Music in Qatar

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Please check
🙂 Wikipedia: Qatar
🙂 Wikipedia: Qatari Media
🙂 Ministry of Culture, Art and Heritage
🙂 Qatar Foundation


1. Qatar Foundation is where I can find EVERYTHING!!!
2. Facebook: Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra: NO website
2-1. Qatar Foundation: High-quality photos along with more information about the Orchestra available at
2-2. Kurt Meister: Managing director
2-3. Wikipedia: Marcel Khalife (Lebanese Palestinian) or Marcel Khalife – Nagam Cultural Project: Music director and resident composer

3. Doha Cultural Festival

4. Doha Community Orchestra
4-1. The Doha Community Orchestra (DCO) was founded in October 2005
4-2. Since September 2006, the DCO has been under the musical directorship of Mr. Mark Seay, Director of Instrumental Music at ASD (American School of Doha). Weekly rehearsals are held in the music department of the new high school building and the DCO has performed in the recently completed ASD Fine Arts Theatre.
4-3. The orchestra now numbers around sixty members aged 8 to 60. Approximately two thirds of the orchestra are school students, and the adult members include professional musicians, music teachers and amateurs. All the instruments of the Western symphony orchestra are now present in the DCO, and the repertoire consists of both classical and popular works (from Mendelssohn to “The Magnificent Seven”).
4-4. In January 2008, DCO entered into a sponsorship agreement with ConocoPhillips, a leading Oil and Gas company in Qatar.
4-5. Many nationalities are represented in the DCO, including: British, American, Canadian, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Australian, Filipino, Norwegian, Danish, Faroese, Spanish & Dutch.
4-6. The members attend, teach at or work at the following schools and companies: The American School of Doha, Doha College, Park House English School, Qatar Academy, Qatar International School, Compass International School, Dukhan School, Virginia Commonwealth University, Texas A&M University, Qatar Petroleum Co., Maersk Oil, Al Jazeera TV, Galfar Al Misnad and KEO Engineering Consulting Co.
To join the DCO, general enquiries: ;
To contact the director: ;
To reserve tickets: ;
To receive information about DCO events: ;
To contact the website administrator: ;

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A New Orchestra, Built From Scratch Feb 28, 2009 / By New York Times, DANIEL J. WAKIN
WASHINGTON — The announcements in the trade journals looked almost too good to be true: high salaries, free furnished housing, no-cost education for your children, no taxes.
A new orchestra was forming from scratch. The catch was the location: Doha, Qatar, a place where few of the young professional musicians from Berlin and Vienna and Budapest and Moscow thought they would end up.
But some 2,400 musicians from around the world auditioned, 101 were accepted, and lo, the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra came into being last summer.

The ensemble made its American debut last week, performing at the Kennedy Center as part of the festival Arabesques: Arts of the Arab World. Lorin Maazel led it in Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Oriental-inflected works composed by the orchestra’s music director and resident composer, Marcel Khalife, a prominent Lebanese oud player and major musical figure in the Arab world.

The Qatar Philharmonic is the latest effort by energy-rich Persian Gulf nations to cultivate culture at home and raise their international standing abroad. The push includes importing the Tribeca Film Festival to Doha, Qatar’s capital; plans to establish museums with the Louvre and Guggenheim labels in Abu Dhabi; the creation of a classical concert series and festival, also in Abu Dhabi; and a wide range of building projects by Western architects.

The orchestra is lavishly financed by the Qatar Foundation, which is led by Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser al-Missned, wife of the emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.

Mr. Khalife said his goal was to fuse Oriental and Western traditions. “Music has no nationality, no homeland, like beauty has no homeland,” he said in an interview. Why, he asked, should Arab audiences not appreciate Western music, just as Westerners embrace Arab music at festivals like Arabesques?

Indeed, Western classical music has sunk sparse but firm roots across the Arab world, from a youth orchestra in Algeria to the venerable Cairo Opera House to the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra to the Beirut National Conservatory. Most of those institutions are homegrown, staffed with local musicians and teachers. International attention is sparse compared with what the Vienna Philharmonic, say, or the Juilliard School receives.

Yet these institutions serve as training grounds for Oriental music-making, and for an increasing trickle of singers and instrumentalists making their way in Western music centers.

The Qatari group, however, is composed mostly of Europeans, products of solid European conservatories and provincial but established orchestras. The members come from 31 countries, with most of them, 21, from Germany. Thirteen come from Hungary. One-third are women. The concertmaster is Anton Teslia, a Russian who spent a year in the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra in Germany.

A dozen come from Arab countries. They include Maria Arnaout, the onetime concertmaster of the Syrian National Orchestra, who studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London and the Manhattan School of Music; Islam el-Hefnawy, an Egyptian violinist who is an 11-year-veteran of the Cairo Opera Orchestra; and Georges Yammine, a Lebanese violinist who is a product of the Weimar conservatory in Germany.

The orchestra was put together by Kurt Meister, a former bassoonist and veteran orchestra administrator who worked with Mr. Maazel when Mr. Maazel conducted the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich. Mr. Meister set up auditions in nine European cities and Cairo in late 2007, using principal players of several major orchestras as jurors.

