Conference reports

The conference on “Orchestra activities in developing countries”, organized by WFAO and hosted by The 11th European Orchestra Festival, was a great success. We had participants from 19 different countries, and from five different continents, attending the conference. We are thankful for the cooperation with EOFed, UNOF and NASOL, and grateful for their assistance in making the conference happen.

Many of the presenters have contributed with written material, that we want to publish on our websites. Please enjoy this exciting content, and feel free to share and to get inspired by all these fantastic orchestra development around the globe.

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Associated Chamber Music Players

For many amateur musicians, orchestral playing is our first experience of making music together. What could be more thrilling than being immersed in the sound of a symphony from within the ranks of the orchestra?

It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties that I discovered the joy of making music together purely for our own enjoyment, in smaller, more intimate chamber music groups at home. Chamber music presents different challenges from orchestral playing – first of all, there is no conductor, so each player may be called upon to lead and cue the others depending on the flow of the music. Second, each player has a unique part to play, although chamber musicians are by no means soloists. Listening, communicating and watching each other are vitally important and bring their own reward by forging deeper connections between fellow musicians.

ACMP Associated Chamber Music Players,, like WFAO, is an international non-profit organization that connects musicians who are interested in playing chamber music purely for pleasure. Established 70 years ago in 1947 by Leonard Strauss, an American businessman who wanted to find people to play with on his travels, today ACMP has 3000 members all around the world.

If you are interested in finding people in your area who want to play chamber music, ACMP would love to hear from you. Membership is only $25 per year and comes with a host of benefits including access to our member directory and chamber music workshop guide, as well as discounts on instrument insurance, sheet music and stand lights. For more information on chamber music and ACMP please visit our website at

– Janet White, Chair ACMP April 2017

Seoul International Community Orchestra Festival

The 4th Seoul International Community Orchestra Festival

(Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, Seoul, 2017.9.16 Sat – 9. 24 Sun) 

Orchestra for All

On the initiative of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts and the Korean Amateur Musicians’Association (KOAMA), the Seoul Community Orchestra Festival was launched in 2014 and brought 2200 citizens, ‘amateur-musicians‘, on stages of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts.

The interest for the “Orchestra for All” festival increased every year.

In 2017 the Seoul Foundation for Arts & Culture was joining the organization and from now on the festival was not just for amateur musicians from Korea any longer; it became an international event for musicians from all over the world.

In spring of 2017 the Korean Amateur Musicians’ Association (KOAMA) and the Seoul Foundation of Culture and Arts (SFCA) announced the Seoul International Community Orchestra Festival (SICOF) for amateur musicians worldwide as an expansion of the ”Orchestra for All” music festival, to be hold in September 2017. Out of a few hundred applicants from 39 countries, the organizing committee selected – through video-applications – 63 musicians from 29 countries to be founding-member of the Seoul International Community Orchestra (SICO). Those founding-members are also representative for their country and community.

The musical direction is entrusted to the French conductor Antoine Marguier, artistic director and co-founder of the United Nations Orchestra in Geneva.

Without any doubt the SICO-orchestra was a tremendous success. 63 enthusiast instrumentalists and an enthusiast professional conductor sharing great masterpieces by Van Beethoven, Dvorak, Nielsen, Brahms and proving the significance of amateur arts by the power of music.

At the official ceremony on Thursday 21rst of September at 13:00 in the Seoul Citizens Hall the orchestra members presented the Seoul Community Arts Declaration (see attachment). A joint declaration, consisting of 10 key-issues, which are basic for community arts.

But SICOF, Orchestra for All 2017 was more than only one International Community Orchestra. Numerous Korean community orchestras could present their program, 3 orchestras from abroad were invited – the orchestra of the Federation of Japan Amateur Orchestras, the North Devon Sinfonia (United Kingdom) and the Recycled Orchestra from Cateura or Landfill Harmonic (Paraguay) – and finally there was the Asian United Orchestra. Following the words of the mayor of Seoul 4.400 participants of 70 groups from 31 countries were present.

The official opening on Sunday 17/09 at the Gwanghwamun Square in Seoul was a united performance of the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura (Paraguay) and 1000 student representatives from 435 Korean youth orchestras. A few hours later, on the stage of the Sejong Grand Theater, – after their separate performances – the Recycled Orchestra united with the Seoul Student Philharmonic Orchestra.

One week later on Sunday 24/09 at the very last performance of the festival the Seoul Civic Philharmonic Orchestra brought a united performance with the Seoul International Community Orchestra.

This list of facts can sound a little bit dazzling but it proves the importance and the need for all citizens – here amateur-musicians-, to join in community arts. I would like to quote LEE Sung-Yeop, President of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts: There is no denying that it (= community arts) made everyone in the community happier. I would like to applaud all the amateur-musicians for their passion and drive which enables them to realize their dreams through music.

This first international festival was a Korean initiative. WFAO will continue and increase his contribution in close harmony with the local organizers in the common interest of all amateur-musicians in their communities worldwide.

– Alex Van Beveren

Read more on the facebook pages of SICOF,

Orquestra Académica Portuguesa

The Orquestra Académica Portuguesa invites WFAO members to their festival orchestra from July 24th – 30th. Please see their invitation, and apply in the linked form here.

Taking place in the emblematic concert hall of the University of Lisbon (Aula Magna – 600 seats) this first meeting will be conducted by José Eduardo Gomes and Diogo Ribeiro. The program includes Beethoven’s Coriolanus ouverture, the work Eco by composer / conducter Diogo Ribeiro and Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony. The schedule is daily from 10 am to 13 and 14 to 19. The total fee is 75€ per person. In terms of accommodation there is a free-of-fee option in a secondory school nearby (bring your own sleeping bag and inflatable matrass) or a non-included hotel option. Transportation is also not included in the fee. Minimum age 18.
Come and join us for an amazing week of superb music. Please enrol until July 15 and bring your own note stand. After validating your enrolment we will send you the payment details. See you in Lisbon!

IMC accepts WFAO as new member

It is a pleasure to announce that the International Music Council has accepted WFAO as their newest member. The International Music Council (IMC), founded in 1949 by UNESCO, is the world’s largest network of organizations and  institutions working in the field of music. The International Music Council promotes access to music for all and the value of music in the lives of all peoples. Through its members and their networks, IMC has direct access to over 1000 organisations in some 150 countries and to 200 million persons eager to develop and share knowledge and experience on diverse aspects of musical life.

WFAO was represented on the IMC General Assembly in Paphos, Cyprus by Chairman Alex van Beveren and board member Ilke Boran. In joining the IMC, WFAO is also officially standing behind the five music rights, as proclaimed by the IMC.