In the Persian Gulf!
Qatar to be exact. The former Pittsburgh Symphony maestro and Pittsburgh native conducted the first concert of the newly formed Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra today (meaning it already happened there Oct. 30). The program was a mix of two well-known Western works -- Beethoven’s Symphony No.5 and Maurice Ravel’s "Bolero" -- and the world premiere of "Arabian Concerto," by Lebanese composer Marcel Khalife. The royal family of Qatar, including Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani attended.
No doubt Maazel was paid well for his appearance, but he deserves it. Bringing Western classical music to the area is no easy sell, although the orchestra is a part of a greater initiative to increase the cultural offerings in the peninsula (Qatar is located in the box in the map).
"The development of Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra is aimed at encouraging greater appreciation of classical music in the region and inspiring the reemergence of orchestral Arabian music," said a presser on the concert. Just another example of classical music's boom outside of the the West. Good luck to them as they develop this project.