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Why is your orchestra so special?

Our orchestra, 102 guitar strings, is an inter-entity ensemble including 21 musicians of different ethnic backgrounds, from three different towns and two entities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is a joint project of guitar professors, students and instructors from Prijedor, Banja Luka and Bihac. We are connected by our love for music and enjoy working and performing together, which is not to be taken for granted in an ethnically divided society. We want to share our knowledge and experience with other colleagues who need support in establishing and leading similar projects and would also be happy to reach as many people as possible, in order to bring classical music to different audiences in both urban and rural areas and to promote cooperation instead of divisions.

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What do you plan to do and when?

We would like to offer free big evening concerts and master classes in cooperation with local music schools in three towns: Sarajevo, Mostar and Donji Vakuf during, the summer period: 15.08. till 15.09. 2016. Costs for this summer projects are rather high, as we are a big group of people living and working in different areas and still regularly performing and rehearsing together. We are rehearsing and mainly performing on voluntarily basis and always try, and sometimes succeed, in raising funds from local sources. Your support to this project would be used to cover: travel, accommodation, meals, promotion, fees, rental, material for instruments (strings, stands).

One-time concerts are a nice idea, but how will our support help you to improve the situation in the long run?

Right, such concerts should not remain single events, they have to be used for a longer-term impact. Therefore, besides the concerts, we will organise master classes and instructions for teachers and students working in a number of local music schools. We will work with colleagues eager to establish local orchestras and to perform in their communities and beyond. Members of our orchestra are educated musicians who already conducted master-classes and regularly rehears. They dispose of the necessary teaching, performing and conducting experience, which enables them to pass their knowledge to others.

What about local budgets and local funding opportunities?

We are very much engaged in advocating and fundraising locally. However, culture in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina has been severely underfunded, especially by public institutions, which, as the rest of the country, have been ethnically divided. With mainly nationalist political parties in power, which are highly clientelistic, there are other priorities on the funding agenda, and transparency is a big issue. Hence, many music schools are struggling with existence and new generations have much less opportunities to listen to such concerts, to get a quality education in classical instruments or to play together in diverse orchestras. Therefore, before we can make a difference on the political agenda, we have to show that there is an interest and an audience in both rural and urban areas when it comes to classical music. Your support would help us pull resources together and producing the necessary results for further engagement and advocacy.

Why Guitar Orchestra?

Primary music schools are operating only in 18 out of 74 municipalities in Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. All these schools however have the necessary human resources motivated to further develop and promote classical music. Guitar, as an instrument, is particularly suitable for popularisation of classical music, because a guitar-orchestra is also able to perform symphony.

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