A 30-strong group of Doha College students participated in the Qatar National Music Competition, which took place in Katara recently. More than half of them received awards and special jury prizes. This number does not include the 50 members of the Doha College Fortes Choir, who also won First Prize in their category.

One of the most awarded young musician was Prama Yudhistira, a Year 10 student at Doha College, who received no less than five awards: First Prize in the Piano – 18 and under category, Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra prize, Best Chopin performance award, Indonesian Ambassador’s Award and the Swiss Ambassador’s Award.

Prama said that music is a great part of his life. 

One thing that stood out to me most when I was little was a piece I heard, called Piano Concerto No 1 by Tchaikovsky, and I thought it was wonderful. I listened to the piece over and over again and never got bored, so I decided to start practising piano with the goal of playing that piece. The thing I enjoy most about music is the fact that it is a good way to express yourself while enjoying it at the same time.’

Prama Yudhistira during his performance
Prama Yudhistira during his performance at the QNMC

The competition, which saw children and adults competing in 17 categories over an entire week, was founded by Moving Young Artists (MYA) to promote the transformative powers of music, the value of creativity through playing music and an appreciation of cultural diversity. The categories were diverse, including a mix of Arabic and Western genres and instruments, and the winning performances were of exceptionally high standards.

Doha College’s youngest competitor was Jason Phipps has not yet turned six at the time of the QNMC. He was awarded First Prize in Solo Strings, 11 and under category. He started violin lessons in Doha College at age 3, and now studies with Musiqaa’s Angela Leite. His little sister Hannah, now in Pre-School, has also started lessons at Musiqaa and has big brother Jason to serve as an inspiration.

Sonja Park, founder of QNMC, said that establishing the competition has alway been one of her goals since arriving in Qatar.

To find new talents, to support, to encourage and to give them platforms to grow, to learn and to shine! It was overwhelming in a positive way to see so many talents in Qatar, and I am positive it will only grow more and more!’

The Doha College students who took part in QNMC are also trained at other academies and music schools (International Centre for Music, Qatar Music Academy, DC-based Musiqaa, to name a few), in addition to the music curriculum taught in school. For them to have walked away with such a collection of accolades is a testimony to the quality of their external tuition as well as the musical environment fostered at Doha College. The school encourages music education through its formal music tuition curriculum, its Enhanced Curriculum activities such as choirs and orchestras, its partnership with the Musiqaa Academy, its ‘Qatar Primary School Choir of the Year’ competition, and the involvement of students, staff and parents in a multitude of musical pursuits like community orchestras, choirs and ensembles.

A number of selected winners, including Prama, will perform at the Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani Museum Amphitheatre this Friday, 6 pm.

For more information about Doha College, visit their website at dohacollege.com.