The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music is built around an ambitious vision of having a lively and creative musical culture in every Palestinian home.

Over a thousand students currently study on the regular programme of either Arabic or Western music in the ESNCM’s six branches in Jerusalem, Nablus, Gaza, Ramallah, Bethlehem and Beyt Sahour. The ESNCM aspires to open branches in all the Palestinian governorates. Additionally the ESNCM is committed to its Outreach Programme, which aims to provide a musical experience to marginalised communities, including the refugee camps of Shu’afat and Daheisha, and singing programmes in Jerusalem and Gaza.

In addition to internal ensembles, including Arabic Music “takht” groups, classical chamber groups, orchestras and jazz bands, the ESNCM runs two flagship orchestras whose members come from the Palestinian community worldwide, the Palestine Youth Orchestra and the Palestine National Orchestra, who have performed nationally and internationally to great acclaim. The ESNCM is also responsible for running the biennial Palestine National Music Competition, which aims to motivate and reward young Palestinian talent, and also for the publishing of educational material for music students, including theory textbooks, song collections, and collections of Arabic instrumental pieces.

Aside for education, other essential elements are audience building and investment in cultural infrastructure in Palestine. The Conservatory annually runs five major music festivals across the country, as well special events which attract a wide audience. Part of audience building is through the ESNCM’s CD productions, and the new Ramallah branch includes a state-of-the-art recording studio.

At the heart of the ESNCM philosophy is the belief that musical education, underpinned by the permeation of quality music throughout Palestinian society, and supported by appropriate cultural infrastructure, bolsters and invigorates Palestinian identity and culture.


Edward Said National Conservatory of Music
P. O. Box 66676, Jerusalem, 91666
Tamer Al-Sahouri, Academic Director