WELCOME to the Symphony Arabica, a large project of musical dialogue between the West and the Middle East. We celebrate the richness of Arab culture and establish connections between young and creative musicians across Europe and the Orient.


In Amman we create a Symphony for All with the Amman Symphony Orchestra, students from the National Music Conservatory of Jordan, the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music of Palestine and 6 UNRWA schools (Palestinian refugees).



In Ramallah and Bethlehem we create Carried by the Wind, a spectacular performance on rooftops and balconies uniting 75 professional and young musicians.



In Holland we perform Symphony Arabica, a large orchestra performance with professional and young musicians uniting classical, experimental and oriëntal music.



Future options include projects in Damascus, Beirut and Gaza.



At Thursday April 25, 400 school children from a Syrian refugee camp and school children of the border town Ramtha, participated in two concerts organized by Merlijn Twaalfhoven. These concerts were the result of one week of 40 workshops with about 500 children. The children could experience the power of Music for gaining self-confidence through the learning of different rhythms, writing poetry and singing various songs.

Photo: Jacqueline Meijer

Friday, April 26, 2013 8:49 AM

The Jordanian society is under pressure, due to the fact that about a half milion Syrian refugees are overflowing its borders and using its water and food supply, infrastructure and education . Therefore, the contact between the local community and the refugees isn’t always good. Moreover, the organizing of education for the hundreds of thousands of children of the refugees is almost impossible.

Nevertheless, the team of 14 musicians led by Merlijn Twaalfhoven is trying to contribute to the education with their knowledge of music. The workshops were being held at two Jordanian government schools where Syrian children had an extra lesson in the afternoon. Merlijn also gave workshops to children in a refugee camp near Ramtha, in a tent which functioned as a day care centre. He learned them to make soft tones, sounds of nature and presented music made by an alt violin and a kanoun, played by the Dutch-Syrian opera singer Bassem Al Khouri.

Although this so-called Syrious Mission is almost finished, it is certainly not the last. At the end of May, a second team will travel to Jordan to continue the activities of Merlijn Twaalfhoven and the Syrious Mission. Dutch director and theatre maker Marc Oyserman will be organizing this second music mission for the children of Syrian refugees in order to keep the Dutch audience informed about this Syrian tragedy. At Friday May 17, he will organize a benefit concert a the music podium Rasa in Utrecht.

Merlijn Twaalfhoven writes a daily journal about this Syrious Mission at the website of Arts in Conflict. You can read part 1 and part 2.

The Syrious Mission is powered by you! If you want to contribute please make a donation at the website of Get It Done.

The Syrious Mission has started

About five weeks ago, Dutch composer Merlijn Twaalfhoven came up with the idea to travel to Jordan to set up a music project with refugee children from Syria. The war in Syria is constantly being broadcast on television and radios but little attention is paid to the emotional and psychological welfare of victims of the violence - particularly the innocent children.  He found a lot of support for his musical project idea amongst other musicians and the public in the Netherlands, in fact, the first team of 15 musicians have already arrived at the Jordanian/Syrian border where they are now working in schools which are overflowing with Syrian refugee children.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 12:18 PM

The Dutch team will give music workshops for twelve classes of children, resulting in a final presentation. The goal is to support the children in their personal expression of their emotions and personality. Besides musicians, a few writers (also part of the team) will focus on testimonies of memories of beauty of the homeland of the refugees and positive thoughts about their future. In this way, they want to empower the children with self esteem and use the songs and melodies they remember from their past.

In Jordan, the team of Merlijn Twaalfhoven collaborates with UNICEF that is providing the education for the children of the Syrian refugees. The activities of this so-called ‘Syrious Mission’ are taking place in two public schools in the border town called Ramtha. At these schools, Jordanian pupils are attending the morning shift and Syrian refugees attend the afternoon shift.

Photography: Liny Mutsaers