QPO performs world premiere of ‘Nour, Anna and the Wise Fools’

The Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra’s (QPO) world premiere performance of “Nour, Anna and the Wise Fools” received warm response from an adoring audience mostly children at Katara Drama Theatre yesterday.

The new stage play debuted at the family concert which served as a highlight of the inaugural Children and Family Festival presented by the Philharmonic in partnership with World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) and Qatar Music Academy (QMA).

During the show, Qatar Philharmonic delivered a stunning performance of music composed by Richard Strauss and Qatar Philharmonic’s MAias Alyamani who also conducted the concert.

The short play featured Tamara Schäfer and Svetlana Schmitz, known as the theatrical duo ACTory, who played Anna and Nour as well as provided staging and costumes. The theatrical piece traces the story of Nour, who finds a new friend named Anna after moving from the desert to the big city. They play hide and seek in the attic of Anna’s house and find boxes filled with toys, clothes, old objects and books.

Presented as stories within a story, the play tells funny and witty anecdotes of wise fools from old times namely Djuha, Till Eulenspiegel and Nasreddin Hodja. One lives in the West while two live in the East, yet they discover they have many things in common.

It was a creatively crafted complete show combining music, acting and shadow play with audience interaction and participation which many of the children enjoyed. Yesterday’s show was the second of the four family concerts for the festival which kicked off on Friday with Alyamani’s “Nour, A Girl of the Desert” which marked a successful premiere two years ago.

Two more family concerts are scheduled for the festival including Peter and the Wolf on Friday, 5pm and 6.30pm at Katara Drama Theatre and Qatar Youth Orchestra with Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra on Saturday, 7.30pm at Katara Opera House.

The concert on Friday will feature shadow theatre by ACTory and visual artworks created by young students through a workshop under the WISE Happenings initiative, while the final show on Saturday will witness Qatar Philharmonic’s joint performance with Qatar Music Academy soloists and Qatar Youth Orchestra. Both concerts will be conducted by Qatar Philharmonic’s Giovanni Pasini.

In addition to the family concerts, a number of school concerts are also being organised to reach out to more young audiences. The festival was organised to underline the significant impact of integrating music to education to build communities and enrich lives.


QPO holds first-ever Children’s and Family Festival

Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (QPO) underlines the significant impact of blending music and education towards building communities and enriching lives by organising the first-ever Children’s and Family Festival in collaboration with World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) and Qatar Music Academy (QMA).

The festival features four family concerts including the premiere of “Nour, Anna and the Wise Fools” and an art workshop for young children in partnership with WISE.

“We are celebrating the 10th anniversary of Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra which was created in 2008. One of the important roles of the orchestra is to bring music to children and bring children to music. Music can bring people around the world together in many ways; it can stimulate the mind and move people,” Kurt Meister, Executive Director of Qatar Philharmonic stressed at a press conference yesterday at Katara Drama Theatre.

Kicking off the family concert series is “Nour, A Girl of the Desert” on Friday at Katara Drama Theatre. Following its successful world premiere here two years ago, this concert promises to be yet another engaging show with its mix of drama and music. The Philharmonic’s sub-principal Violin II, MAias Alyamani, will conduct his own music with story by Svetlana Schmitz and costumes and staging by ACTory’s Tamara Schafer and Schmitz.

On January 29, “Nour, Anna and the Wise Fools,” a new drama by Alyamani and ACTory, will mark its premiere at Katara Drama Theatre. It will also be conducted by Alyamani with costumes and staging by Schmitz and Schafer.

Alyamani expressed happiness to have played a role in the project which was done completely in Qatar including a Qatari-inspired story and music.

“It is a very important project because it links cultures and shows once more that we as orchestra is doing something not only as performers but creators giving artistic contribution to the world,” he said.

Third in the series is “Peter and the Wolf” to be performed on February 1 with shadow theatre by ACTory and visual artworks created by young students through a workshop under the WISE Happenings initiative.

