The power of music to unite a nation under siege resonates globally with Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra’s (QPO) live performances, a member of the internationally-renowned orchestra has said.
“A blockade is not powerful enough to block people’s hearts”, Merve Kenet-Bulun told Gulf Times, highlighting the hope and inspiration that music brings to people of diverse backgrounds.
Kenet-Bulun graduated from the University of Istanbul State Conservatory in 1997 where she studied with Selcuk Kundakci. She played in many orchestras: The Istanbul Symphony Orchestra as a soloist, Aachener Symphony Orchestra, Borusan Philharmonie Turkey, Sin fonietta Koln as principal and tutti and Neuss Kammer Akademie.
Three years on, she said QPO has been fulfilling its “one-of-its-kind mission to bring the name of the country to the global stage and represent it with the most beautiful language in the world – music”.
Kenet-Bulun said their performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London, one of her memorable experiences as a musician, was warmly received and appreciated by the audience.
“People came to the concert and were happy to see us on stage, the Qatari flag was raised, and it was very emotional,” she said.
QPO continued performing abroad – from Russia and China, among other countries to New York City in the US – to showcase the rich culture and heritage of Qatar, Kenet-Bulun added.
“To be honest, as a performer, I miss the stage and our audience very much. Especially after each concert to see the happiness on their faces is something very special,” she said. “But such kind of situations also need fast and creative solutions.”
QPO members also performed amid the Covid-19 pandemic with their ‘Balcony concert series’, featuring different symphonic videos, special children stories, Ramadan surprises and specially-created musical quiz series.
“We aim to educate the audience with fun, and raise their curiosity about the history of music (in one show I was cooking and the other was wearing 18th-century costume),” Kenet-Bulun said. “We get in touch with people during these difficult times and to give them a little smile on their faces and hope.”
About the positive impact of the “unjust blockade”, the Turkish-born musician reiterated that this diplomatic rift not only united the people but also further strengthened Qatar’s relations with other countries, particularly Trkey.
“Due to our historical backgrounds, Qatar and Turkey have a very special relationship but after the blockade, we developed much stronger ties,” she noted.