"Alcarmel" was founded in Haifa in1995 by music teacher Albert Ballan, to promote oriental music in Haifa and Israel, and to provide a positive atmosphere, with experienced musicians encouraging beginners, while maintaining high standards.
Albert Ballan, who constantly strove to deepen the roots of music among his students, mentioned the idea of establishing the Association to a group of young Haifa residents engaged in music and in other sciences, and soon the idea materialized.
Association members set themselves a target to create a generation that knows how to enjoy music, alongside a generation of musicians who perform authentic and modern music. This professional music center was the first of its kind in the country to which the Arab population turned. Due to the success of the center's activity, it was decided to establish a committee that will consolidate and promote its musical activity.
Once the organization committee of Alcarmel was established in 1996, the center's momentum grew, the students received instruments, and the level of students' awareness of their musical skills increased and enabled them to distinguish between professional musicians and amateurs. The objective was to achieve the same level as that of international music centers.
The Association's Aims
Improving the standard of music in the country and creating a generation that will be exposed to world music of all kinds and colors; to introduce music and song to every household; cultivate music teaching in society in general and among children and adolescents in particular; and to make music an integral part of education in our rapidly developing society.
To provide the tools and musical knowledge to the young and old who want to learn music, regardless of nationality, religion and race. The important objective of all of Alcarmel's projects is to mold and evaluate a model of action that will promote self-awareness through the study of music.
The Association's Activities:
"Alcarmel" Music Festival
National competition of playing and singing Arabic music and dances up to age 18. For nearly three decades, the Festival is held annually in June. The participants undergo tests and rehearsals before a panel of professional judges and teachers. The aim of the competition is discovering talented musicians among teenagers, training and supporting them and providing them with further guidance on their musical road.
The Association's Bands and Ensembles - Music Shows
The ensembles and bands include talented musicians, young and old, who receive music training during the year by teachers and professional instructors. The orchestras participated in several different events and concerts held in Haifa and throughout the country, after being commissioned by various institutions such as Nave Yosef Center, Haifa Municipality, public institutions and various associations in the city.
The Association does the organization and preparation of the shows independently.
Eastern Music School
In 2003, "Alcarmel" established an eastern music studies school for all ages, the first of its kind in the country, which educates and fosters artistic talents in children, using a selected group of skilled music teachers, of seniority and academic training.
The school's teaching plan includes: teaching music to At-Risk Youth, preparation for matriculation exams in music at a level of up to five units, early childhood music and movement from age 4 to 6 years, drums, violin, darbuka (goblet drum), eastern drum, oud, kanoon, keyboards, piano, eastern flute, classical guitar, electric guitar.
The teaching method is unique – the teachers share their knowledge with their students in private classes as well as in weekly group meetings where students learn theory and develop ideas for performing music in groups. Each student progresses according to the level of achievement and the learning programs are personally adapted, according to one's talent and speed of progress.
Currently, the school has about 210 students aged 4 to 65.
The course duration is one year, at the end of which the students participate in a concert where they perform what they learned and receive a diploma.
Various Performances and Concerts
Various concerts for the music school students where each appears in several works in front of an audience. The concerts are held after a large number of classes taught by a team of teachers who prepare the students to perform pieces they learn during the school year. In addition, throughout the year, the Association conducts musical educational shows for preschoolers.
The Orchestra collaborates with various ensembles such as Mitzlol Orchestra and others, and appears in concerts of Arab, Israeli and world music. In 2015, the Orchestra represented Haifa and Israel in concerts in Germany and Poland. Some members of the Arab-Jewish ensemble performed at a reception for German mayors in Haifa.
The Orchestra also performs at Sukkot—Bat Galim event, in cooperation with the municipality of Haifa.
Working with At-Risk Youth
By providing music lessons in a homelike, supporting and accepting atmosphere, music adds substance to young people's free time, thus keeping them from roaming the streets, and from the inherent dangers.
Hosting Foreign Artists and Singers
Creating a musical bridge between world cultures – playing Arab, Israeli and world music with "Alcarmel" Ensemble.
In 2019, El Carmel Orchestra represented Haifa at a festival held in its twin city Chengdu. The Orchestra has performed in four concerts, one of which—organized by the Israeli Consulate and attended by Israeli Consul Mr. Uri Zirinski—took place in a home for the elderly. The Orchestra impressed the organizers, the local crowd and the delegations that participated in the festival. The rapport the delegations had with the Orchestra was outstanding, yielding many proposals for delegations exchange from various countries such as Brazil, Mexico, New Mexico, France Sri Lanka, etc.
Haifa Arts Foundation supports various projects of "Alcarmel" since 2010.
The Foundation has awarded scholarships to students studying Arab music with the Association, financed the purchase of an electric piano and six darbukas, and helped to release a disc by Shuf Aleiam Choir, under the direction of Albert Ballan.
In addition, for three consecutive years, the Foundation has awarded grants for the operation of the music school.
The Foundation's support over the years encouraged both the students and the teachers to continue their musical education, and enhanced the capabilities of those who benefited from it.
Scholarships ceremony 2015
Scholarships ceremony 2018