Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Classical music's popular and attractive new market

'A sort of art revolution seems to have been going on [in the Gulf States] in the last ten years. In 2005 the Abu Dhabi government opened the Emirates Palace concert hall in a 7-star hotel, then four years ago the Qatar Philharmonic gave its first concert in Doha (under the baton of Lorin Maazel, no less). Last week Bahrain opened its new 1001-seater National Amphitheatre; Dubai is also building an opera house and last year the spectacular Royal Opera House, Muscat opened its doors in the Omani capital. [See photo above]. This is where the BBC Symphony Orchestra caravan rolled up last week, thanks to an invitation from the Royal Opera House... With the growth of music education, orchestras and opera houses in this region together with fabulous hospitality, the Gulf Arab states could well become a popular and attractive part of our touring itinerary' - BBC Radio 3 blog post November 2012 by Phil Hall of BBC Symphony Orchestra

'The decision to bar homosexuals from entering Kuwait [and other Gulf States] is a sovereign decision. Amnesty International should take care of lofty and noble goals for which it was established, leave aside homosexuality and deviations and stop defending delinquents. The organisation should heed the annual rates of births outside the institution of marriage in Europe and abortions as well as the high rates of underage mothers and other moral crimes forbidden by all divine religions' - Kuwaiti MP Abdul Rahman Al Jiran quoted in Gulf News Oct 14, 2013

'An affront to human dignity is an affront to me; and to protest against injustice is a matter of conscience. Are human rights of less importance to an artist than to other men? Does being an artist exempt him from his obligations as a man? If anything, the artist has an even greater responsibility, because he has been granted special sensitivities and perceptions and because his voice may be heard when others may not. Who, indeed, should be more concerned than the artist about the defence of liberty and free inquiry? Such fundamentals are essential to his creativity' - Pablo Casals who died on Oct 22, 1973

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