Les Musicales de Baabdath
Strings of Hope 2023
Les Musicales de Baabdath returns faithfully and tenaciously with its 7th edition of the “Strings of Hope” concert series expressing a sheer determination to perpetuate a culture of life and optimism despite the challenges that permeate every aspect of life in Lebanon.
This year’s edition spans nearly two months, starting October 10 through November 29, 2023, during which the festival presents carefully curated musical performances including baroque music, chamber music, 20th-century music in addition to world music and jazz showcasing internationally acclaimed musicians from Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, France, Brazil, the United States, and of course Lebanon. All concerts are admission free with a free transport by bus from Beirut to Baabdath.
As a special tribute to the spirit of the Lebanese people rising through turbulent times and from the remains of violence and corruption, Les Musicales de Baabdath opens this year’s edition on Tuesday October 10 in Baabdath with the Beirut Chamber Orchestra in appreciation to Lebanese musicians, poets, and composers, and to the spirits that vibrate with a love for music.
Led by French Conductor Jean-Pierre Schmitt who will head to Baabdath all the way from New York, the newly formed Beirut Chamber Orchestra is due to perform the music of Nicolas J. Chaanine, a young Lebanese composer whose compositions are inspired by Nada Skaff’s poems. The acclaimed New York-based saxophonist Javier Oviedo is also joining the performance as a soloist in a handful of masterpieces. Aside from Chaanine, the program is featuring works by Camille Saint-Saëns, Louis Mayeur, and Felix Mendelssohn, namely his String Symphony No. 10.
Always hopeful and forever strung with art and life and a will to re-emerge, Les Musicales is inviting again this year the Austrian pianist Aaron Pilsan for 2 concerts funded by the Embassy of Austria in Lebanon in partnership with the Lebanese National Higher Conservatory of Music. Mr. Pilsan, who dazzled last year’s audiences with his rendition of Johann Sebastian Bach Well-Tempered Clavier – Book I, will perform Book II this year. The concert is scheduled for Wednesday October 18 at St. Elias Church in Kantari – Beirut.
Preceding this first concert, Pilsan will perform in Baabdath on Sunday October 15 a mixed program blending works by Philip Glass, Franz Liszt and both Clara and Robert Schumann. An out-of-the-box refreshing program, very well suited for a Sunday evening recital.
It is worth mentioning that Aaron Pilsan is joining the efforts of Les Musicales de Baabdath to support young Lebanese Musicians by offering masterclasses to four young pianists from the Lebanese National Higher Conservatory of Music. The students are fortunate to have this rare opportunity to train under the tutelage of the accomplished Austrian Pianist.
In a continued collaboration with the Goethe-Institut Libanon, Les Musicales de Baabdath is offering to the Lebanese public a world class chamber music concert performed by the DSO Berlin Piano Quartet whose members are active musicians in the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester. The concert will take place at the New Church of the Baabdath Maronite Parish on Tuesday October 24. German pianist Holger Groschopp, renowned for his unique interpretations of the Bach-Busoni repertoire, will be joined by violinist and violist Clemens and Suzanne Linder and cellist Adele Bitter to perform key works by Mozart, Schubert, and Houtaf Khoury.
In a second performance, with the support of the Goethe-Institut Libanon, and Beirut Digital District (BDD), the DSO Berlin Piano Quartet will perform works by Bach, Messiaen, Mahler, and Schumann at the historical and recently restored St. George Syriac Catholic Church in Bachoura – Beirut Digital District, on Friday October 27.
In addition to presenting two concerts, the DSO Berlin musicians invited for a 10-day stay by the Goethe-Institut Libanon, will coach 14 Lebanese students and young professionals as a part of the third edition of the ‘Strings of Hope Chamber Music Mentorship Program’ in partnership with Les Musicales de Baabdath and the Lebanese National Higher Conservatory of Music. With this educational program, Les Musicales de Baabdath succeeded in expanding their cultural mission to nurture inclusivity, mainly of the young promising generation of Lebanese musicians, giving them the stage to perform side by side with highly skilled German professionals. The Strings of Hope Concert will take place in Baabdath on Wednesday November 1st at the New Church of the Maronite Parish.
