The Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture’s first public event marked a fitting start to the cultural year with the musical collaboration between the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (QPO) and the US Air Forces Central Band (AFCENT Band) symbolising harmony and friendship that exist between the two countries.
The show took off with the AFCENT Band’s rendition of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” recorded by the late prolific American singer-songwriter John Denver. An international staple, the iconic American classic aroused a feeling of nostalgia among those present at the show with the song’s universal theme of home.
Led by recently appointed QPO concertmaster Joo Young Oh, the orchestra played Qatari and American pieces starting off with “Fanfare for the Common Man” composed by Aaron Copland. According to Copland, the title came from a speech by vice-president Henry A. Wallace who had stated that the post-war century “can and must be the century of the common man.”
The orchestra played famous American songs from the stage to the screen including “Porgy and Bess Suite” from an English-language opera by George Gershwin, “Tonight” by Leonard Bernstein from the musical “West Side Story” and “My Heart Will Go On” James Horner from the blockbuster film “Titanic” among others.
“Spirit of Thunder” by Dana Al Fardan and “Al – Haneen” by Nasser Sahim Nasseb were among the Qatari compositions performed by the Orchestra during the hour-long concert.
The well-applauded show saw the QPO give the audience a treat with an encore where they performed the popular “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” theme composed by John Williams.
The concert was the first public event in Qatar of the year-long celebration expected to be filled with specially curated exhibitions, festivals, bilateral exchanges, and events to be held in Qatar and the US.
The Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture is aimed at enhancing cultural and artistic exchange and exemplifies the renewed commitment of the two nations to foster mutual understanding and promote intercultural dialogue.
The Year of Culture programme was launched nine years ago with Qatar-Japan 2012 followed by Qatar-UK 2013, Qatar-Brazil 2014, Qatar-Turkey 2015, Qatar-China 2016, Qatar-Germany 2017, Qatar-Russia 2018, Qatar-India 2019, and Qatar-France 2020.
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