The young musicians will attend the Pro Corda Chamber Orchestra course at Leiston Abbey in Suffolk ( before coming to London for an intensive residency at a music college, where they will take individual classes and participate in chamber music and workshops with professional musicians associated with the Choir of London.

For more information about the British Council/Choir of London Bursary Scheme, please contact us at You can keep up-to-date with all of the news about the Bursary Scheme and other Choir of London projects by ‘liking’ our Facebook page or following us on Twitter.

Applications for next year’s Bursary Scheme will open in early 2016.

My name is Sara Aqel, I am a 15 year old high school student. I am originally from Jerusalem, but I was born and raised in Gaza.

Music has always been an interesting subject for me - that is why I decided  to start playing piano at the age of 8. Throughout the last 7 years of my life I learned the real meaning of discipline, patience, and love through melodies and harmonies.

However, being a musician in Palestine is quite challenging. Having to get permits just to be able to play at a concert in a town that is only a few miles away from you is a nightmare, not to mention the radical criticism you have to deal with from all round you.

The British Council/Choir of London Bursary Scheme gives young Palestinian musicians the chance to visit the UK for a short period of study, based around a residential music course with young British musicians, followed by a residency in London playing with Choir of London musicians, and ending with a showcase concert.

Auditions for this year’s Bursary Scheme were held in Palestine in April and four talented young musicians were selected to take part in the programme.

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Choir of London Bursary Scheme

Sara Aqel - 15, piano, from Gaza

I do believe that Choir of London Bursary Scheme will be a great experience for me, and it will offer me numerous opportunities to improve my musical skills, see the world, and meet other great musicians.

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My name is Jude Amous and I am 16 years old. I am a young musician in Jerusalem, Palestine where I have lived all my life. I’ve been playing the cello for about 10 years now and it has definitely become a big part of my life. My interests and ambitions as a young Palestinian musician are to learn music from all parts of the world and explore it in so many different ways.

Being a Palestinian musician is hard yet wonderful; the issue of Palestine and the occupation is still not being addressed enough, but I know that if I work hard enough to spread it, through music, it can create a difference. In Palestine, classical musicians are different and unique because we are willing to tackle things that are different from our culture yet still be engraved in it. We are trying to live a life as normal as possible - people in Palestine are doing that in so many different ways. Mine is through music.

Jude Amous - 16, cello, from Jerusalem

My name is Amira. I am 16 years old and come from Beit Sahour, a Palestinian town east of Bethlehem. 

Ever since my early years, music has magically influenced me. But the person who really enriched my music experience was my elder brother. He plays the violin, and he made me love music. At the age of 13, I started playing the clarinet at the Edward Said Conservatory of Music.  I believe that by playing the clarinet I can better express my feelings and make people around me happy.

Amira Isaac - 16, clarinet, from Beit Sahour

The Bursary Scheme, and playing with the Choir of London, is a great opportunity for me to experience the cultural life in the UK. I am also interested in discovering the differences between learning music in the UK and Palestine and exchanging my experiences with those of British students. The Palestinians have a message about their identity, culture and future that they want to deliver and I chose music to deliver this message!

Ahmad Saddouq - 14, violin, from Nablus

My name is Ahmad and I’m 14 years old. Music is very important to me - when I was just 5 years old, my father suggested I should try an instrument, and I chose the violin and I haven’t stopped since then!

This trip is going to be very important for me and I hope that I’m going to learn a lot of new things, and have many experiences, when I’m in Britain this summer. I’m looking forward to benefitting from the new teachers that I meet, and I’m sure my playing will improve a lot.

I’ve played in two orchestras before, but my ambition is to play in lots more! I’m looking forward to spending time playing music with other people, and getting to know new friends by playing music with them.