BRI­TISH PARAORCHESTRA AND QATAR PHIL­HAR­MONIC PER­FORM AT KATARA

Qatar Today - - AFFAIRS > DOHA DIARY - BY ABIGAIL MATHIAS

It was a spe­cial con­cert in more ways than one. The artists came to­gether from dif­fer­ent cor­ners of the globe, for one night only, and their very di­ver­sity proved to bring them strength.

The Bri­tish Paraorchestra were per­form­ing with the Qatar Phil­har­monic for the very first time at Katara's Opera House. The for­mer are the world's first pro­fes­sional en­sem­ble of dif­fer­ently abled mu­si­cians.

Two years ago, their award-win­ning con­duc­tor Charles Ha­zle­wood found him­self deal­ing with a per­sonal chal­lenge. His youngest daugh­ter, Emily, was di­ag­nosed with cel­e­bral palsy. “She was the per­son who started to un­lock my mind over the is­sue of how lim­ited the op­por­tu­ni­ties were for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties,” he ex­plains. Over the course of the past few years Ha­zle­wood has de­voted his mu­si­cal tal­ent to putting to­gether a unique orchestra, which he hopes will slowly change the way we per­ceive the dif­fer­ently-abled.

After just two years the Paraorchestra per­formed with in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed band Cold­play at the clos­ing cer­e­mony of the 2012 Par­a­lympic Games in Lon­don. For the event in Qatar, a spe­cial piece of high baroque, en­ti­tled The Mad­ness by Ar­can­gelo Corelli, was jux­ta­posed with newer sounds. It of­fered a range of mu­si­cal el­e­ments from a tabla to the mouth or­gan.

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