Afghanistan's first and only all-female orchestra performed in Australia on Monday at the Sydney Opera House.
This is the first time the venue has hosted a concert by the ensemble comprised of Afghan girls and young women.
“Today I am sure that this is a historic day in the music history of Afghanistan. Because there has never been a musician from Afghanistan or a band from Afghanistan performing at the Opera House in Sydney and the music that the Zohra Orchestra performs today is the introduction of Afghan music and the sharing of Afghan musical beauty with the Australian community,” said Ahmad Naser Sarmast, director of Afghanistan’s National Institute of Music.
The Zohra Orchestra played a selection of pieces of both ancient and contemporary Afghan music.
“I feel very honored to be performing with Zohra Orchestra in the biggest concert hall,” said Mena, a member of the Zohra Orchestra.
“This is the first time that the Zohra Orchestra has performed at Sydney's Opera House and it is a fresh and very positive and promising message to the world,” said Wahidullah Waissi, Afghan ambassador to Australia.
The executive director of the opera house said that the purpose of the concert was to send a message of peace and harmony to the world:
“We are absolutely delighted to have this young orchestra from Afghanistan on the stage of the Sydney Opera House and tonight they will be performing in this wonderful iconic venue and it just sends such a strong message of togetherness and peace that we can actually play together on the stage for people to enjoy-- there is great hope for the future,” said Louise Herron, Executive director of Opera House.
The Zohra Orchestra was invited by the Afghan Embassy in Canberra in cooperation with the government of New South Wales and other cultural institutions to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Afghanistan and Australia.
The Orchestra held their first concert in Melbourne, Australia on Saturday.