Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (QPO) kicked off its new season with an enchanting concert on Saturday evening. The enthusiasts of orchestral music attended the opening concert in large numbers.
The enthralling concert ‘Dvoák symphony no. 8’ set off the 2019-20 season called ‘The QPO’s Season of Visibility’ that promises to usher in a unique mix of Western and Arabic orchestral music in the coming weeks.
Aziz Shokhakimov, Uzbekistani classical musician, conducted the concert and Hans H. Suh, South Koran pianist, played piano with the orchestra.
The programme, held at Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC), included performances of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No.2 in C minor for Piano and Orchestra, op. 18 and Antonín Dvoák’s Symphony No.8 in G major, op. 88.
The august audience enjoyed the healing power of music by the Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff. The power of music to heal also helped the composer from a creative crisis in 1901, when he composed the Concerto No. 2 in C Minor for Piano & Orchestra Op. 18.
Antonín Dvoák’s optimistic Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Op. 88; the pastoral character of which was inspired by the folk music of this famous Czech composer’s homeland.
The symphonies resonated sweetly through the interpretation of pianist Suh, the Korean virtuoso and laureate of the prestigious Queen Elizabeth Intl. Competition.
Just before the start of the concert, the young pianist Suh spoke to Community. “I live in Germany and got music education from the US. I am very excited to be in Qatar for the first time and to play with the phenomenal orchestra.”
Suh, who started playing piano when he was only four years old and went to the US for studies when he was only 10, said: “My performance is not going to be a solo but with the orchestra – a huge ensemble. We are going to make 35 minutes of lovely music together. I, however, have been performing solo in different countries. This is my first time in the Middle East.”
He added: “In orchestra, it is not only piano. We all play together. It is not like piano comes first. It is about connect – talking to each other through music. The audience needs to see the performance as a whole.”
The pianist further said: “I just play my music and enjoy myself. I try to convey myself to the audience. I think that the feeling of my enjoying the music will automatically be conveyed to the audience.”
Ibrahim Yousef al-Jaidah, a music enthusiast, said: “I have been a regular visitor to the concerts organised by the Philharmonic Orchestra. I love the classical European music. This concert is very nice. It has nice music of piano. I really liked it. The pianist was especially very good. “The orchestral music in Doha also provides a good opportunity to foreigners and the local alike to come here and enjoy the music. People from diplomatic community especially come here to enjoy the classical music. It is also an opportunity to meet different people and socialise with them.”
Bart De Groof, Ambassador of Belgium to Qatar, said: “It is a fantastic concert, and of course Sergei Rachmaninoff happens to be one of my favourite composers.
“The guys who performed tonight were just brilliant. The guest musicians are very well chosen by the director of the QPO. I enjoyed Russian piece very much.
“It is one of the things that QPO does all the time. We have the best both from the West and the East here. They try to bring them together. I think we are very privileged here in Doha to have an orchestra of this quality and I would say this kind of programmes and the philosophy. We can only congratulate ourselves that every week we have an occasion to see various concerts.”
Talking to Community, Kurt Meister, QPO Executive Director, said: “This is our first concert of the new season and it is very important for us. We have chosen very important piano concerto.”
Speaking about the performances in the offing, the executive director said: “We only have beautiful performances here. Our next week’s programme is going to be the compositions that are more like pictures of countryside. We are going to offer the Arabic festival next April. We will also go to Kuwait for five concerts in December. We have a production together with Walt Disney.”
Regarding the QPO’s headway in 12 years, Kurt said: “I met a guest who just arrived from London and came straight to the concert. It is a signal about how much people like the orchestra. We are really accepted now. Many years ago, people said that there was an orchestra in Qatar. But now they say we have an orchestra here.”
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