Music brings people of different backgrounds together. It is a language that everybody can understand and appreciate. It also helps people understand different cultures and traditions.
Famous Qatari singer and composer Nasser Sahim Nasseb, who is the deputy executive director of Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (QPO), concurs with the opinion that music builds bridges between people of diverse cultures.
“QPO works as an ambassador for Qatari culture. It also promotes and highlights the cultures of different countries as the orchestra consists of people coming from as many as 28 nations,” said Nasser, who is the only Qatari associated with the orchestra.
Nasser, who comes from a family of famous musicians, recently spoke with Gulf Times about his association with music, accomplishments and plans. “My late uncle, Faraj Abdul Karim, is renowned for his contributions to traditional Qatari music. He introduced music to my soul. I, however, had to finish my formal education before I became a professional musician. As for music education, I studied it in Tunisia. I learnt how to play the oud, guitar and piano.
"I served the Qatar Armed Forces before joining QPO as a manager in 2011. I studied orchestra in Germany. I did my first composition, 'Al hanneen' (nostalgia) in 2016 and the orchestra played it during the Qatar-Germany 2017 Year of Culture. I have also studied at the British Film Institute.”
Nasser was promoted to the position of deputy executive director in 2018. “I did not stop there. I did my master's degree in risk management in music. I have recently been studying a lot about music and creating new music directions.
“Further, I am doing a PhD in music composition from Uzbekistan. In my research, I will focus on music moving from the Middle East to Uzbekistan and vice-versa. I will try to build a bridge between Qatar and Uzbekistan using my research on music and different instruments.”
For Nasser, classical western music has been flourishing in Qatar, thanks to QPO. “The orchestra was founded to develop a community of music. In the beginning, there were very few Qataris attending the orchestra music. However, with the passage of time, the numbers have grown manifold. QPO has been offering various sorts of music besides classical. The orchestra has been offering film, video games and cartoon music along with traditional Arab music. People now know that the orchestra is there in Qatar. QPO is no longer limited only to classical western music. More and more people in Qatar are getting attracted to the orchestra and classical music.”
The Qatari musician sees QPO as an ambassador of the country. “The musicians in the orchestra are not local. They come from 28 different countries. We play the music of Qatar and that of many other countries. Music is a certain kind of language. It helps in building relations. QPO takes the culture of Qatar with it to other countries. The orchestra has also been playing music for different countries that celebrates cultural years with Qatar.”
Nasser considers his current position important for serving the country. “I am the first Qatari who has been promoted by the British Film Institute. I have brought some recognition for my country. I will be the first Qatari to have a PhD in music. I think I am serving my country well. I am trying to bring something new to the country. I am an exporter of Qatari culture, a music ambassador and a culture builder.”
Nasser has set up a state-of-the-art music studio, named Alahsas, at his home. For him, music is a source of peace and contentment. “Music gives a sort of peace and softness to one’s heart. I think it takes me away from different gratuitous activities. Some people say they smoke because they feel out of mood. When I am out of mood, I play music.”
The musician plans to teach music overseas in the future. "I want to teach music. I also want to teach at Qatar Music Academy. I will study music more deeply. I want to share my knowledge and experience with the music-loving people,” he concluded.
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