"The Music Will Always Go On": The Swedish Contribution to the Work of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music in Ramallah

Article excerpt

English Abstract

Ingela Sundstrom-Oberg, a music librarian in the Swedish town of Boras, speaks about the value of individual contributions and her efforts at outreach to the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music.

French Abstract

Ingela Sundstrom-Oberg, bibliothecaire musicale dans la ville suedoise de Boras, souligne la valeur des contributions individuelles et decrit ses efforts pour aider le Conservatoire national de musique Edward Said.

German Abstract

Ingela Sundstrom-Oberg, Musikbibliothekarin in der schwedischen Stadt Boras, informiert uber individuelle Beitrage und Outreach-Aktivitaten zu Gunsten des Edward Said National Conservatory of Music.


This is the story of my co-operation with the music library of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music (ESNCM) in Jerusalem, Ramallah and Bethlehem in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

I work in the public library in Boras, a town not far from Goteborg with about 100,000 inhabitants. I have many tasks, and the most important is that I have been responsible for the music part of the work for 20 years.

You may wonder about the title, "The music will always go on". What I want to say is that although performing and listening to live music is at the heart of music, there is also work to be done that we know very well: the gathering and organising of sheet music and recordings, the everyday work behind the scenes.

ESNCM History

The ESNCM, at first called the National Conservatory of Music, was founded in 1990 in Ramallah. Since 1993 the conservatory has been affiliated to the Birzeit University of Palestine. It was re-named in 2004 to honour the late Edward Said, who has written of the relationship between Arabic culture and the Western ideals in his book "Orientalism". ESNCM gives education in Arabic and European music to 500 students and also publishes books and CDs. The staff consist of about 25 teachers and 10 employees. The main administration is now located in Jerusalem, in the Eastern part of the town, and has branches in Ramallah and Bethlehem. The conservatory also provides lessons and lectures to music amateurs, gives concerts and arranges competitions. A recent innovation was the Marcel Khalife competition for young students, held for the first time not on a local level but nationally, and was made possible via videoconferencing from Gaza and Nablus. The competition attracted attention throughout the Arabic world.

The Project

The governmental Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency has a budget of about 700,000 dollars to support 10 different outreach projects, 9 of which involve direct co-operation with Palestinian partners. The Academy of Music and Drama, Goteborg University, conveys delegated funding to 8 different organizations in WB/GS. Here I am going to mention the only one that I have had contact with: the library of ESNCM.

The objectives for the project are to provide scholarships for children. …


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