ESNCM Orchestra concert
The ESNCM Orchestra performed its spring concert on Saturday, 16th February at Naseeb Shaheen Auditorium / Birzeit University. The Orchestra, which is made up of advanced ESNCM students and teachers, was conducted by Pierre-Antoine Marçais from the Geneva Conservatoire, as part of an ongoing long-term cooperation between the two institutions. Geneva Conservatoire also contributed four guest musicians to the orchestra, which held intensive rehearsals in the days leading up to the concert.
The program included concertos played by the four winners of the Concerto Competition: Maya Atari (violin), Ram Rabi (violin), Marc Kawwas (violin), and Zaina Salhi (flute). Also in the program were the world premiere of “Ahlan wa Sahlan” for brass ensemble, composed by ESNCM Academic Director Jay Crossland; Edward Elgar’s Serenade for Strings; the tone-poem (a story told in music) “Night on Bald Mountain” by Modest Mussorksky; and another world premiere performance, this time of a composition by ESNCM Ramallah branch qanoun student Issa Hamdan. “Sitti” (“My Grandmother”) was composed by Issa during a composition project with leaders from the New York Philharmonic Young Composers program. This is a program which trains performers and teachers to work with young musicians, helping them to articulate and notate their ideas and structure them into pieces, and is another example of valuable cooperation between the ESNCM and prominent music institutions around the world. Written originally for Arabic music ensemble, Issa’s piece takes inspiration from the feeling of home inside his grandmother’s house, relaxing and playing. Conservatory teachers worked with Issa to help him arrange it for the ESNCM Orchestra.
The evening concert was preceded in the afternoon by an educational concert for children from various schools in Ramallah and Birzeit.