POLYPHONY FOUNDATION TO ESTABLISH AN ISRAELI YOUTH CHORUS OF JEWISH AND ARAB ELEMENTARY STUDENTS AT THE 2015 CLINTON GLOBAL INITIATIVE ANNUAL MEETING
Polyphony Youth Chorus Offers Hope for Israel’s Future
NEW YORK CITY – September 29, 2015 – The Polyphony Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bridging the divide in Israel between Arabs and Jews through the power of music, announced the formation of the Polyphony Youth Chorus, a youth choral group made up of Arab and Jewish Israeli elementary students, at the 2015 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting. The 60-student choir of girls and boys in grades 2 through 6 will be equally composed of Arab students from the Hassan Arafeh School in Jaffa and Jewish students from the Yehuda HaMaccabi School in Tel Aviv.
“Civil society benefits us all,” said Craig Cogut, the co-founder of Polyphony Foundation and founder of Pegasus Capital Advisors. “Encouraging young children to interact in mixed groups helps minimize cross-cultural conflict. The Polyphony Youth Chorus will work with children whose lives are made vulnerable by limited socio-economic opportunities in a country too often divided by warring factions.”
This new commitment will expand Polyphony’s established work in Israel, bringing Arab and Jewish Israelis together to appreciate and perform classical music. Polyphony Education in Israel offers the largest musical education program in Israel with 12,000 students, youth orchestras and mixed ensembles, conservatories, residencies and an emerging professional orchestra. Through their involvement in the conservatory program and orchestras, young Arab and Jewish musicians practice and perform together, developing friendships through their shared passion for classical music. For most of these students, this is the first time they have become friends with someone from a different background. In turn, the audiences attending the concerts are both Arabs and Jews – a rarity in Israel. Throughout Israel, Polyphony has shown that music can be not only beautiful in its own right, but also a facilitator of dialogue and understanding and open the doors to helping people of all religious backgrounds come together.