Credit image:
Credit image:

Music school students and migrants from hosting centers in Palermo, Sicily, are performing in a multi-cultural orchestra to promote integration.

The orchestra is made up of students at the music school Conservatorio ''Vincenzo Bellini'' in the Sicilian city of Palermo and young migrants from local hosting centers in the area. 

The music school's president Gandolfo Librizzi, the initiative's promoter, said music ''is a universal language that can overcome geographical borders and cultural barriers''.

The initiative kicked off in 2018 with the aim of promoting integration through a ''heterogeneous group that can study and create music'' together, ''regardless of the cultural and geographical origin'' of performers, as explained by the website of Italy's SPRAR (Protection System for Asylum Seekers and Refugees) program. 

Youths from Mali, Gambia, Nigeria, Senegal and Ghana 

The orchestra first debuted on June 15 last year at Palermo's Teatro Massimo with the 'Opera Sahel', which inaugurated the contemporary art biennial Manifesta 12. Performers included young people from Mali, Gambia, Nigeria, Senegal and Ghana, some living in local hosting centers. Other performers were second-generation immigrants who were born in Palermo. 

A number of those who performed at the event then applied in September to enroll in pre-academic orchestra and chorus courses for non-EU foreigners residing in Italy, ''showing their love for music and the desire to continue their studies in this field'', organizers said. 

'African Mass' on February 3 

Palermo's music school will organize more performances to promote ''activities of cultural and social integration'' designed for young people in the area, according to the SPRAR program's website. The next concert of the inter-cultural orchestra is scheduled on February 3 at Palermo's cathedral. 

The concert, an ''African Mass', is promoted by the Conservatorio together with the Foundation Teatro Massimo and the local archdiocese. The concert is inspired by 'Missa Luba', composed in 1958 by Father Guido Hazen for the native tribes of the Belgian Congo. The mass is partly in Latin but with the traditional music of the Luba and Kiluba ethnic groups and the formidable art of the Senegalese griots represented at the top level by singer Badara Seck and percussionist Doudou Diouf. 

More articles