Yo-Yo Ma to perform with Iraqi orchestra

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Virtuoso cellist Yo-Yo Ma will be the guest soloist with the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra Dec. 9 at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

The performance, which also features the National Symphony Orchestra, will be free to the public.


Yo-Yo Ma's latest album, "Obrigado Brazil," (Sony Classical) has held the No. 1 spot on Billboard's Crossover Chart for 12 weeks.

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the U.S. Department of State are co-presenters of the concert, which will be conducted by NSO Music Director Leonard Slatkin and INSO Conductor Mohammed Amin Ezzat.

The Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1959. In addition to its classical repertoire, the INSO also plays Iraqi music, using traditional Kurdish instruments.

Ezzat, who recently returned to Iraq and rejoined the INSO, will lead the symphony for the concert. The INSO's assistant conductor, Abdul Razzak Ibhraheem Mahdi, who led the symphony during Ezzat's absence, will also join the orchestra.

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