The seventh concert of Les Musicales de Baabdath 2023 edition is a fine illustration of the way music merges and bridges cultures transcending distance and time. The organizing committee is proud to invite, with the support of the Embassy of Brazil in Lebanon, Instituto Guimarães Rosa Beirut, and the Dalloul Art Foundation (DAF), the Brazilian pianist Hercules Gomes. On Thursday November 9, Mr. Gomes will present to the audience in Baabdath a unique concert that features a culturally rich repertoire dedicated to Brazilian ‘Choro.’ Described by Heitor Villa-Lobos as the “Soul of the Brazilian people,” Choro is a musical genre that emerged in the late 19th century in
Brazil, particularly in Rio de Janeiro, stemming from African, indigenous, and European cultural heritage. On the dearest instrument to his heart, the piano, Hercules Gomes will translate this highly evocative music of the Brazilian identity utilizing a marked jazzy twist blended with marked virtuosity.
In addition to the concert and in support of Les Musicales’ mission to boost the skills of Lebanese students in their musical endeavors, Hercules Gomes will give a lecture supported by live piano demonstrations on the topic of Brazilian Choro. The talk will take place at the National Higher Conservatory of Music on the day following the concert.
This eighth concert of this 2023 edition marks an important first collaboration between Les Musicales de Baabdath and the Embassy of Spain in Lebanon translating in having in the town of Baabdath two giants of the global jazz scene in one performance on Tuesday November 14. Ernesto Aurignac (Alto Saxophone) and Moisés P. Sánchez (Piano) will pay tribute to the great classics of jazz music, give a forward-looking consideration to contemporary Jazz, and present their own unique arrangements and spontaneous improvisations. The concert promises to infuse the stage of Les Musicales de Baabdath with the essence of pure jazz power.
The nineth concert of this 2023 edition is brought to music lovers thanks to the support of Mon Liban d’Azur. The concert features the young and rising Swiss harpist, Joel Von Lerber who will perform a solo program in Baabdath on Wednesday November 22. A refined program with a selection of what has best been written or adapted for the harp including Smetana’s The Moldau, Johann Sebastian Bach Toccata and Fugue in D minor, and Franz Liszt Liebestraum.
The 7th edition of Les Musicales de Baabdath will close on Wednesday November 29 in Baabdath with the wordwide acclaimed Arcis Saxophon Quartett thanks to the valuable support of the Embassy of Germany in Lebanon. Claus Hierluksch (soprano saxophone), Ricarda Fuss (alto saxophone), Anna-Marie Schäfer (tenor saxophone), and Jure Knez (Baritone Saxophone) will perform works by Mozart, Shostakovich’s and Gerswhin giving the closing of the 2023 season a jazzy wind-up.
Les Musicales de Baabdath continues to offer the public free admission to world class music thanks to the continued support of dedicated sponsors and partners. Hence, the organizing committee would like to warmly thank the Municipality and the Maronite Parish of Baabdath, partners, patrons, sponsors, and benefactors from Baabdath and beyond. Without their unfailing support, this 2023 edition would not have been possible.
All concerts start at 8 pm sharp. Admission to all concerts is free. No reservations are required. No tickets. The doors of the churches open to the public 45 minutes before the concerts. Seats will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Children under the age of seven will not be admitted.
For the second year, Les Musicales de Baabdath is making available to the public, free bus transport from Beirut (Sami El Solh Avenue) to Baabdath and back to Beirut, provided by NAKHAL. To reserve seats, call 01 389 389 or 70 48 46 40. For further information regarding the program, logistics, and other details, visit Les Musicales de Baabdath website on: lesmusicales.org