U.S. Department of StateWASHINGTON, D.C. /eNewsChannels/ — The U.S. Department of State has announced that ensembles of the Afghan National Institute of Music (ANIM) will travel to three cities in the United States from February 3-15, 2013 for performances and cultural exchange with American youth orchestras. The Afghan National Institute of Music reflects a modern Afghanistan, in which the musical traditions of East and West come together in the hands of gifted teachers and students.

The group will begin its tour with a small ensemble performance of traditional Afghan music at the State Department on Monday, February 4 at 11:30 in the Dean Acheson Auditorium.

The Afghan students and their teachers also will play concerts featuring both Western and traditional instruments at the Kennedy Center ( ) on February 7, Carnegie Hall ( )on February 12, and the New England Conservatory ( ) February 13-15. The group’s tour will be further enriched by collaborations with the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras and the Scarsdale High School Orchestra.

The young men and women who study at the Afghan National Institute of Music study a variety of instruments, including the tabla, the rubab and the violin. They study the music of Afghan composers and international composers from Ustad Mohammed Umar to Duke Ellington.

Founded by Dr. Ahmad Sarmast, ANIM is both a source and a symbol of Afghanistan’s progress, exemplifying the restoration of Afghanistan’s rich culture in a country where the Taliban had repressed all forms of musical expression. Many of the teachers at the Institute are private American citizens who have chosen to live in Kabul in order to bring the gift of music to these young children.

This ensemble highlights the strength of Afghanistan’s diversity, admitting students (both young men and women) regardless of their social circumstances or ethnic background. Music education teaches tolerance, and music brings all people together in a spirit of peace.

The U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education, the World Bank, Carnegie Corporation and Asian Cultural Council in New York are supporting ANIM’s trip to the United States.