Edward Said National Conservatory of Music celebrates the graduation of students in 2016
The conservatory celebrated the graduation of several students in a concert and ceremony on Saturday 28th May 2016, at the Naseeb Shaheen Auditorium - Birzeit University.
At the beginning of the event, the chair of the Board of Supervisors, Mrs. Rima Tarazi, welcomed the audience, paying tribute to Birzeit University's strong musical tradition, and praising the continuity of that tradition and its develpment through the work of the ESNCM. She thanked the supporters of the conservatory, mentioning in particular Basem Hishmeh, who was in the audience, and his wife Muna. Mrs Tarazi also expressed her appreciation to the families of the students, and their commitment to the educational process, as well as to the teaching staff at the conservatory.
Suhail Khoury, the general director of the ESNCM, then spoke about the achievements, activities and challenges the conservatory has experienced in the academic year 2015-16. ESNCM has won several prizes during this year; the Palestine Youth Orchestra had a successful tour in France, followed by concerts in Jordan and Oman; several festival were held including the Christmas Festival in Bethlehem, Layali al-Tarab fi Quds al-Arab in Jerusalem, the Jasmine Festival in Ramallah and for the first time, the Sea and Freedom Festival in Gaza. Mr. Khoury also announced the launching of the BA program in Music at Birzeit University, which will accept its first students in fall 2016, in close cooperation with the ESNCM, and which represents a major achievement for music in Palestine.
Mr Khoury then invited all the ESNCM staff and teachers to the stage to be acknowledged. Special honors were given to Ms. Raneen Abu Nee' for her outstanding work throughout the year - she was named employee of the year - and Ms. Aiden Pendleton, who was named teacher of the year. Another honor was given to Mr. Pedro Lopez de la Osa, for his dedication over the last several years, and in recognition that he is leaving Palestine this year to continue his studies in the USA.
The musical performance followed, starting with a percussion group from Jerusalem led by Mr. Hani As'ad, and a saxophone trio from Ramallah who performed a Ziad Rahbani piece, coached by Mr. Joseph Duqmaq. The third item was a performance of "Mandira Hijaz", played by the Free Nablus Ensemble, which is a group of students from Nablus that arranged and rehearsed the music by themselves. This was followed by "Funkestan", a piece for the Ramallah-based jazz band, composed and coached by Mr. Dimitri Mikelis. An oud quartet from Jerusalem, led by Mr. Michel Rohana, played "Kanu ya Habibi /Lavaco", and the Bethlehem-based Jilan ensemble, led by Mr. Tamer Sahouri, continued with "Kahel" by Marcel Khalife. Two of the ESNCM's piano teachers, Dina Shilleh and Hannah Gallagher, then took to the stage to play Dina Shilleh's duet "Five Serbian Dances", and then the graduating cello student, Rand Khoury, gave a striking rendition of the first movement of Elgar's cello concerto, accompanied by Mr. Andrea Taglianti. The concert ended with the choir and ensemble Banat al-Quds, coached by Suhail Khoury and Luay Abbasi, performing "Fi al-Dhaffah" by Ahmad Qa'bour.
After the concert the certificates were awarded to the graduates (Intermediate Certificate) and recipients of the Elementary Certificate.
Rand Khoury (cello)
Sama Tarazi (violin)
Suzanne Barghouti (piano)
Nablus branch: Ibrahim Khair, Rasha al-Atabeh, Areen Shashtari, Atiyeh Qadri, Kriman al-Khayat, Nuha Wahbeh, Noura Hashem, Fadwa Abdo, Muawiyeh al-Masri, Mohammad Saddouq.
Bethlehem branch: Areej Ishaq, Elia Khair, Bashar Bannoura, Taleen Raheel, Timothaous Bassous, Fares Bannoura, Malak Bannoura.
Jerusalem branch: Buraq 'Ubeidi, Rahaf Madhiyeh, Sara Abideen, Miral Hasna, May al-Khatib.
Ramallah branch: Rashed al-Rimawi, Ram Rabi, Zaina Madi, Sima Khawaja, Ali Adeeb, Lour Sadeq, Laurice Tarazi, Layan Elian, Nadim Khoury, Hadeel Hussain, Haya Taha, Basel Mar'i.
The graduation ceremony and concert was supported by SIDA through the Palestinian Performing Arts Network, and the Bank of Palestine - the cultural partner of the ESNCM.