“We are excited about this collaboration. As WISE we want to have the chance of exploring collaborations with other organisations here n Qatar that are doing great work, and we wanted to come together with Qatar

Philharmonic Orchestra on education  and the role that arts play as an important tool in fostering education, thus comes the idea of this workshop,” said Dr. Ameena Hussain, Curator and Director of Programs at WISE.

Farah Abel, Policy Development officer at WISE said as most of the conversations are around science and technology, it is also essential to include the arts as part of modern education.

“The collaboration comes with some local artists where we explored different mediums of storytelling and different points of learning so we thought what is more artistic than visuals and music as a learning tool, thus the objective of our workshop is to exercise the creative muscles often neglected in traditional learning environments of our students,” she said.

The Festival will culminate with Qatar Philharmonic’s joint performance with Qatar Music Academy soloists and Qatar Youth Orchestra on February 2.

Giovanni Pasini, who will be conducting the concert, sees the concert as a rare opportunity for young students to play with high-calibre orchestra and be inspired.

“Some children even think of being professional musicians because of this experience which is a very powerful thing for them, so we are very proud of this initiative and we hope to continue this,” he said

Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra at QNCC today

Doha: Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra will perform Concerto for Orchestra, one of the most popular works by Bela Bartok who is considered one of the most important composers of the 20th century, tonight at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC).

Written in five movements, the concerto was composed by the Hungarian musical genius while he was in exile in New York in 1943 in response to a commission. It premiered the following year and soon became one of his best-known works.

Bartok was a composer, pianist, educator and a pioneering ethnomusicologist hailed as one of the great architects of musical history whose style is characterised by a nationalistic inspiration paralleled by the constant pursuit for new inspiration and experimentation.

The concert repertoire also includes Carl Maria von Weber’s Overture to Oberon and Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in F Minor.

Born into a musical and theatrical family, Weber was a German composer, pianist,  critic, opera director, and was one of the pioneering Romantic composers. Oberon or The Elf King’s Oath was among his most notable opera pieces. It is a Romantic opera in three acts written upon an English libretto by James Robinson.

Comprising three movements, Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in F Minor was written by Weber in 1811 for the clarinetist Heinrich Joseph Baermann and has become firmly established in the concert repoertoire.

Under the baton of young Swiss conductor Lorenzo Viotti, the concert will feature Austrian clarinettist Andreas Ottensamer.

Viotti came to international attention when he won the Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Awards 2015 at the age of 25 as well as the Cadaqués International Conducting Competition and the MDR Conducting Competition in 2013. He also won the newcomers’ award at the International Opera Award 2017. He has conducted dozens of orchestras, opera productions and concerts worldwide and has been appointed musical director of the Gulbenkian Orchestra from the season 2018/19 onwards.

Born in 1989 in Vienna, Ottensamer comes from an Austro-Hungarian family of musicians and was drawn to music early, receiving his first piano lessons when he was four. The first prize winner of several competitions with the instruments of clarinet, piano and cello, he has captured audiences and critics alike as soloist and chamber musician in major concert halls worldwide.  In 2005 he founded the clarinet trio “The Clarinotts” with his father Ernst and brother Daniel. He has recorded several albums, is the artistic director of the “ Bürgenstock Festival” in Switzerland and principal clarinettist with the Berliner Philharmoniker.

Tickets are priced QR125, QR150 and QR175 and can be purchased at www.qatarphilharmonicorchestra.org. The show starts at 7.30pm at QNCC Auditorium 3.

Prolific Indian artiste to perform with Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra

Prolific Indian recording artiste Naveen Kumar (pictured), known for his collaboration with Academy-Award winning music composer A R Rahman, will be in Doha to headline Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra’s upcoming concert on February 8 at Qatar National Convention Centre.

A flautist, music composer and singer, Naveen will perform at the concert “Music of Bollywood with Naveen Kumar/Qatar-India Year of Culture 2019” featuring music by well-known Indian and Qatari composers.

