First concert of the Vienna Philharmonic in Doha

DohaUpon invitation from the State of Qatar as well as the Emir of Qatar, H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, his wife H.H. Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned and the Qatar Foundation, the world famous Vienna Philharmonic graced a concert stage in Doha for the first in history under Mo. Lorin Maazel on 14 February. As one of the apogees in Doha´s year as Arab Cultural Capital 2010, it attracted great interest in the run-up of the event: newspapers and TV stations extensively announced the event, the concert being sold-out as a result within only a few days.

The open-air concert took place at the beautifully illuminated Ceremonial Court at Doha’s Education City. The program included Ludwig van Beethoven´s Symphony No.6 in F major op. 68, (Pastorale), Debussy´s La Mer as well as Maurice Ravel´s Suite No. 2 from the ballet music Daphnis et Chloé. The exclusiveness of the concert was underscored by the presence of the Emir of Qatar, H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and his wife H.H. Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned. The enthused audience received the musicians and Mo. Maazel with standing ovations and was treated to an encore with J. Brahms´ Hungarian Dance No. 1.

The concert was live-broadcast on QTV; a TV-team from the Austrian broadcasting company ORF also attended, fashioning a report for the show Kulturmontag. Local Arab and English language dailies showered the orchestra and its conductor with praise the day after. The event can be regarded as a highlight in the diplomatic relations between the Emirate of Qatar and Austria intensified during the last year.

This concert was the beginning of a cooperation in the Middle East which will be followed by further collaborations and projects.