The Palestine Youth Orchestra (PYO) concluded its first ever UK tour this week with a concert at London’s Royal Festival Hall.

Established in 2004 by the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, the orchestra performed pieces by Beethoven and songs by legendary Arab singers, Fairuz and Um Kalthoum.The-Palestine-Youth-Orchestra

Among the players was Palestinian vocalist, flutist and composer,

Due to the Israeli occupation of Palestine, it is impossible for members of the orchestra, who come from various areas, to rehearse together ahead of their tours. As a result, members meet in Jordan, their manager Zeina Khouri told MEMO.

This year, the PYO was hosted in Glasgow where they rehearsed before embarking on their UK tour which took them to Leeds, Birmingham, Cardiff and London.

Travel restrictions on Palestinians also limit the movement of the orchestra’s members and this year, two musicians from the Gaza Strip were unable to join the tour as Israel did not provide them with the necessary travel permits.