Posted on April 03, 2020

If you hear the strains of Beethoven wafting across the night air in Doha this weekend, it will be because of Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra – and its latest musical move to bring people together amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

At 8pm on Friday, April 3, the 96 musicians who comprise the orchestra – a Qatar Foundation member – will step onto the balconies of their homes and simultaneously perform their parts from Ode to Joy, best known for its use by the legendary German composer in his Ninth Symphony and as the anthem of the European Union. And Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra is inviting people not just to listen if they hear its musicians performing nearby, but to join in from their homes – by picking up their own instruments and playing, or even just humming along. “It’s intended to send a message to people at a time when we are self-isolating in our homes, waiting for the situation to improve,” said Kurt Meister, Executive Director of Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra. “And the message is that we are still all together.

QF’s Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra 2 [].jpg

“We are looking to spread positivity through music and foster a sense of community and togetherness, and we hope that people who have musical instruments – whether it’s a guitar, a violin, or a flute – will also walk onto their balconies and join in by playing this well-known piece. “It is an experiment for us, with our orchestra members performing individually, so we will see how it works. But it is something we wanted to try, both to lift people’s spirits and to also give everyone who loves music an opportunity to be part of it, or just to listen.” Joining in the rendition of Ode to Joy will be students and teachers from Qatar Music Academy, part of Qatar Foundation’s Pre-University Education.

Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra’s Friday night balcony performance follows the recent ‘virtual’ concert by its musicians, portrayed in a video which showed them performing the second movement from Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No.9 (From The New World) and which emphasized the importance of people following health guidance and staying at home during the coronavirus crisis.