Sasol, the global integrated energy and chemical company, will host the British Paraorchestra for its first ever performance in Qatar during a joint concert with the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra called, ‘Souls in Harmony’ on Friday 4 April 2014 at 7:30 pm at Katara Opera House.

Held under the patronage of Muneera bint Nasser Al Misnad, Chairperson of the board, Qatar Foundation for Social Work, the concert is part of Sasol’s ongoing ‘Definitely Able’ corporate social responsibility initiative. Launched in 2012, ‘Definitely Able’ is the signature CSR campaign of Sasol in Qatar. The initiative aims to highlight the positive contribution and possibilities for people living with disabilities in Qatar, and focuses on what one can accomplish regardless of his disabilities. Since its inception, the ‘Definitely Able’ initiative has been raising awareness, promoting public engagement and social acceptance of people with special needs.

President of Sasol Qatar, Marjo Louw, said:

Sasol is excited to bring the 20 talented members of the British Paraorchestra to Qatar for the first time. This unique ensemble highlights the spirit of our ‘Definitely Able’ initiative by demonstrating the strength of people with disabilities and the excellence they can achieve. The visionary leadership of Qatar prioritised the well being of all members of society in the Qatar National Vision 2030. We hope that our efforts will help contribute towards the fulfillment of that goal by raising awareness and inspiring those with disabilities to achieve their dreams.’

Performing for the first time outside of the UK, the British Paraorchestra is the world’s first professional ensemble of disabled musicians. Founded by British conductor Charles Hazlewood in January 2012, the Paraorchestra became known internationally after its acclaimed performance at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Paralympic Games in London with Coldplay.

Founder and conductor of the British Paraorchestra, Charles Hazelwood, said:

Whilst the idea is very good there’s, I’m afraid, a lack of trust at the back of people’s minds and I found this very much when I was trying to get a move back in the 2012. People would say to me what a lovely idea but they’re thinking ‘disabled people and music, will that be any good?’ Make not mistake, the British Orchestra is here for one purpose alone primarily and that’s to make world class music and the point of music-making, and disability becomes irrelevant. The British Paraorchestra and I are much looking forward to our Qatar residency. It is an amazing opportunity to make new friends for the Orchestra and its mission, which is to establish a new open-mindedness where virtuoso musicians with disability are no longer overlooked but are welcomed into the mainstream. We are particularly thrilled to be partnering with Sasol and Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, a beautiful opportunity for one set of brilliant musicians to join hands with another!’

The British Paraorchestra will also be performing at Souq Waqif on Thursday 3 April 2014. Both concerts are open to the public with free entry. However, limited complimentary seats for the concert are available.

Executive Director of Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (QPO), Kurt Meiser, said:

When I was asked to perform together with the British Paraorchestra, to be honest, I didn’t know their orchestra. Immediately, I checked their website to get an idea and I was really surprised about their high artistic level and the quality of the orchestra. I was, for many years, part of a famous orchestra and I know what it means to get to such a high quality and level. Our orchestra this week has a very strong schedule, we have six performances from the 1st to the 7th, but it was a must for us to perform with the British Paraorchestra. I think it’s going to be something very special.

After a whirlwind year during which the unique group of musicians performed at Buckingham Palace, at festivals across the UK, and with Coldplay, the British Paraorchestra was recognised by the Prime Minister of the UK with a Big Society Award in 2013. The awards were set up by the Prime Minister in 2010 to acknowledge members of the community who inspire others or engage in social action projects to improve society as a whole. The Paraorchestra’s musicians come from a variety of backgrounds and bring a range of musical styles and influences to the ensemble: from drum and bass to Baroque recorder; from lute to Indian sitar and tabla; percussion to clarinet; laptops, iPads and specially designed software to viola.

Supported by The Grand Hyatt Hotel, QMDI and the British Embassy of Doha, the ‘Souls in Harmony’ concert aims to expand on the success of ‘Definitely Able’, emphasising the importance of offering equal opportunities to all citizens in society, irrespective of their physical shortcomings. Sasol is committed to creating and promoting a positive attitude without bias among all in the community. Initiatives such as the British Paraorchestra visit provide opportunities to engage the community in activities and interactions with people who are excelling despite their various disabilities.

The patron organisation of the ‘Souls in Harmony’ concert, Qatar Foundation for Social Work, was set-up as a supervisory body for civil society organisations in the country. The foundation was set-up as a result of decision by HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser.

For more information or ticket reservations, email [email protected].