Posted on October 11, 2017

The brightest of Qatar’s musical talents are set to shine on the international stage this month as more than 700 young participants gear up for a glorious, one-of-its-kind musical spectacle organised by Moving Young Artists (MYA), the Qatar-based non-profit foundation that has been nurturing and inspiring young local talent for more than three years.

Driven by a desire “to inspire a deep love and knowledge of music in the Qatari community”, the Qatar National Music Competition (QNMC), under the patronage of Qatar National Commission for Education, Culture and Science (NatCom), seeks to create a competitive platform that encourages the best in music creativity and performance in Qatar. Chiefly sponsored by Vodafone Qatar and in collaboration with Katara, the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (QPO) and Marsa Malaz Kempinski, the competition will be a significant artistic event on the national and international stage. By showcasing the best of Qatar’s musical talent, the QNMC will likely serve as an inspiration to Qatar’s youth.

As much a celebration of music, culture, education, and unity, as a keenly fought contest, the much-awaited event will be held from October 15 to October 19 at the Katara Drama Theatre, and will culminate in a gala concert and felicitation of the prize winners on October 19 — the concluding day — at the Katara Drama Theatre. Open to anyone with a flair for music and younger than the age of 18, the competition is sub-divided according to the participants’ age — 11 and under, 14 and under, and 18 and under — and instrument of choice —piano, winds, strings, vocal, percussion/harp/guitar, and composition. 

Sonja Park, co-founder, MYA, said, “Ever since we arrived in Doha, Nine years ago, establishing this competition has been one of our foremost goals. This is the very first time that such an event is taking place in Qatar; an entire week where children from around the globe, including young Qataris, will gather under one roof to make music, focus earnestly, play all kinds of instruments, and learn to be a team player whilst playing in ensembles.” In his note on the festival, Mr. Abdullah Al Kubaisi Head of Arabic and Islamic Affairs Qatar National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, said, “We aim to encourage creativity and competition among the youth to discover the best musical talents that can represent Qatar on the global stage. I extend my thanks to Katara and Sonja Park and all the teams who are contributing to this competition.”

The QNMC’s vision is to play its part in propelling Qatar onto the international music festival stage, points out Joris Laenen, co-founder, MYA. “We, at MYA, believe that music participation is an integral element in the fabric of an enduring society. With the QNMC, we are creating a competitive platform to encourage the finest in music creativity and performance, which runs parallel with Qatar’s sport, art, design, architecture, and other goals,” Laenen said. “Since Qatar doesn’t yet have a long history of music education, the QNMC would like to also offer adult Qatari musicians this opportunity to present their talent.”

There are plenty of prizes in the offing at the QNMC. In each category, Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals, and a diploma will be awarded. Every participant will receive a certificate of merit for their performance. The Vodafone Grand Prize, reserved for the standout performance in the entire competition, provided by Vodafone, and a special ‘Qatar’s Best Award’ for best performance by a Qatari artist, provided by the Qatar National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, are among the most coveted. “We are also proud to include in the QNMC a Concerto category, the winner of which will receive the honour to perform as a soloist with Qatar’s own world-class orchestra, the QPO,” Laenen said. Moreover, some selected prize winners will be able to record in Katara Studios, one of the most state-of-the-art studios in the world, while some other lucky ones will get to perform at esteemed stages such as the British Festival, the Sheikh Faisal Museum, and at concerts in Qatar Museums venues.

Stage set for Qatar’s young musical 2 [].jpg

H.E Sheikh Hamad Bin Abdullah Al Thani, Chief Operating Officer, Vodafone Qatar said, “Vodafone around the world has a rich history of supporting music competitions that give talented individuals a platform for creativity so we are proud to sponsor the QNMC. The competition will undoubtedly grow to become one of the most important global music competitions attracting impressive talent locally and from around the world. We are extremely excited for its upcoming launch and look forward to being a part of the discovery of the next generation of unique musicians. The future of music in Qatar is truly exciting.”

The diplomatic missions supporting the QNMC are the embassies of South Korea, Belgium, Sweden, the UK, Austria, India, Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Hungary, France, Russia, Singapore, and initiatives such as the Spanish Business Council, Hungary’s V4 Connects, and Institut Francais Qatar. Featuring both Arabic (sub-divided into singing, instrumental, and Arabic composition, and also according to age) and Western music categories, the QNMC will throw open the stage for both performing musicians and young composers. There will also be a Special Needs category for differently abled children. While as a group, one can compete in the category of Choirs and Ensembles/Takht.

Apart from Park, who serves as the event’s Artistic Director, and Laenen, who serves as the event’s Managing Director and will also helm the Winds and Ensemble category, the jury will comprise Qatar’s music heavyweights such as Kurt Meister, who will adjudge the Concerto category, and Dana Alfardan, who will be the judge of Composition and Song-writing.  The event is also sponsored by ID Katar, Al Maktab Al Qatari Al Hollandi, Katara Studios, Qatar University, Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, Commverse, Ali bin Ali Printing Press and Jumpzone.

MYA, which aspires to develop music education programmes for children, believes that music participation is an integral element in the fabric of an enduring society. It is out of a desire to inspire a deep love and knowledge of music with the Qatari community that MYA has put together this first edition of the QNMC. It is through this far-reaching vision that the QNMC will contribute to the Qatar National Vision 2030 by helping develop Qatar’s human, social, and economic goals, by strengthening collective desire and will, and creating a mindset for excellence among the youth, Park and Laenen feel.

Park said, “This competition is not as much about winning as it is about being on stage, setting goals, and harnessing courage to share your talents with a huge audience. I am hopeful that this will be a spectacular milestone in Qatar’s culture and education scene. Our ultimate aim is to make music extremely accessible throughout all of Qatar, and also to draw the Qatari youth into the fold as they can then enjoy learning music and benefit greatly from such an international platform as the QNMC.” Laenen said, “With each passing year, these trophies will become synonymous with a time-honoured tradition of quality and achievement awarded for exemplary performances in a competition boasting of a world-class reputation.”

Spectators are warmly invited to come and see the competition in action. Audience tickets for the competition classes are free, and are available on a first come, first served basis at door. Timings for the competition schedule can be viewed at www.qnmc.orgTickets for the Gala Concert will be limited to those receiving prizes and performing on the evening.