The Pathway to ANIM

Afghanistan has one of the richest and most complex music histories in the world. The country sits at a topographical and cultural crossroads, and its music has been a major influence in the East and the West.

Music in Afghanistan thrived for centuries; in the 1980’s alone there was a thriving pop and film music industry, hundreds of ensembles and a unique radio orchestra with Western and Afghan instruments. All of this was destroyed by the civil war in the 1990’s and its aftermath.

Between 1996 and 2001, music was completely banned in Afghanistan.

 In 2006, Dr. Ahmad Sarmast, then a Research Fellow at the Monash Asia Institute, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, initiated the Revival of Afghan Music (ROAM) project. His father had been a very famous conductor and Dr. Sarmast had been in exile from his homeland for fifteen years.

In April 2008 after two years of planning, and with the full support of the Ministry of Education and the Deputy Ministry for Technical Vocation and Educational Training, the vision of ANIM was taken by Dr. Ahmad Sarmast to the donor community.

With support from the World Bank, the Embassy of the USA, the German Government and many other donors, the Afghanistan National Institute of Music was inaugurated on June 20, 2010.

ANIM currently has nearly 250 students. We have developed a position in Afghanistan that is without parallel, and over the last few years have not only provided an invaluable education to hundreds of students, but also contributed to healing the wounds of this war-torn country. ANIM students and faculty have time and time again provided specially composed music for significant events in the life of Afghanistan, including the 2012 Prayer for Peace, the 2015 launch of the Women’s Day Song and the National Children’s Anthem of Afghanistan. Furthermore, in 2016 the Afghan Women's Orchestra "Zohra" and the Junior Ensemble of Traditional instruments released a collaborative album with the American ensemble Cuatro Puntos. It was released on the UK label Toccata Classics, distributed internationally by Naxos, and has received overwhelmingly positive reviews all around the world from prominent sources such as BBC Radio (UK) and NPR (USA.)

The success of this initial plan will be replicated in three major provinces in the future - the cities of Herat, Mazar-e Sharif, and Jalalabad.