The repertoire includes A R Rahman compositions including Theme from Bombay, Cry of Rose (Kadhal Rojave) and Medley of Tollywood and Bollywood as well as Naveen’s compositions Fantasy Flute and Cafe Fluid.

Songs by Qatari composers which will be performed at the show include Dana Alfardan’s Spirit of Thunder, Nasser Sahim’s Four Seasons, and Wael Binali’s The Oryx and the Unicorn from Shafallah Suite.

Ravi’s Music from Chaudhvin Ka Chand, Ilaiyaraaja’s Rakkamma Kaiya Thattu from the movie Thalapathi, and M.M. Keeravani’s Music from Baahubali are among other pieces set to be performed at the show.

Under the baton of Tuomas Kantelinen, the concert will also feature Ravi Chari on sitar, Tanmoy Bose (tabla), Ratul Shankar (drum), Madhab Deka (keyboard) and Hricha Debraj Das and Pranav Robin Joseph (vocals).

The initiative is part of Qatar India 2019 Year of Culture, a year-long programme developed by Qatar Museums to deepen understanding between nations through mutual exchanges of arts, culture, heritage and sport.

Qatar India 2019 Year of Culture was planned in collaboration with leading institutions in Qatar and India, including the Embassy of Qatar in New Delhi, the Embassy of India in Doha, Qatar’s Ministry of Culture and Sport, Qatar Foundation, Qatar National Tourism Council, and Doha Film Institute, among others.

Naveen has contributed immensely to the Hindi, Tamil and Telugu film industries. Apart from Indian flutes, Naveen is also proficient at playing rare and exotic varieties from across the world. He is the inventor of many unique wind instruments, the most renowned being The Naveen Flute, which combines the flute tone with the vibration of strings.

He has performed at some of the most prestigious venues around the globe and some of his most memorable concerts include those at Hollywood Bowl Los Angeles, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, at Commonwealth Games 2010 in Delhi and recently, for the President Of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee.

Ticket prices range from QRR75 to QR200 and can be purchased at Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra’s website. The concert is scheduled on February 8 at 7.30pm at QNCC’s Al Mayassa Theatre

QPO to celebrate 10-year anniversary of inaugural concert

Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (QPO), a member of Qatar Foundation (QF), will present a special 10-year anniversary concert tomorrow at Al Mayassa Theatre, Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC).

The concert is being held in celebration of the orchestra’s gala inaugural concert in October 2008, where talented musicians from 30 different countries came together to perform internationally-acclaimed symphonies.

The world-renowned Conductor of Honor for the concert, Dmitrij Kitajenko – who has led prestigious orchestras around the world — will conduct the same music as featured in the inaugural concert 10 years ago, including works such as Maurice Ravel’s Bolero and Marcel Khalifé’s Arabian Concerto.

Featured international guest artists will include Moslem Rahal on nay; Kenan Adnawi on oud; Feras Charestan on qanun; Mohamad Osman on bouzouq; and George Oro on tabla. During the intermission, students from QF member Qatar Music Academy will join Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra musicians under Louise Bourgeois’ giant spider sculpture, Maman, at QNCC.

Kurt Meister, Executive Director, Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, said: “Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra has grown into a world-class orchestra over the last 10 years, connecting Arabic and Western cultures through music.”

Sheikha Moza attends ‘10-Year Anniversary Concert’ of QPO

Doha: H H Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation (QF),  attended the ‘10-Year Anniversary Concert’ of Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra at Qatar National Convention Centre, yesterday.

The gala concert was also attended by former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani and H E Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice-Chairperson and CEO of QF, as well as other dignitaries.

Renowned conductor Dmitrij Kitajenko was the Conductor of Honor at the anniversary concert, which featured international guest artists such as Moslem Rahal on nay, Charbel Rouhana on oud, Feras Charestan on qanun, Mohamad Osman on bouzouq, and George Oro on tabla.

With an almost identical programme to Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra’s inaugural concert, which was conducted by Loren Maazel, the evening included performances of Maurice Ravel’s Bolero and Marcel Khalifé’s Arabian Concerto.

