The opening of the Jeddah Park Carnival marks the start of the activity season

‘Voices of Peace’ concert dazzles Riyadh with magical rendition of classics

RIYADH: The Orchester philharmonique international de Paris, in collaboration with the Saudi National Orchestra, dazzled Riyadh on Wednesday with a magical concert entitled “Voices of Peace”.

The orchestra’s 26 European musicians were led by the ensemble’s founder, Amine Kouider, who is a UNESCO Artist for Peace. The concert was organized by the Saudi Music Commission at the Cultural Palace and took place to celebrate Europe Day, as part of the European Cultural Month festivities. It was intended to be “a unifying event, promoting the values ​​of peace, fraternity and friendship”.

“It was a beautiful evening and we are really lucky to have had the opportunity to see a concert like this. It was a multicultural mix of Arabs and Europeans,” said Soukri Lhesan, a Canadian resident of Riyadh.

“It was so nice to see different countries working together in a musical symphony, and I love how the performance was called ‘Voices for Peace,'” said Susene Sasing, a Riyadh resident from the Philippines. .

“Today we celebrate this day with great joy. We share this with our friends and fellow Saudi musicians who were kind enough to welcome us nobly and with such warmth,” said Kouider, of Algerian descent, to Arab News “They played our music with us and of course we played their music with them. We were very happy that there was this artistic and musical fusion.

“Voices of Peace” brought together 20 musicians from the Saudi National Orchestra, 30 singers from the National Choir of Saudi Arabia and members of the International Philharmonic Orchestra to perform together, the first time the Saudi orchestra and choir perform on stage with classical musicians.

The concert included music by Bizet, Offenbach, Mozart and Verdi and surprised the audience with a Saudi version of Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’, the EU anthem, sung in French, Arabic and German .

“I really liked ‘Ode to Joy’, it’s a classic song that we all grew up with and I really liked the Arabic version and then the European classic version that we know,” said Katherine Murphy, a US resident. from Riyadh. “It was just cool to see everyone having fun together and bonding through the music.”

This celebration coincided with the French Presidency of the EU, which runs until June 2022, adding special significance to the event.

“I loved the blending and intertwining of all different nationalities coming together to create beautiful music together. In addition to world peace, we can have world music peace,” said Anna Smith, who came from the United States.

On the occasion of Europe Day, the French Embassy and the Alliance Française in Saudi Arabia, in partnership with Ardian and Egis, have also invited the Orchester Philharmonique International de Paris to perform on Thursday in the Amphitheater of Batterjee Medical College in Jeddah.

In attendance were Ludovic Pouille, French Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Laurent Germain, CEO of the Egis group, and François-Aïssa Touazi, CEO of the Ardian group.

Sara H. Byrd