He said he was under no pressure to hire Arabs. “Choose the best musicians,” he said he had been told. He said he had also received assurances that Israeli musicians and soloists would not be barred, although none have yet performed with the orchestra.

From the start, he said, the idea was to give the orchestra a German-Austrian sound. The budget is about $14 million, and Mr. Meister runs the orchestra with a small staff of a half dozen.

The orchestra made its debut in Qatar on Oct. 30 and began performing in earnest in January.

The musicians, mostly in their late 20s and early 30s, live full time in Qatar and rehearse intensively for concerts every week or two. For many of them the Qatar Philharmonic was a chance at a good job in a fiercely competitive field, an opportunity to gain orchestral experience and savor a bit of adventure.

But the orchestra’s birth has not been easy.

Some of the musicians said the Qatar Philharmonic’s main need was a firm-handed permanent conductor to shape and guide the orchestra. Mr. Maazel agreed.

“They’re going to get one eventually,” he said in an interview after the performance. “I’ll keep a fatherly eye on them.”

The conductors so far have mostly been a rotating cast of lesser-known figures. But Mr. Maazel said he planned to lead the orchestra in performances in Italy this spring. He called the musicians “marvelously motivated” and well prepared.

According to the tales of the players, living and playing music in Doha means having to stock up on clarinet reeds or take instruments for maintenance during trips to Europe. It means adjusting bow-hair tension to the extreme heat of the desert. It means making the foundation understand why sheet music has to be ordered every week, because the programs change.

“This classical music stuff is unusual for Doha and Arab countries,” said Ruriko Yamamoto, 27, who is Japanese and studied in Vienna. “We are a German-based orchestra. This connection is not so fluent.”

Other problems persist. The promised housing still has not come through, so the players have been staying in hotels since late August. The opening of a hall at a planned cultural center has been delayed for a year, Mr. Meister said, so for now the orchestra is performing in a meeting room at the Ladies Club building that seats about 600. The orchestra has no Web site. Most of the audience continues to be Westerners, several musicians said.

“I thought really long about whether to take it or not,” Ines Wein, 31, a violist from Munich, said of the job. She misses a wider pool of musicians to play chamber music with, she added, and the opportunity to perform early music.

Fears by women members that their freedom would be limited in an Arab society have not been borne out, several said.

The job has its benefits. The musicians say it is satisfying playing with such high-level colleagues. The pay is excellent: a minimum of about $4,000 a month.

“It’s a very great offer, a good package,” said Daniel Edelhoff, 31, the principal trumpeter, who had been principal in the Krefeld Opera orchestra in Germany.

The musicians have settled into the life of the expatriate community in the emirates, where diversions are limited.

“You can shop,” said Thomas Gnausch, 31, a clarinetist who left a job with the opera orchestra of Eisenach, Germany. “And you have the desert.” Many of the players have taken on private students, a side benefit for Qatar’s cultural scene.

The orchestra’s growing pains were on display at the concert on Tuesday. Mr. Khalife’s “Arabian Concerto,” a 30-minute work composed for five Oriental- instrument soloists and orchestra, dominated the first half. After intermission came a competently executed Beethoven Fifth Symphony. The program listed a vocal work by Mr. Khalife as the final piece. But Mr. Maazel tore into an encore and the lights went up without an appearance by Mr. Khalife.

Audience members scratched their heads, and Kennedy Center officials were furious. Mr. Khalife later said that the sheet music had been left behind.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: March 4, 2009
An article on Saturday about the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, which made its American debut last month at the Kennedy Center in Washington and was conducted by Lorin Maazel, misidentified a group Mr. Maazel led in Germany, where he worked with Kurt Meister, who put together the Qatar orchestra. It was the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, not the Bavarian State Opera.

Qatar Philharmonic set to make history Oct 30, 2008 / By Gulf Times
THE Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra will give its inaugural performance tonight, with officials involved with the event claiming that it will represent an East-West bridge as well as a significant cultural achievement in the Arab world’s history.
(…) The orchestra’s managing director, Kurt Meister, explained how the project had developed (…) He noted that the 101 chosen musicians were selected from around 3,000 initial applicants, with 33 women members in the group. He added that the orchestra also represented 31 different nationalities. (…) Khalifé said, “Music crosses border and is a universal language. Maybe music can help change the world and build bridges between the East and West. It was difficult to achieve the Arabic sound with a symphony orchestra, but I was not limited to any form, and the ‘Arabian Concerto’ is based on the history of Arabic music,” he explained.
Member of the board of governors of Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra and Qatar Music Academy, Abdel Halim Caracalla, said: “History records leaders with great vision, and Qatar is carrying the torch of humanity in this part of the world, with HH Sheikha Mozah’s efforts to promote culture here.”
He referred to the Arabian Concerto as “an invitation to love and peace”, and expressed his pride that the orchestra will perform its first concert this evening. Meister was keen to point out that following this performance, the orchestra has a programme intended to improve enthusiasm for classical music among the Qatari youth. “We will be performing for schoolchildren and families, and we will have a variety of programmes to keep the orchestra interesting and get children involved,” he claimed.

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