FOR THE LOVE OF MUSIC
IRAQ’S NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA HAS SURVIVED DECADES OF UPHEAVAL
In a dusty Baghdad dance studio, conductor Mohammed Amin Ezzat tries to ire up the musicians of Iraq’s National Symphony Orchestra, whose enthusiasm has been dampened by eight months without pay.
An ageing air conditioner ights to beat back the summer heat in the cramped space at the capital’s School of Music and Ballet as the 57-year-old maestro leads the group through a rehearsal of Modest Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain.
The shaggy-haired Ezzat and the 40 musicians surrounding him were gearing up to perform at Baghdad’s National Theatre, but the group’s morale is at an all-time low.
The ensemble has lost more than half its
The ensemble has lost more than half its members since the beginning of the year because they have not been paid.