Though social changes caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic can be burdensome, some people find their ally in change instead of an enemy.
Romanian violinist Lorena Manescu sees a great unifying force in faith and art as both can make people strong and united during these testing times. In a recent interview with Community, Lorena, who is a part of the team of musicians with Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (QPO), shared about her time at home and her experience of Ramadan in Qatar.
Introducing herself, the violinist said: “Besides my passion for music I have always been fascinated by the Islamic culture and the Middle East. That motivated me to join the QPO since it was founded in 2008 and I move to Qatar.”
As far as her time spending at home, Lorena is all praise for QPO leadership for turning the challenge into an opportunity. “After 12 years of exhilarating music experiences our institution and the entire world face unprecedented difficulties. It is obvious that concert halls were among the first to shut down as a measure to contain the virus outbreak. Although the doors of concert halls may be temporary closed, we remain faithful to our audience.
“The leadership of the orchestra wisely transformed the challenges into opportunities through unconventional performances from our balconies and through the newly opened horizons of the digital world.”
The musician herself has not perceived the change as a sort of adversary. “Change can be burdensome but I try to find in it an ally, not an enemy. I continue working from home: practising violin, recording videos and online teaching students from the Qatar Music Academy. Being under lockdown pushed me towards new experiences, widened my possibilities of expression, acquired new hobbies (such as cooking and indoors gardening), offered me the opportunity to spend more time with the beloved ones, read and participate in interesting online seminars.”
Lorena has been enjoying her music while playing from the balcony of her house. She treats these home concerts as homage to the victims of the coronavirus. “I enjoyed very much performing from my balcony. These concerts symbolised my way of showing gratitude to the medical staff and volunteers saving lives and containing Covid-19, homage to the victims of pandemic, wars or poverty all over the world and a prayer for harmony on Earth. My neighbours were thrilled to attend these concerts from their own homes. Some of them witnessed live classical music for the first time. Their appreciation was very rewarding.”
As she has been living in Qatar for a long time, Lorena has been enjoying the atmosphere during the holy month of Ramadan. “Spending Ramadan in Qatar is for me always a captivating experience. It seems that a sort of cosmical magic descends on Earth, fills people’s hearts with empathy and humbleness. I love the call for prayer at twilight, the little lanterns and decorations. What an exquisite blend of sounds, colours and scents! Socialising naturally contributes to the festive atmosphere. I admire how people from the most various backgrounds surrender to the sacred serene energy, trying to better themselves.”
The violinist sees her recent participation in the short video made involving Qatar Foundation school children celebrating Garangao a fascinating experience. “I think right now humanity is numbed. Our reality has changed overnight and vulnerability rules over a world that’s already shattered by cognitive dissonance. Despite that, the highlight of all my Ramadan experiences so far was a recording I participated in about a week ago together with some of QPO musicians and Qatar Foundation students from home. It showcases a traditional Qatari song, featuring Qatari children wearing beautiful and colourful ceremonial clothes accompanied by the philharmonic musicians. As a Qatar Foundation and Qatar Philharmonic initiative, the recording was specially created to celebrate Garangao night, reach out to a vast number of people and invite them to stay at home for the good of everybody.
“Being part of that project reminded me the tremendous unifying power of faith and art. It gave me a profound sense of belonging to the community and strengthened my mission to deliver soulfulness and cultural enrichment.”
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