The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music
The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music ( Ma`had Edward Sa`īd al-Waṭaniy lil-Musīqā)is a Palestinian
Palestinian National Authority
The Palestinian Authority is the administrative organization established to govern parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip...

 music conservatory with branches in Ramallah
Ramallah is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank located 10 kilometers north of Jerusalem, adjacent to al-Bireh. It currently serves as the de facto administrative capital of the Palestinian National Authority...

, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem
Bethlehem is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank of the Jordan River, near Israel and approximately south of Jerusalem, with a population of about 30,000 people. It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate of the Palestinian National Authority and a hub of Palestinian culture and tourism...

. In total, there are more than 500 students. It was established in 1993 as The National Conservatory of Music, with its first branch, in Ramallah, opening in October of that year. In September 2004, as a tribute to the Palestinian scholar and musician Edward Said
Edward Said
Edward Wadie Saïd was a Palestinian-American literary theorist and advocate for Palestinian rights. He was University Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and a founding figure in postcolonialism...

, an accomplished classical pianist
A pianist is a musician who plays the piano. A professional pianist can perform solo pieces, play with an ensemble or orchestra, or accompany one or more singers, solo instrumentalists, or other performers.-Choice of genres:...

, the name of the Conservatory was officially changed to The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music.


In 1990, five Palestinian musicians and music teachers conducted a study on the status of music in Palestine upon a request by the Welfare Association. The preliminary findings of the study convinced the team that there was an urgent need to establish a music school, to fill the huge gap in music education within the Palestinian society. In 1993, after three years of concerted efforts by these musicians, and with the support and encouragement of friends, foremost amongst whom were Edward Karkar, Munther Nabulsi, Huda Khoury and Linda Khalil Khoury, the conservatory was launched as the National Conservatory of Music, falling under the umbrella of the Board of Trustees of Birzeit University, who offered the Conservatory premises in the University Board building in Ramallah and appointed the following founders to the Supervisory Board at the Conservatory:

Salwa Tabri, Rima Tarazi, Amin Nasser, Nadia Abboushi and Suhail Khoury.

In October of that year, the first branch of the Conservatory opened in Ramallah. There were 40 students, three part-time teachers, a secretary, and a volunteer director – one of the co-founders,Amin Nasser. A few years later, the Conservatory opened two other branches in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. And in summer of 2010 the launch of Nablus branch.

In September 2004 as a tribute to the invaluable intellectual and cultural contributions to humanity of the late Dr. Edward Said, an honorary member of the Board, the name of the Conservatory was officially changed to The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music.


There are currently four branches of the ESNCM, located in Jerusalem, Ramallah, Bethlehem and Nablus, with over 714 students altogether. Each Branch has its own academic director and administrative manager who handle the day-to-day running of their schools. This setup makes room for the future opening of new branches on one hand, and on the other hand, it guarantees the same level of education and services to the students and community in whichever city the ESNCM has or opens a branch. Two other branches, in Gaza and in Jericho. are scheduled to open next year.

Academic Programs

The ESNCM offers two programs of study - the regular and the amateur program.

"The Regular Program"

The music program of study at the ESNCM has been designed to give regular students a broadly structured instrumental and theoretical musical education. It consists of three levels:
  1. The Preparatory level. This is not a mandatory level.

  1. The Elementary level.

  1. The Intermediate level.

After completing the three levels successfully, students will be eligible for a diploma that will qualify them to the university level program at the ESNCM (not open yet), which will train them to become professional musicians. Students would also be in a position to apply to any university or academy of music of their choice.

The Regular Program

consists of training in a Western or Arabic instrument, with examinations in 8 grades, each of which can be completed in a maximum of 20 months. It also includes theory, ear training, and history and appreciation of Arabic, classical, jazz and world music. The program also emphasizes group playing, choirs and group Arabic percussion. The program is set up in a manner to give students the broadest possible education in both Arabic and Western music cultures.

The Amateur Program

Private lessons are also offered to amateurs and music lovers without having to comply with the regular curriculum or to sit for exams. In some cases amateur students may register for other group courses subject to the approval of the teacher of the course, and provided that the student is at a level at which he/she could benefit from it.

Students in the amateur program do not get credit or certificates for classes and courses that they have attended.

External links

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