Established over a decade ago by  Sheikha Moza , the orchestra  a member of QF, strives to advance the promotion of Middle East composers, with an integral part of its work including hosting new and established composers, soloists, and conductors from the Arab world.  Kurt Meister, Executive Director, Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, said, “Ten years ago, Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra started as an ambitious musical project designed to bring music appreciation to Qatari audiences.

“It has since grown into a world-class orchestra, featuring some of the best musicians from around the globe, all established within their own right. We have toured internationally and brought our fusion of Arabic and Western cultural expression to Qatar, the region and the rest of the world – through music.”

The orchestra has been recognised on the world stage on multiple occasions, with highlights including international tours in the Middle East, Europe, and the US. It has performed in venues such as the Royal Albert Hall in London, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, and the Syrian Opera House in Damascus.

Machaille Al Naimi, President of Community Development, QF, said, “Tonight, we celebrate a decade of Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra entertaining, enlightening, and inspiring the community of Qatar through music.

“The orchestra reflects Qatar Foundation’s commitment to nurturing creativity, fostering social interaction, and enhancing the cultural fabric of Qatar.”

Works that have received their world premiere courtesy of the orchestra have included Marcel Khalifé’s Return Symphony; Jean-Charles Gandrille’s Violin Concerto; Abdalla El-Masri’s Oud Concerto; Rami Khalifé’s Chaos for Piano and Orchestra; and Houtaf Khoury’s Angel of Light Piano Concerto.

Music lovers brace for new QPO concert season

Doha: Yet another exciting concert season awaits music aficionados in Qatar as Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (QPO) lines up diverse masterworks by the greatest composers for the 2019/2020 season beginning with a Rachmaninoff concerto and a Dvořák symphony which the 101-member orchestra will perform at tonight’s season-opening concert.

For tonight’s show, QPO will regale the audience with Sergei Rachmaninoff’s   Concerto No.2 in C minor for Piano and Orchestra considered one of the most enduringly popular pieces of the Russian composer and virtuoso pianist.

Today, Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto stands as one of the most popular and demanding piano concertos of the Romantic era, with melodies so striking that pop stars like Frank Sinatra and Celine Dion were moved to incorporate them into their own work.

The concert repertoire also includes Dvorak’s Eighth Symphony. Cheerful and optimistic, Symphony No 8 was written by Czech composer Antonín Dvořák in 1889 on the occasion of his election to the Bohemian Academy of Science, Literature and Arts, the pastoral character of which was inspired by the folk music of this famous composer’s homeland. At the concert to be held at the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC), QPO will play under the baton of remarkable young Uzbek conductor Aziz Shokhakimov with award-winning Korean virtuoso Hans H. Suh on piano.

In a statement, QPO said the new concert season which marks the start of the 12th year since the orchestra was launched “brings with it a mature musical family” and promises “a year of novelty, excitement and enrichment” for concert-goers.

“The season of concerts is innovative and broad, a continuance of our commitment to bridge Arabic and Western music; but we’re reaching out still further this year. It will be up to you to keep an eye peeled – and perhaps it will fall on some familiar faces where you don’t expect them. We feel that Qatar is a place ripe for music, and that we’re here to make it sound,”  it said. Like in previous seasons, QPO will be integrating music with education holding school concerts this school year.

Following the opening concert is another enthralling QPO performance featuring Bedrich Smetana’s Vltava from “Ma Vlast,” Dvorak’s The Noon Witch, Gioachino Rossini’s Overture to Guillaume Tell and Richard Strauss’ Don Juan. The concert to be held on September 14 at QNCC will have David Niemann as conductor and narrator.

Masterpieces by great composers like Frédéric Chopin, Felix Mendelssohn, Sergei Prokofiev, Dmitriy Shostakovich, and Johannes Brahms will be among the musical pieces that music lovers can expect in QPO’s next concerts this season. In addition, there will be special shows such as the opening concert for the Qatar France Year of Culture, Films concert, Video Games Live and Arabian Music Festival.