Palestinian history can be seen all throughout its territory filled with Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman relics. Modern Palestine, however, has much to offer visitors in the way of Ramallah’s vibrant art and music scene. With a few major orchestras as well as a number of chamber ensembles, Palestine has one of the highest numbers of orchestras amongst Middle Eastern countries, making it a prime destination for a concert tour or collaboration.

Classical Movements started traveling to the Middle East in 1994, first with its brochure program to Turkey under Blue Heart Tours. Egypt was added to the roster of Middle Eastern nations soon after, along with stand-alone projects to Jordan and Israel. Over the course of the 25 year history of the company, Classical Movements has arranged numerous tours to the Middle East including to Oman, Qatar, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The company has organized performances in Israel and Palestine for the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra and the Collegiate Chorale, and in 2003, the company worked with the State Department to bring the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra to the Kennedy Center for a high profile concert and exchange. Classical Movements has organized an educational tour of Syria and Jordan for George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs and has even facilitated the 2016 Yale Concert Band’s performance at a refugee center in Athens, Greece from outside the country. Classical Movements now works closely with Syrian musicians, such as clarinetist Kinan Azmeh who has been appointed the company’s first composer in residence. 

Sights & Sounds

  • Cultural hotspot of Ramallah
  • West-Eastern Divan
  • Jericho on the Dead Sea
  • East Jerusalem
  • Mount of Olives
  • Palestinian Youth Orchestra
  • Bethlehem
  • Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron
  • The Popular Arts Center



“The musical director and conductor of the Yale Glee Club said the group chose the destination ‘because of the wonderful friendships they discovered in Turkey.’ The Turkish word ‘dost’ (friends for life) is the reason we are performing in Istanbul,’ said Jeff Douma.”

-Hürriyet Daily News, Hatice Utkan | August 5, 2010

“Khubat Abbas Abdul Razaq, a cellist and one of the orchestra’s four women members, said: “I just want to say this is an honor to come to Washington and to play here.”

Samir Yosif, a double-bass player, said: “We want to let the American people know that we have a culture, that we have something to give them. It’s a great honor to be here and we thank the people who have helped us here to play.”

-The lndependent/UK, December 12, 2003

“Blue Heart has followed its clients’ suggestions to map out its expanding destinations. Vacationers travel from Guangzhou to Hong Kong by train visit the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and Tian’anmen Square and take in a performance of the famed Shanghai Acrobats.”

-Tour and Travel News, Michael Milligan | May 8, 1995

“The Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra visit involved a human element that transcended the usual business of arranging orchestra tours for Neeta Helms, executive vice president of Classical Movements. She ushered the musicians from their first nerve-wracking security checks at New York’s JFK Airport to their last tourist stop at Rockefeller Center on the way out of the country.”

-Symphony Magazine, Rebecca Winzenreid | March, 2004

“Kevin Fox, who is working with the Neemrana Foundation, the Capital City Minstrels and Delhi School of Music in the Capital, says that the Indian singers are very keen on the music and are eager to do more and learn more about choral singing. He adds, ‘I’ve met some excellent directors and teachers here who are working very creatively to spread the musical and social benefits of group singing.'”

-Mail Today, Srijani Ganguly | Feb 15, 2017