Ramadan is a month of blessings, peace and calm. Many people use this month as a time for contemplation and spiritual awakening as well.
Christoph Schmitz aka Kiko, a Venezuelan cellist with Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (QPO), appreciates the easy going spirit during Ramadan in Qatar despite the fact that people are going through troublesome times.
Introducing himself, Kiko said: “I am a founding member of QPO and have been associated with the orchestra since August 2008. I play the violoncello and teach also at the Qatar Music Academy. Moreover I’m very happy and lucky at the same time forming part of the Doha String Quartet (DSQ) with the other members of QPO.
“My family left Venezuela in 1994 for Germany where I studied music. I started playing cello when I was only six. I got teachers in Berlin. I enjoy being a part of QPO that I see a melting pot of culture and music. I love this experience. We have members from over 30 countries.”
It is not unusual when Kiko says that his quarantine time for last few weeks has been very challenging. “I have to say that the time has been exhausting – still keeping up the spirits. I have been busy with my music and our balcony concerts. I have received very good reception in my street at The Pearl. I am planning to do more after Ramadan to keep up with our performance character that we are missing right now.
“With my students it has been both challenging and win-win situation. I teach the students three times a week. I cannot monitor them. It is bit more intensive than it was earlier. Thankfully, we have nowadays the virtual technology to teach online, which in my case with all my students works out quite efficiently. We have been taking advantage of this Covid-19 period and the online sessions have shown an incredible improvement in their skills and general playing. Everyone is happy including kids and their parents.
“It also gives some structure to my daily life. Teaching after my usual practice keeps my spirit positive. I have been trying out a lot with my cello – trying to get bit more into electronic sounds. I kind of improvise on my own music. I stick to my instrument and challenge myself. It has been very useful for me so far.”
Kiko appreciates the easy-going and helpful atmosphere prevalent during Ramadan. “The holy month is very special in Qatar. Being in quarantine this time, there are other kinds of feelings. I can however still feel the spirit with which everyone is fasting and going through the process of cleansing once thoughts and mind. I observe it and I admire it. I teach kids who are fasting. I can see them how strong they are. We study in the evening. I also look after them.”
The cellist is happy to see the pleasant weather this year during Ramadan. “This is for the first time that I have seen such a pleasant weather during Ramadan. The evenings are really chilled.
“Unfortunately I had to cancel all these grateful invitations for Iftar, because of the current situation. But in general, I have the impression that everyone in my circle of friends fasting is very calm, generous and always willing to help, which I very much appreciate. I have the big admiration for the easy-going spirit during Ramadan. The easier it is, the more special it gets. I find everyone either at gas station or at supermarket very helpful, soulful and kind. The general attitude towards each other is very gentle.”
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