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About Müzikhane social music school

Müzikhane (House of Music in Turkish and Persian), is a social musical school based in Mardin Province, located in the south east of Turkey along the border with Syria. Initiated collaboratively by Iranian-American composer and educator Sahba Aminikia and American violist and educator Kevin Bishop, the school functions under Her Yerde Sanat Derneği (Art Anywhere Association). Her Yerde Sanat is an organization initially dedicated to providing circus arts training to refugee and other vulnerable children across the Anatolian region. Müzikhane aims to provide world-class cultural and artistic opportunities to vulnerable children in the same region, while also allowing the magic of their music to spread around the world to places where music and beauty are needed most. We connect artists from all around the world to our children, and they learn from those who have been through horrendous experiences and still keep the fire of hope burning in their hearts. In our view, some of the most true and honest music is created in response to pain and hardship.

Where we are

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The Syrian war has entered its 8th year. Since the beginning of the war more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees who have lost their home and homeland have found their way into Turkey. One thousand new refugees enter Turkey each day, primarily through Mardin Province, and new social policies are constantly being developed to integrate them. Despite of all the efforts by the authorities, extreme difficulties and monumental challenges continue to exist. Children are the most vulnerable and struggle to find meaning in their new lives in a world adults have created around them. One third of Syrian children refugees are still not integrated into the educational system and remain illiterate in both their native and adopted language. Problems such as child marriage, child labor, child abuse, and lack of identity persist in an already impoverished area. This is a region where it is extremely difficult to have a childhood, preserve innocence, and keep a smile.

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What we can do

We aim to cultivate the innate beauty and confidence within a child via a non-political, non-religious and non-ideological method. We cannot solve all the problems these children deal with, but we can bring beauty, light and hope into their lives. We cultivate independent human beings who do not need anyone or anything to bestow identity upon them, and we equip them with story-telling skills so they may express themselves in the most meaningful ways possible. We teach them to express themselves through music and positive social interaction rather than through violence and revenge. We also emphasize the social aspects of music as collaboration and adherence to structure guides them toward healthy social skills. We teach them how to be positive creators rather than negative manifestations of dark experiences. By providing a structured educational environment we guide children as they find the beauty and civility that, even if buried by trauma, is inside every human being.

Who we are

Sahba Aminikia

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Sahba Aminikia is a San Francisco-based composer, musically exploring the dichotomy of light and dark. Trained classically and influenced globally, Aminikia’s work has been widely performed around the world and commissioned by theatre troops, contemporary classical ensembles, film scores, Persian traditional music groups as well as jazz bands including Kronos Quartet, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Symphony Parnassus, San Francisco Conservatory of Music New Music Ensemble, Mobius Trio, Delphi Trio and Living Earth Show. He has recently been the artist-in-residence at Kronos Festival 2017, an annual festival held by legendary Kronos Quaretet at San Francisco SFJAZZ throughout which ten of his works including four new pieces were performed. Aminikia is also the Artistic Director for Flying Carpet Festival, a mobile music festival which serves children in need in war zones. He also serves as the Musical Director for Sirkhane, a non-profit organization based in Mardin, Southern Turkey which serves around 400,000 children through circus arts. His latest major piece, “Music of Spheres” performed by Kronos Quartet, San Francisco Girls Chorus and Afghanistan National Institute of Music was published under Orange Mountain Music.

Kevin Bishop

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Kevin Bishop has a varied career as a violist, violinist, conductor, composer, educator, and arts administrator. He has compositions as well as solo and chamber music performances recorded on the Toccata Classics and Métier labels. His work has been enthusiastically reviewed by publications such as  Fanfare and Chamber Music Magazine, and he has been a guest on shows such as NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered BBC Radio 3, and countless local stations in the USA, South America, Afghanistan, and Europe. Kevin’s primary interest is in the power of music education to aid in community building, personal elevation, and reconstruction. After spending three summers as a volunteer teacher and teacher-trainer at a rural El Sistema program in Bolivia, Kevin dedicated many years to the Afghanistan National Institute of Music in Kabul, ultimately becoming it's full time Director of Orchestras. He is founder and Executive Director of Cuatro Puntos, a non profit dedicated to intercultural dialogue and universal access through the performance, writing, and teaching of music. He is also co-founder and director of Müzikhane Social Music School, which serves refugee and vulnerable children along the Syrian border in Southeastern Turkey. He splits his time between Hartford, Connecticut, USA and Mardin, Turkey. 

Projects already initiated

Flying Carpet Music Festival

Nusaybin Youth Choir

Müzikhane Friendship Orchestra

Music Workshops

 

Who we are inspired by

We are strongly inspired by Sirkhane, designed and implemented by Her Yerde Sanat Derneği (Art Anywhere Association) and it’s co-founders Pinar Demiral and Serdal Adam. Sirkhane Social Circus School was founded in 2012 in Mardin, Turkey, near the Syrian border. The organization offers circus and art workshops to children and youth in schools, refugee camps, and other locations where there is need. They reach out to children affected by conflict from Syria, Iraq and Turkey with the hope of replacing damaged childhoods with happiness and enriching imaginations via social circus pedagogy.