. Ahmad Sarmast returned to Afghanistan in 2008 with a mission to open a music school.  Why?  

"It is impossible to have a cultural life when you do not have access to music," said Sarmast. Â "The power of music is so important for the healing of people."

Five years later, he found himself in the U.S. with young musicians from the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, as they prepared to perform with a number of their young American counterparts this week in Carnegie Hall.  Some of the Afghan musicians play Western instruments, some play traditional instruments, but all agree that making music gives them a purpose in life. Read more: Making music against the odds (Wall Street Journal) Watch Afghanistan's first youth orchestra makes U.S. debut (CBS) (Voice of America)