Yes Academy Iraq 20-30 June

29 May of 2013 by

Slemani 20-30 June 2013
The Youth Excellence on Stage (YES) Academy is back in the  summer of 2013 with its 7th annual performing arts program in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Hosted by the nonprofit American Voices, the YES Academy is running its seventh consecutive year of workshops and concerts in Iraq.  With a strong emphasis on teacher training, youth leadership and curriculum development, the YES program will offer intensive study of jazz, rock, western classical music, youth theater and rap and hip hop and street dance.

The YES Academy Gala Concerts will be held at the Komalai Hunera Juanakan (Union of Fine Arts) Concert Hall near the Bazaar in Slemani. The concerts are free, but a free ticket must be reserved and picked-up in advance:

– June 28: Guitar and Orchestra Gala with classical guitarist Susan McDonald and the YES Academy Chamber Orchestra led by Dr. Reuben Blundell of New York City: Vivaldi’s Concerto in D for Guitar and Strings plus works of Spanish masters and orchestral works by Handel, Mozart and Elgar.

– June 29: Jazz and Rock Gala led by Dr. Gene Aitken with guest bands, Slemani Big Band, Sahand Group and Dark Phantom from Kirkuk

– June 30: Unbreakable Hip Hop: Rapper Mahogany Jones, one of America’s foremost female rappers and leaders of the positive Hip Hop movement will Rap and Recite along with Cricket, the dance phenomenon from New York City and vocalist Michael Parks along with dance crews from Baghdad and Slemani.

All shows will start at 6pm.

Get your free ticket by calling 0771 760 7365 to reserve. Tickets can be collected at the Slemani Institute of Fine Arts from 9am to 1pm or from 4pm to 7pm daily from June 23 to 27. ;

This summer the YES Academy will take place in Slemani,  Kurdistan Region of Iraq,  from 20 to 30 June 2013. The Academy will include 250 participants from Baghdad, Kirkuk, Slemani, Rania, Halabja, Koya, Duhok and Erbil. The summer performing arts program will offer classes taught by American faculty from some of America’s best universities (Hunter College, Saint Louis University, Baylor University, East Carolina University) and cultural institutions (St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Members of Rennie Harris Pure Movement, etc.).

New to the 2013 program is training in classical guitar, hip hop and multi-media theater, rap and spoken word, rock and heavy metal bands, classes in composition, arranging and music theory and teacher training in string instruments

Meanwhile, a main focus of the YES Academy is the classical music component, which includes classes for instruments such as woodwinds, piano and strings (violin/viola, cello/bass).  The YES Academy will provide a new exclusive program for the 25 most advanced string instrument performers that will focus on orchestra repertoire, chamber music, technique, master classes, teacher training and conducting.  In addition, for more intermediate orchestral musicians, there will be classes on orchestra repertoire, technique and ear training. There will also be a series of new classes related to classical guitar, as well as classes in music composition and arrangement.

For students of dance, there will be programs on hip hop dance and break dancing. Hip hop dance training will include classes in choreography and basic dance technique.

All performing arts classes are free, but enrollment is limited.

The YES Iraq program is made possible with the support of the Embassy of the United States in Baghdad, the Kurdistan Regional Government, The Institute of Fine Arts of Slemani, Slemani University, CDO Civil Development Organization and

For more information, visit: or

Contact: John Ferguson, 0770 650 2056


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