In the presence of HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums, the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture was officially inaugurated at the Katara Cultural Village Opera House on Friday, 15 January, with a special concert featuring the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra and the US Air Forces Central Band (AFCENT Band). The event was hosted by Qatar Museums and the United States Embassy.
The Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture is intended to enhance cultural and artistic exchange and reaffirm the renewed commitment of the two nations to foster mutual understanding and promote intercultural dialogue.
The launch follows the signing of a cooperative agreement between the State of Qatar and the United States of America on 14 September 2020 during the 2020 Qatar-United States Strategic Dialogue in Washington, DC.
The Years of Culture programme was first launched in 2012 with Qatar-Japan 2012, followed by Qatar-UK 2013, Qatar-Brazil 2014, Qatar-Turkey 2015, Qatar-China 2016, Qatar-Germany 2017, Qatar-Russia 2018, Qatar-India 2019, and Qatar-France 2020.
According to HE Sheikha Mayassa they expect this Year of Culture to ‘deepen the understanding between the people of our two nations, expressing our shared humanity and strengthening the already substantial ties between Qatar and the United States’.
The concert was led by Joo Young Oh, the recently appointed Concert Master of Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra. Joo Young Oh performs internationally as a violin soloist and a member of the New York Philharmonic.
The programme, which began with the national anthems of both countries, featured a variety of Qatari and American compositions, including Rising and Spirit of Thunder (Dana Al Fardan), Take Me Home, Country Road (John Denver), Fanfare for the Common Man (Aaron Copland), Lullaby and Porgy and Bess Suite (George Gershwin), My Heart Will Go On from the film, Titanic (James Horner), Al-Haneen (Nasser Sahim Nasseb), Adagio for Strings (Samuel Barber), and Tonight from the musical, West Side Story (Leonard Bernstein).
For updates and more information about the Years of Culture programme, visit qm.org.qa.