Posted on June 09, 2012

The Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (QPO) took centre stage last week in a sensational performance that served as a strong reminder of the pivotal role undertaken by Qatar to build bridges between cultures of the world.

QPO performed for the first time in New York, as part of a special cultural event to show solidarity for the empowerment of women worldwide. His Excellency Mr Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser (pictured), President of the United Nations General Assembly, hosted the event in the General Assembly Hall on Wednesday.

“The Qatar Philharmonic is the leading professional ensemble in the Middle East. Much like the United Nations itself, the Orchestra serves as a bridge between cultures of the world,” said H.E. Mr Al-Nasser.

The QPO, a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), comprises 101 musicians from 30 different nations. The ensemble regularly delivers outstanding performances by embracing both Western and Arabic music. Established in 2008, the young and dynamic orchestra serves as a cross-cultural bridge that unites people of all nations while enhancing culture within Qatar and the region.

Along with the State of Qatar, QF co-sponsored this special evening. The Foundation recognises the profound impact of culture on the development of society, and has made a remarkable effort to foster artistic and creative growth.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon gave a warm welcome to the QPO and highlighted the commonalities shared between cultures. “I thank the government of Qatar and Qatar Foundation for their generosity,” said Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. “And I wish a warm welcome to the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, the perfect example of unity in diversity by combining eastern and western traditions, reminding us all of our commonality.”

Qatar’s leadership is also eager to preserve various aspects of the country’s culture and heritage for future generations. Other cultural avenues have been cultivated with the establishment of Mathaf, the Arab Museum of Modern Art, in 2010. The museum holds more than six thousand paintings, sculptures and works on paper, dating from 1840 to the present day.

The Qatar Foundation Central Library (QFCL), which is expected to open to the public in 2013, will offer a rich collection of print and digital resources to residents. QFCL will also host the Heritage Library which will contain 85,000 titles. This prized collection consists of books, manuscripts, maps and scientific instruments, with many dating back to the fifteenth century.

Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, 27.05.2009, Teatro alla Scala di Milano, Milano/Italy

Haya bint Khalifa Al Nassr, QF Director of Communication, expressed her pleasure at being invited to join this remarkable event. She highlighted the significant role that Qatar Foundation has taken to support women and to promote culture .

“Qatar Foundation shares the United Nation’s conviction and efforts to build bridges of communication, collaboration and understanding among nations, as that is the key to addressing the major challenges of our time,” said Ms Al Nassr. “In the past 17 years, QF has successfully brought together a multicultural community that is happy to engage and learn from one another. Our world-class educational institutions have attracted students from over 90 countries, among them many women, who are thriving both educationally and professionally today. QF also supports flagship research to address major issues, and embarks on projects to preserve and enhance cultural life in Qatar and the region.”

Ms Al Nassr underlined QF’s belief in using culture to connect with people of all nations, especially through music. “While developing a progressive society, we are also preserving our culture and heritage. The Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra was established in 2008 and has been performing both Western and Arabic music to bring together different traditions by creating one harmony. Music is a common language between all people and civilisations. It has always brought people closer and helped them overcome the hardest times.”

The evening function served a dual purpose - to promote the role of UN Women  (the entity tasked with increasing gender equality and women’s empowerment), as well as boosting support for its UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women.

The trust fund, which is managed by UN Women, hopes to achieve the organisation’s overall mission by providing grants to local initiatives around the world so as to tackle and eliminate increasing violence against women and girls. This year, the fund is focusing its efforts on aiding women in conflict, post-conflict and transitional settings.

The event was also a celebration of the sixty-sixth session of the General Assembly under the presidency of H.E. Mr Al-Nasser, a Qatari national who has witnessed critical and historic events in the Middle East and North Africa during his tenure.