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Afghanistan National Institute of Music
EstablishedJune 20, 2010
DirectorDr. Ahmad Naser Sarmast

The Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM) is a school of music in Kabul, Afghanistan. It was founded in 2010 by the Afghan-Australian ethnomusicologist Dr. Ahmad Naser Sarmast, and offers a curriculum combining the tuition of both Afghan and Western music. [1] [2] ANIM is a co-educational institute. [3] [4]

Per an agreement between Sarmast and the Afghan Ministry of Education, the school accommodates both exceptionally talented students and underprivileged children. [1] [5]


In 2006, Dr. Ahmad Naser Sarmast, then a Research Fellow at the Monash School of Music and Asia Institute, of Australia's Monash University, returned to Afghanistan to assess the situation after many years of living in exile. [6] A second trip was made in 2007 to discuss the implementation of the pilot project with the Afghan authorities and more precisely, the rebuilding of music education through establishing a dedicated music school for disadvantaged Afghan children. In April 2008, after two years of negotiations with Afghan authorities, Sarmast went again to Afghanistan to lead and implement the establishment of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM). [6]

In 2013, ANIM's Afghan Youth Orchestra toured the United States, including performances at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. [2] [5]

In 2014, a suicide bomb attack at a student concert killed an audience member and the bomber, [7] and injured many more; Sarmast himself was injured and lost some of his hearing. [8] [9] [10]

In 2015, the first Afghan female conductor, 17-year-old Negin Khpalwak, held her first concert with an all-female ensemble. [11] [12] [13] [10] As of 2018, a third of the 250 students are female and the proportion is growing; [11] in 2019, Sarmast took the all-female Zohra Orchestra on a European tour. [8]

In 2018, the Afghanistan National Institute of Music and Sarmast were awarded the Polar Music Prize. [14]

After the Taliban takeover on 15 August 2021, the school's musical instruments were destroyed and ANIM's administrators and students relocated to Lisbon, Portugal. [15]


  1. ^ a b Gallagher, Kimball. "Dr. Ahmad Sarmast on the Afghanistan National Institute of Music". Notes on the Road. Archived from the original on 23 December 2015. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  2. ^ a b Ross, Alex (March 4, 2013). "Border Crossings East meets West at Carnegie Hall". The New Yorker. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  3. ^ Ryan, Rosanna (August 7, 2015). "Emma Ayres on her new adventure: teaching music in Afghanistan". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  4. ^ Coren, Anna (September 21, 2012). "Music school strikes chord with Afghan street kids". CNN. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  5. ^ a b Scherer, Barrymore Laurence (Feb 11, 2013). "Making Music Against the Odds". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Our History". Afghanistan National Institute of Music | ANIM. Retrieved 2021-04-28.
  7. ^ Rasmussen, Sune Engel (2015-05-25). "He was the saviour of Afghan music. Then a Taliban bomb took his hearing". The Guardian. ISSN  0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  8. ^ a b Haider, Arwa (December 6, 2018). "Ahmad Zahir: The enduring appeal of the Afghan Elvis". BBC - Culture. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  9. ^ Khalil, Shaimaa (10 November 2015). "Afghanistan's first female conductor". BBC News. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  10. ^ a b Bezhan, Frud (August 9, 2015). "The Day Afghan Music Didn't Die". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  11. ^ a b Khalil, Shaimaa (November 10, 2015). "Afghanistan's first female conductor". BBC. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  12. ^ "Girls find their Place in Afghanistan's Music Institute". World Bank. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  13. ^ "Afghan woman defies odds to pursue her dream". Deutsche Welle. 6 August 2016. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  14. ^ "The Afghanistan National Institute of Music". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  15. ^ Talmazan, Yuliya (18 November 2021). "Afghanistan's only music school completes exit from Kabul fearing Taliban crackdown". NBC News. Retrieved 15 August 2023.