It was an honour to work on two projects, last month, celebrating women in music. The first was the Oxford University Faculty of Music’s annual concert to celebrate women composers and performers, featuring works from across the ages.
The second was contributing to an excellent project run by Dr Cayenna Ponchione-Bailey. The first-ever all-female orchestra from Afghanistan, Ensemble Zohra, was in residence at Somerville College, University of Oxford from the 12-19 March 2019. Organised by Cayenna, the visit was part of an enduring relationship between the Orchestra of St John’s (Cayenna is Assistant Conductor) and the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM). After her visit to ANIM in August 2018, Cayenna created a distance learning programme for students at ANIM with the musicians of OSJ and a mentorship programme between University of Oxford students and the young musicians at ANIM. Read more about Cayenna’s work on the University of Oxford Arts Blog
I was involved in this collaboration in two ways. The first, welcoming Ensemble Zohra to the OCYO rehearsal on Saturday 16th April to share in a group rehearsal and workshop with Zohra conductors. The second saw St Anne’s Camerata scholars participate in the Zohra concerts - performances at the British Museum on 15 March; Harrow Arts Centre on 16 March; and Sheldonian Theatre on 17 March. For more information about the project see this BBC new article