Qatar UK 2013: Year Of Culture Musical Celebration

Qatar UK 2013: Year Of Culture Musical Celebration

Musical celebration of cultural diversity in hope of bringing Qatar and the UK closer

Its population is under 2m people but it has one of the fastest growing economies in the world with massive oil reserves that will last way long after hosting the World Cup in 2022. But before football puts Qatar firmly in the media spotlight, culture has pride of place in celebration of this Persian Gulf peninsular country and, in particular, the cultural links between Qatar and the UK. As the official story tells it, ‘Qatar UK 2013 is a year of events to celebrate and develop the partnership between Qatar and the United Kingdom. The year aims to increase engagement between the people of both countries in the spirit of innovation, openness and learning.’

As far as Scotland is concerned, this means a concert at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall with the RSNO taking the lead in a ‘musical celebration of cultural diversity’. With premieres of works by Wael Binali (a Qatari composer whose boarding school experience at Gordonstoun left a lasting impression of Scotland) and Edinburgh-based David Heath, it looks like an unusual and intriguing evening is in store.

Heath’s piano concerto, ‘El Hedeiya (The Gift)’, was commissioned by the English Chamber Orchestra and pianist Amira Fouad, soloist and artistic director of the Edinburgh event. ‘I’ve been on an eight-year long mission to promote friendship and understanding between religions by honouring faiths other than my own in my music,’ says Fouad. ‘My piano concerto honours both Arabic and Western traditions whilst my new choral and orchestral work ‘Hope Springs Eternal’, generously commissioned by Qatar UK 2013, honours spirituality and hope.’

More familiar repertoire is Elgar’s ‘Cello Concerto’, with British cellist Guy Johnston, and Handel’s ‘Zadok the Priest’, for which the RSNO is joined by the choir of St Mary’s Cathedral.

Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Fri 14 Jun

Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture: Musical Celebration

Qatar UK 2013 is a celebration of the friendship between the UK and Qatar, the small but oil-rich state on the Arabian peninsula with the highest per-capita carbon dioxide emissions in the world. This musical celebration features works by English and Qatari composers, and also Handel.

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