Youth German Symphony Orchestra Performs Concert in Damascus

Published April 4th, 2002 - 02:00 GMT

The Brandenburg State Youth Symphony Orchestra conducted by Herr Sebastian Weigle, performed a concert at the Ommayad Conference Palace in Damascus. 

The concert organized by the High Institute of Music (HIM) and the Goethe Institute in Syria, was held under the patronage of Najwa Qassab Hassan, the Syrian minister of culture, according to the daily Syria Times. 

Herr Weigle is a young distinguished German conductor, who worked with the world famed Daniel Barenboim, and conducted the New Berlin Chamber Orchestra. He was the first Music Director at the Linden opera. He also conducts regularly at the Vienna Volksoper, at Mannheim National Theatre, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, in Barcelona, Sydney, Hamburg, Tokyo, among other places.  

Since 1993, Weigle has been also the director and conductor of this orchestra. The amateur orchestra was founded in 1992 and forms, since then, one of the most important pillars of Brandenburg's musical life. Its members' ages range between 13 and 25 years. They are all amateur musicians coming from Brandenburg music schools. Wherever they go and play, they take the hearts of their audience by storm.  

Damascus was no exception. The first work in this concert was Carl Maria von Weber's Overture to his opera "Der Freischuetz". Weber was the first German composer who succeeded in overcoming the Italian domination on the Austro-German opera. He was, also, the earliest ever to develop the concept of music drama, the leading theme and the romantic style.  

The idea of the opera is about Goodness and Evil and the victory of the former over the latter. The guest orchestra gave a thrilling and ecstatic performance of Weber's overture. The full hall responded with high and enthusiastic applause.  

The 2nd work was Beethoven's Piano concerto No. 3 in C minor. The young Syrian HIM student, Waseem Kotoub, played the solo piano part. In this lovely work, the personality of Beethoven shows its first mature stigmata. The piano part isn't that of a virtuoso whose sole aim is to bewilder the audience, but is an integrated and a well-balanced part of a bipolar masterwork. It reveals Beethoven the poet and the deeply absorbed master in the realms of noble sentiments. This work reminds the listener of the "Eroica". Both orchestra and pianist gave a highly enjoyable and refreshing performance of Beethoven. There was high ovation from the completely full hall.  

After the intermission, the orchestra resumed its stimulating and fascinating music making. They played A. Dvorak's Symphony No. 8 in G major. Dvorak composed nine symphonies, of which the last is the most popular. But this is an elegant and free work with an improvisational character. The slow Adagio was beautiful. The whole work was highly enjoyable.  

The last work in this concert was Solhi al Wadi's "Variations on a theme of Abdul Wahab". This is a fascinating work by an Arab composer who attempts to find out a contemporary musical language for a modern Arab to express himself in an internationally understandable and appreciable way. The work was received with high ovation – 

© 2002 Al Bawaba (

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