CULTURE

Egyptian blind women’s orchestra to play in Athens

A very unique orchestra is preparing to give a concert in aid of the nonprofit Special Olympics Hellas sports and education organization this weekend. The Egyptian Al Nour Wal Amal Chamber Orchestra, the only orchestra in the world that consists exclusively of blind women musicians, will perform at the American Community Schools (ACS) Arts Center in Halandri tomorrow and on Sunday. The concerts will coincide with the 200th anniversary of the birth of Louis Braille, the inventor of the Braille international method of reading and writing for blind and visually impaired people. Braille himself was blind. The orchestra was established on the initiative of the Al Nour Wal Amal Association, an Egyptian NGO founded by volunteers in Cairo in 1954, with the aim of securing the rights of blind girls and providing them with free education. The music ensemble, whose name means «light and hope,» started off with 15 musicians. It currently has 36 members and it is the association’s pride and joy. The orchestra’s repertoire covers various classic Western composers, such as Mozart, Beethoven, Bizet, Mendelssohn, Ravel, Verdi, Tchaikovsky and many others, as well as Eastern works by Abu Bakr Khairat and Gamal Abdel-Rahim among others. The Al Nour Wal Amal Chamber Orchestra gave its first concert abroad in 1988. Since then, it has performed in countries across the world, to critical acclaim. Proceeds from the Athens concerts will go to Special Olympics Hellas. Shows will start at 8.30 p.m. and tickets can be purchased at the Public multimedia store in Syntagma Square, on tel 210.723.5467 and online, at www.ticketservices.gr. ACS Arts Center, 53 Garyttou, Halandri, tel 210.639.3341.