Symposium Afghan Music in Exile – Views on the Current Situation


The study day "Afghan Music in Exile" responds to the political and cultural development in Afghanistan since August 2021. With the Taliban seizing power, music has been banned from public life in Afghanistan and has become a subject to migration and exile. Since then, musicians in the country cannot pursue their professional activities, suffer from persecution and threats, and have to fear for their instruments and what’s more, their lives. While the Taliban's rule and its consequences for Afghans persist to this day, the short media attention in the Global North disappeared just a few months after the takeover of power. The study day “Afghan Music in Exile” aims to foster the discussion about the current situation of Afghanistan’s music and brings together experts in this field. These experts cover different views on Afghan music – from historical aspects to questions of musical style, from the state of music institutions to gender relations and the status of women. Additionally, a panel discussion focuses on the current situation for musicians, which will be moderated by the Austrian-Afghan journalist Emran Feroz. The study day will conclude with a performance of two master musicians from Afghanistan: Ustad Ghulam Hussain and Ustad Latif Sharifi.


Time & Location

02 June 2023, 10:00 AM


Anton-von-Webern-Platz 1

1030 Wien



10:00 - 10:30

Welcome and Introduction

10:30 - 11:15

Introduction Lecture: The Recent Political History of Afghanistan

Emran Feroz

11:15 - 12:00

Afghanistan’s Music and Resilience

Mirwaiss Sidiqi

Coffee break


12:15 - 13:00

Implementing Music in Higher Education: The Music Department of Kabul University

Waheedullah Saghar

13:00 - 13:45 (Online)

Soft Power, Social Change and Cultural Dialogues – The Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM)

Bilal Asify


Lunch break


15:00 - 15:45

Afghanistan’s Female Musicians

Fazila Zamer

15:45 - 16:30

Unveiling Afghanistan's Musical Legacy: Exploring the Music Archive of Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA) as a Cultural Heritage

Mohammad Sediq Zarifyar and Abdul Wahab Sarwary


Coffee break


16:45 - 18:15

Panel Discussion: Music at the Crossroads: The Current Situation in Afghanistan, Challenges and Responses

Participants: Mirwaiss Sidiqi, Waheedullah Saghar, Fazila Zamer, Abdul Wahab Sarwary, Bilal Asify (online) Moderation: Emran Feroz


19:00 Concert with Traditional Music of Afghanistan

Ustad Ghulam Hussain (Afghan Rubab) and Ustad Latif Sharifi (Dhol + Tula)


The study day takes place in English and in a hybrid format (Zoom). We kindly request registration at


Organized by the Structured Doctoral Programme “Music Matters” (sdp) and the Department of Folk Music Research and Ethnomusicology.