Two distinct cultures shared one stage in a grand musical celebration serving as an ideal way to mark the beginning of the Qatar-France 2020 Year of Culture set to be an exciting 12 months filled with festivals, art exhibitions and performances.

Featuring French and Qatari compositions, the concert was presented by Qatar Museums on Friday at the Opera House of Katara Cultural Village- a distinguished cultural hub.

Under the baton of renowned French conductor Marc Piollet, the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (QPO) performed with young award-winning French pianist Lise de la Salle to the delight of a capacity audience which included H E Dr. Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kawari, Minister of State, H E Franck Gellet, Ambassador of France to Qatar, Ahmad Al Namla, CEO of Qatar Museums and other VIPs.

The concert opened with QPO’s performance of Doha Secrets Symphony by Qatari composer Haamed Hussein Naama who was present at the event. The Doha Secrets Symphony symbolises H H Father Amir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani’s vision for the State of Qatar from its birth to its present place in the world.

With Lise de la Salle on the piano, QPO played Camille Saint-Saëns’ Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 22 – known as one of his most popular piano concertos –  and Hector Berlioz’ Symphony Fantastique, Op. 14 – an iconic programme symphony which tells the story of an artist’s love for a beautiful woman.

In his speech before the concert, the State Minister underlined the big impact the Year of Culture initiative among partner countries while highlighting the strong relationship between Qatar and France.

“Since the programme was established in 2012, it was clear to us, that the French Republic – with its distinctive cultural position on the world’s map and the heritage of its civilization – would be an ideal partner nation. As we officially launch this edition, we are confident that it will be both successful and distinctive,” he said.

Qatar–France 2020 Year of Culture begins

H E Dr. Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kawari, Minister of State, speaks before the concert celebrating the opening of Qatar-France 2020 Year of Culture at Katara Opera House on Friday. (source: Peninsula Qatar)


Gellet shared the same view saying, “2020 is an exceptional opportunity to celebrate the strength, depth and dynamism of the relationship of friendship and partnership that unite our two countries through culture and art which are the common language amongst communities and societies of the world.  “For Qataris, it will be an opportunity to better understand our dynamism of creativity and our cultural institutions, and, for the French, to explore Qatar’s culture, history and ambitions.”

With regard to the events and activities for the Year, Gellet said focus will be on visual art, cinema, music, and culinary art as well as scientific, academic and university cooperation.

Aisha Ghanem Al Attiya, Head of Year of Culture at QM, expressed excitement over the launch of the ninth edition of the programme.

“Qatar-France 2020 will include a series of exhibitions, festivals and events which will be held in both nations over the next twelve months. We hope that the initiative will help to strengthen the already well-established ties which Qatar and France share, and create platforms where ideas, thoughts and appreciation can be exchanged in a spirit of openness and collaboration.”

Among the rich lineup of events are exhibitions of works of Pablo Picasso at Fire Station Garage Gallery, Yto Barrada at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, and artists from Qatar and the region at the Palais de Tokyo; screenings of works from the Doha Film Institute at the Cannes International Film Festival; and presentation of Qatar Culture Week at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris.


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