The orchestra performing on stage in Berlin

Galilee Chamber Orchestra


The Galilee Chamber Orchestra was founded in 2012 and was the first professional orchestra composed of both Arab and Jewish musicians in Israel. The ensemble is a program of Polyphony Education, an Israeli non-profit whose work aims to bridge the divide between Arab and Jewish communities in Israel through classical music education, performance, and cultural dialogue.

Led by pianist and conductor Saleem Abboud Ashkar, the orchestra brings together musicians from all over Israel from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, and Nazareth, and includes members of the Israeli Philharmonic, other professionals, and 15 of Polyphony’s most advanced Conservatory students, Seminar participants, and Conservatory graduates.

The Galilee Chamber Orchestra’s impact also extends throughout Israeli society: its performances bring classical music to students in peripheral regions, enriches communities with burgeoning cultural scenes, invites audiences together for a shared musical experience, and serves as a model for cooperation and cultural exchange in Israel and abroad. The Orchestra’s work also aims to enhance the status of Nazareth as a culture capital of Israel’s Galilee Region.

In March 2022, the Galilee Chamber Orchestra made its Carnegie Hall debut with Music Director Saleem Abboud Ashkar in a program that featured violinist Joshua Bell.


  • Mar 2022
    North America

    Saleem Abboud Ashkar (conductor) Joshua Bell (violin) Jon Kimura Parker (piano) Carnegie Hall, New York | Koerner Hall, Toronto Programme 1: Haydn Symphony No. 59, “Fire”, Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1, Beethoven Symphony No. 1. Programme 2: Haydn Symphony No. 59, “Fire”, Mozart Piano Concerto No. 21, Beethoven Symphony No. 1.