Growing appetite for classical music in Qatar

DOHA: The appetite for classical music in Qatar has been growing since Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra began 10 years ago, Kurt Meister, Executive Director of Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra has said.

With Qatar Philharmonic’s sold-out concerts in recent years, Meister believes the Doha audience has matured compared to the time when the Philharmonic was starting a decade ago.

“I’m quite happy that people are really interested in coming to the concerts. Ten years ago we had to convince the people, but now they see that everybody can find something that he likes. We are sold out this evening and I think the whole month is already done,” he told The Peninsula at the Philharmonic’s season opening concert on Saturday.

A member of Qatar Foundation, Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra is composed of some of the best musicians from around the world performing and promoting western and Arabic music to inspire children and adults of Qatar and the Arab world to create and enjoy music.

“We have a big range of music and I’m quite happy that the audience is accepting this. We have Arabic programme which is very important to have a bridge between Western and Arabic culture,” said Meister, citing as an example the Philharmonic’s acclaimed inaugural performance of Marcel Khalife’s Arabian Concerto.

Next month, Qatar Philharmonic will mark a milestone as it celebrates its 10th year anniversary with a concert exactly the same day when it held its inaugural concert on October 30, 2008, he added.

Every season, the Philharmonic performs dozens of concerts covering wide ranging programmes to suit the taste of different audiences including a symphony programme, children’s music festival, music from films, chamber music, and music from video games, to mention a few.

It has been playing in various venues such as the Katara Opera House, the Qatar National Convention Centre, the Museum of Islamic Art, and the recently opened Qatar National Library.

Last Saturday’s concert was only a taste of more exciting shows to come and among the must-see concerts lined up for this season Meister mentioned are the fourth installment of the highly successful Video Games Live in March, Harry Potter meets James Bond in April, Cinderella featuring a Chinese ballet group and Music of Frank Sinatra on September 22 featuring acclaimed singer Richard Shelton.

“We also have a two-week children’s festival in February with a lot of different programmes. It’s very important that children come to this festival so they get interested to do music, which is vital in learning discipline and in life as a whole,” he stressed.

Asked whether the Qatar Philharmonic will be holding concerts this season, he said they will be holding a concert in St. Petersburg, Russia in November featuring music by Qatari composers Dana Al Fardan, Wael Binali and Haamed Hussein Naama and Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich, as well as concerts in China in the later part of the year following a very successful show two years ago.

On how he foresees the future of Qatar Philharmonic in another decade, Meister said its role would be more relevant as ever as the country forges ahead as it journeys from carbon economy to knowledge economy.

Source: The Peninsula Qatar