Orpheus XXI, 1st orchestra of refugee musicians

The Orpheus XXI Intercultural Ensemble took place on November 24 at the Museum of the History of Immigration in Paris. Created by Jordi Savall, the ensemble is composed of ten professional refugee musicians, Syrian, Moroccan, Turkish, Belorussian, Bangladeshi and Kurdish. This project was born in Calais around the idea that music is also a way to integrate and transmit their cultural heritage.

The idea came to Jordi Savall who went to play in 2016 in the jungle of Calais, to improvise a concert with his viola da gamba, accompanied by musicians he met on the spot.

Believing that we can “not have the privilege to play in the most beautiful rooms in the world and stay away from the serious crisis in our society” he then decided to launch a project to integrate refugees through culture and music.



The auditions took place at the end of 2016 at the Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans, in the Doubs. Refugees from all over Europe joined the musicians of Jordi Savall’s troupe. About twenty of them then joined Orpheus.

In residence at La Saline, these 20 musicians learned to understand each other and to communicate about their respective cultures and then to work on a common musical repertoire derived from diversities, interpreted alternately by the musicians as soloists and then in the group.

"The goal of Orpheus XXI, music for life and dignity" is to foster the integration of refugee musicians, and to preserve their musical heritage and convey it to young people in conservatories, schools and .... migrant reception centres. For these refugee children, shaken by wars and exile, these musical interludes are a precious connection to their past and to others to better develop their civic identity.

This first Parisian concert of traditional music will be followed by a tour in 2018 in Dole, Vesoul, Besançon, Arc-et-Senans, Arles, Aix-en-Provence, Conques, Toulouse ...


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