Four talented young musicians from Palestine are visiting the UK to study for two weeks and take part in a public performance.
The Choir of London Bursary Scheme has been running for several years and has been supported by the British Council since 2012. Its aim is to give Palestinian musicians between the ages of 12 and 18 an opportunity to soak up musical life in the UK. This year, students will attend a residential orchestral course in Suffolk and participate in classes, rehearsals and workshops at the Royal Academy of Music in London before performing a concert themselves.
This year, one of the students visiting the UK is Jude Amous Qalawi from Jerusalem. She described it as “an incredible chance … I’m looking forward to every single day.”
“It has always been one of my highest ambitions and desired goals to study at the Royal Academy of Music - it will be an experience that I will take the most advantage of. I will pour my musical heart and soul in every minute I will be learning there. I'm very excited to learn and tackle the piece I've been working on with the teachers there.
"I am expecting to learn different things such as how to use music and my social experiences together and make great connections out of it. With that, I plan on using my musical and social abilities when meeting different people where we can teach and learn from each other. I want to teach more about my country, culture and more importantly about the Palestinian conflict and occupation. Being a Palestinian musician is hard yet wonderful; the issue of Palestine and the occupation is still not being addressed enough, but I know that if I work hard enough to spread it, through music, it can create a difference. In Palestine, classical musicians are different and unique because we are willing to tackle things that are different from our culture yet still be engraved in it. We are trying to live a life as normal as possible.
"Going to London with the Choir of London will be giving me the chance to tell my story - it is a huge opportunity that I will take in a heartbeat, use it and make the best out of it. This isn't just an opportunity musically but it's an opportunity to be an ambassador for my country, learn about Britain and its people, and to have the time of my life.”