German Orchestra in Iran to Improve Cultural Ties

A0299561.jpgOfficials from a German symphony orchestra scheduled to play a concert in Tehran this week expressed hope Monday that the visit would improve cultural ties between the two countries. The 60-member Osnabrueck Symphony Orchestra will perform classics by Beethoven and Brahms on Wednesday and Thursday, the first major cultural event by a Western group in years.

The performance is part of an exchange that saw the Tehran Symphony Orchestra perform last year to a packed hall in Osnabrueck.

“The idea behind this festival is to show to the people of both countries that there are lots of similarities between us and that there is no reason to fear each other,” Michael Dreyer, head of Osnabrueck’s Morgenland Festival, told reporters Monday after the group arrived in Tehran.

Iran and many Western governments, including Germany, have been at odds over Tehran’s nuclear rights.

Mohammad Hossein Ahmadi, a top official at Iran’s Ministry of Culture, echoed Dreyer’s hopes for the event.

“It is part of cultural exchanges between Iran and Germany in line with understanding each other more and strengthening cultural contacts between the two nations,” he said.

Despite the cultural differences, the orchestra’s conductor, Hermann Baeumer, expressed confidence in the power of music to bring the two nations closer.
“I’m sure that making music together will change things,” he said at Monday’s press conference. “Every human being can be reached by music.”

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