Qatari audience for classical music grows

January 05, 2013 - 2:42:13 am



Siwar Al Jazeera Children’s Chorus and the famous Vienna Boys’ Choir accompanied by the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra perform for Arabic schoolchildren in the Katara Opera House.

By Isabel Ovalle

DOHA: The number of Qatari audience for classical music has grown since the foundation of the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (QPO) in 2007. However, local audience at concerts of QPO only represents approximately five percent of the total.

The QPO promotes and performs Western and Arabic music in order to inspire the children and adults in Qatar and the Arab world to create and enjoy music. With this purpose, the QPO will perform three series of school concerts this season, aiming to encourage children in Qatar to enjoy classical music.

Many members of the Orchestra, such as first violin Dmitri Torchinsky and cellist Christoph Schmitz, teach very young kids and hope to “one day have a Qatari colleague”.

With these concerts for children the QPO hopes to awaken the passion for music in Qatari children, who were very receptive at the school concerts held so far for Arabic speaking schools, said a QPO official. Half of each set of concerts are for Arabic-speaking schools and half for English. 

So far, the QPO has had students from the ages of six to 18 at their school concerts. About 300 students attend each of the 10 to 12 individual school concerts held per season.

Among the upcoming school concerts at Katara Cultural Village Opera House is the William Tell Overture, which will be in Arabic on April 11 and in English on April 13 and 14. 

These concerts will be conducted by Bob Ross, with Gideon Seidenberg at the horn. The programme comprises: Pizzicato Polka by Strauss; Greensleeves by Vaughan Williams; Concerto No. 2 in E Flat Major for Horn and Orchestra by Mozart; Radetzky March, by Strauss; and Overture to William Tell by Rossini.

On April 12 the village will host the Qatar Philharmonic Family Concert at 5pm in Arabic, also conducted by Bob Ross, with Gideon Seidenberg at the horn, and with the same programme.

Past performances for children include the Vienna Boys’ Choir with Siwar Al Jazeera Children’s Choir, in which Qatari children sang Arabic and Western music with the Philharmonic and the mentioned choir.

They also performed Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, a children’s tale told by narrator and orchestra. Instruments and themes characterise the protagonists of the story. This QPO recording was the first with Arabic narration.

Another school concert was Engelbert Humperdinck’s operetta, Hansel and Gretel staged and sung at an exhibition, with drawings specially created to accompany the music by schoolchildren at in-school workshops.  

The QPO was founded in 2007 under the umbrella of Qatar Foundation. It is composed of 101 professional musicians from 29 countries, but doesn’t have any Qatari members yet.

The Peninsula

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