Monday, July 5, 2010

Afghanistan National Institute of Music Inaugurated

NEW MUSIC COLLEGE INAUGURATED IN AFGHANISTAN Kabul—On Sunday, June 20, 2010, at its idyllic, grassy campus in the Dehbori neighbourhood of Kabul, the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM) was formally inaugurated in front of an audience of dignitaries including Ambassadors, officials from the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and community leaders. The inauguration represented the culmination of several years of planning and hard work overcoming the obstacles that are the legacy of thirty years' of war and the Taliban's prohibition of music. The inauguration began with a recitation from the Holy Quran. After this, the newly established Afghan Youth Orchestra (AYO), comprised of ANIM students and faculty, performed a new arrangement of the National Anthem of Afghanistan. This arrangement was the first ever to use both Afghan and Western instruments. The orchestra then played a new arrangement of the patriotic song "Da Watan," first created half a century ago by the renowned Afghan singer-songwriter Ustad Guzalman, who also sang it with AYO at the inauguration. Dignitaries including the Deputy Minister for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, H.E. Sarwar Azizi; Richard Hogg, a representative of the World Bank; the Ambassador of Germany; the Deputy Ambassador of India; and the Director of the Goethe Institute-Kabul gave speeches in which they praised this historic initiative to revive the musical culture of Afghanistan. The acknowledgment speech of Dr Sarmast reminded everyone present of the timeless and selfless reasons for which so many people have committed so much energy and support for so long. Following the speeches, ANIM faculty Ustad Irfan Khan (sarod), Ustad Gholam Hossein (rubab), Jawid Mahmood (tabla), and William Harvey (violin) performed solos, after which ANIM Percussion Teacher Norma Ferreira led her students in an ensemble work. A student group performed an Afghan song in rock-and-roll style, after which Ustad Fareed Shefta, ANIM's Clarinet Teacher, led AYO in his own arrangement of the patriotic song "Dareen Watan." A group from Khoshhal Khan High School performed the Atan, the national dance. After a ribbon-cutting ceremony, the dignitaries received a tour of ANIM's new facilities. Dr. Ahmad Sarmast founded the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM) to revive the culture of music in Afghanistan and to build the ruined lives of street working kids and orphans through music education. ANIM is a joint project of the Ministry of Education of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and Monash Asia Institute of Monash University, Australia. It has received major funding from the World Bank, Goethe Institute, Society of Music Merchants, government of India, German Foreign Office and other organizations. For more information, contact Dr. Ahmad Sarmast at or +93 (0) 796-542-952. Regards -- Dr Ahmad Naser Sarmast Music Consultant and Project Director Ministry of Education Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Research Fellow Monash Asia Institute Monash School of Music - Conservatorium Monash University, Australia Honorary Fellow National College of Music, London Tel: +93 (0) 796 54 29 52 + 613 9905 4992 Email: