Al-Nour Wal Amal Chamber Orchestra began a tour across Hong Kong and China on Wednesday with a concert at the Hong Kong Community Hall, in the heart of the city.
Conducted by Mohamed Saad Basha, the orchestra of blind musicians performed in front of an audience of several hundred.
The evening opened with Rossini's Overture to the Barber of Seville, followed by numerous compositions from the Western classic music repertoire, such as Tchaikovsky's Russian and Chinese Dance, Strauss's The Blue Danube, the first movement from Mozart's Symphony no. 40, Brahms's Hungarian Dances no. 1 and 5, Saint-Saens's Bacchanale, and Bizet's Farandole from the Carmen Suite, among others.
A touch of Egyptian flair was provided by Ahmed Abou Eleid's composition By the Shore of the Nile, Mohamed Abdel Wahab's The Mamluks (adapted by Ali Osman), and Rageh Dawoud's Dance for Flute and Chamber Orchestra.
Musicians from Al Nour Wal Amal Chamber Orchestra, Hong Kong Community Hall (Photo: Ati Metwaly)
The evening was also interspersed with music segments by Hong Kong artists, including a young violinist, a visually impaired pianist and a singer, as well as a group of dancers.
The listeners applauded the orchestra warmly and were particularly touched by a moment of surprise, and the evening’s highlight, when the musicians played one of the country's traditional compositions, arranged for the ensemble.
In the introductory note, Amal Fikry, vice president of Al-Nour Wal Amal Association and responsible for the Music Institute and the Chamber Orchestra, introduced the musicians, briefly mentioning the history of this unique ensemble.
She pointed to the formation of the Music Institute in the 1960s, and the formation of the ensemble and their first significant concert at the Old Opera House in the early 1970s.
While orchestra has toured around the world, this is their first visit to Hong Kong and China.
Fikry added that the first tour of the Al-Nour Wal Amal orchestra was in 1988 when the musicians visited Austria. They have since visited five continents and dozens of countries.
"The orchestra's tour to Hong Kong and China is the orchestra's 31st international tour," Fikry said.
From Hong Kong, the orchestra moves to China, where it will perform in two cities: Zhuhai on Saturday 5 August, followed by Guangzhou on Monday 7 August.
Violinist Shaimaa Yehia from Al Nour Wal Amal Chamber Orchestra, Hong Kong Community Hall (Photo: Ati Metwaly) (Photo: Ati Metwaly)
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