Amwaj: The water symphony

Updated 30 May 2012
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Amwaj: The water symphony

BMG Foundation, the corporate cultural responsibility division of BMG Financial Group, in collaboration with The Al-Waleed Bin Talal Foundation as part of their Foundation Classics cultural initiative, will host a classical music concert performed by the world renowned and celebrated Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) under the patronage of The Duke of York. The concert will be led by the artistic direction of Principal Conductor Maestro Charles Dutoit and will take place at Cadogan Hall, London, on June 19, 2012.
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which has gained an international repute for bringing world-class musicians and a wide-range of musical influences and genres to their repertoire, will have award-winning Arab composer and pianist Malek Jandali perform at the concert. Jandali is the first Arab musician to arrange the oldest notation in the world, which is featured in his 2008 album, “Echoes from Eugarit.”
Jandali, whose musical career kick-started after having bagged first prize at the National Young Artist’s competition and “Outstanding Musical Performer Award” in 1997 in the United States, was also felicitated with the “Freedom of Expression” award in Los Angeles in 2011 for his song “Watani Ana-I am my homeland” and his untiring activism efforts during the Arab Spring, advocating for human rights and democracy.
“The message of my music is universal and my role as an artist is to spread the message of peace, harmony and love through music. I have the responsibility to ensure that the voice of the people is being heard and is not tainted with fear and oppression,” said Jandali.
The evening’s musicale will be guided under the able direction of star conductor Vartan Melkonian who rose from the slums of Lebanon as an orphan with a speech impediment to become a master conductor of classical music in London’s most notable halls, directing orchestra ensembles in the likes of the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra among many others, both in the United Kingdom and abroad.
Recently appointed as the Patron of Consortium for Street Children and its Ambassador to the United Nations, Melkonian has especially composed the piece “Amwaj” (meaning “waves” in Arabic) for the BMG Foundation Classics’ evening.
“With this composition, I would hope to start a Post-Atonal Renaissance Era for the listener of elegant music,” shared Melkonian.
“Melkonian contributes to the world his poetic genius with his composition, “Amwaj: The Water Symphony,” a piece that will elevate our faculties and influence our appreciation for the world’s most precious resource which is water,” said Basil Ghalayini, Chairman of BMG Foundation.
“When exposed to different types of music and words, the molecular structure of water changes, revealing various beautiful or degenerative shapes. As we ourselves are comprised of 70 percent water, our intent, words, ideas and music have a profound healing or destructive effect upon us. Ultimately, what we think and expose ourselves to, creates our reality,” he further added.
Princess Ameerah Al-Taweel, vice-chairwoman of the board of trustees of the Al-Waleed Bin Talal Foundation and wife of Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal, is expected to grace the evening with her esteemed presence as guest of honor.
She recently secured fourth place on “The Most Powerful Arab Women” 2012 List, representing the advancement of modern Saudi women through her promotion of cross-cultural relations, dynamic participation in philanthropic and charitable activities around the world and engaging dialogue with the Western media on various women’s rights issues in Saudi Arabia.
The foundation, which has been taking immense pride in fostering values of mutual respect, tolerance and understanding between the East and the West through their Art Alive, GCC Polo Cup and Foundation Classics initiatives, also organizes fundraising charity events supporting various NGOs and trust funds in the Middle East, Asia and Europe and social responsibility campaigns as part of their cultural and social outreach program.
Early this year, they launched a nationwide youth competition in Saudi Arabia to initiate their year-long campaign, “Our Water, Our Life,” to raise public awareness in the Kingdom, highlighting the urgent need for adopting economical and prudent water practices and influencing positive shifts in social behavior in view of the global water scarcity crisis and similar predictions in the GCC region.
Proceeds from the concert’s ticket sales will go toward supporting the foundation’s “Our Water, Our Life” environmental interest initiative.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit: www.cadoganhall.com/event/bmg-foundation-presents-amwaj/


If proven, Smollett allegations could be a ‘career killer’

Updated 22 February 2019
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If proven, Smollett allegations could be a ‘career killer’

  • “This could be a career-killer. We’ve seen this many times. Society has become more intolerant and unforgiving,” according to a PR expert
  • After a three-week investigation, Smollett was charged with staging the attack with help from two brothers he knew and allegedly paid for their services

LOS ANGELES: Jussie Smollett is enmeshed in weekly drama on the set of “Empire,” the Fox TV series that gave the actor a breakout role and the fame to advance his social activism.
But a scene that played out on a dark Chicago street in January has left Smollett facing felony charges and raised the possibility that “Empire” could mark the pinnacle of the 38-year-old’s career.
Smollett, who is black and gay, told police he was the victim of a hate crime committed by men who threw liquid in his face, yelled racist, anti-gay slurs and looped a noose around his neck. After a three-week investigation, Smollett was charged Wednesday with staging the attack with help from two brothers he knew and allegedly paid for their services.
Even in an industry in which bad or erratic behavior is expected, insiders and observers are stunned by what authorities allege was fakery intended in part to get Smollett publicity and a raise.
“This is incredible. No one does this,” said Garth Ancier, a veteran network executive and a co-founder of the Fox network. If more money was his goal, that’s what agents and negotiations are for, he said, calling the alleged hoax “beyond the pale.”
“It’s too bad that such a talented guy threw all that away,” Ancier said, adding he didn’t see how he could be kept on “Empire.”
Producers appeared to be doing that for now, with Smollett traveling directly after being released from jail on bond Thursday to the “Empire” set. There are two episodes left to make of the 18 airing this season, the fifth year for the series starring Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard as hip-hop moguls Cookie and Lucious Lyon.
Replacing Smollett at this point would be problematic. Writing his character, one of three Lyon sons, out of future seasons would be less so.
Smollett’s legal team released a statement late Thursday calling Chicago police’s version of events “an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system.
“Mr. Smollett is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing,” the statement said.
After Smollett was charged, TNT’s celebrity battle-rap series “Drop the Mic” pulled an upcoming episode with him “in the interest of not being exploitative of an incredibly sensitive situation,” the network said in a statement.
The Fox studio that makes “Empire” publicly stood behind Smollett when he first reported the attack and as skepticism about it arose. But it declined comment Thursday about what happens next as he fights charges of filing a false police report.
Experts in the field of crisis management were pessimistic. The online mockery Smollett is taking is unlikely to stop, and it could hinder any attempt to re-emerge, said Eric Dezenhall, CEO of the public relations firm Dezenhall Resources.
“The thing it’s really hard to come back from is ridicule,” Dezenhall said. “It can be easier to come back from something just bad. In our culture the whiff of something dangerous has a certain street cred. But here we’re talking about a combination of malevolence and ridiculousness.”
Eden Gillott, president of Gillott Communications, offered a similar take.
“This could be a career-killer. We’ve seen this many times. Society has become more intolerant and unforgiving,” said Gillott, citing instances ranging from Kevin Spacey’s firing from “House of Cards” for alleged sexual misconduct to Megyn Kelly’s “Today” exit after she defended blackface costumes.
What Smollett is alleged to have done isn’t analogous to either one — or to just about anything that’s happened with a celebrity or prominent person in recent memory or in news files.
There have been stunts, such as Joaquin Phoenix’s role in a so-called documentary, “I’m Still Here,” directed by actor Casey Affleck and supposedly about Phoenix’s career as a rapper in decline. The film’s release came with public apologies and lawsuits attached.
Others have exaggerated their exploits, such as TV journalist Brian Williams’ account of being in a helicopter hit by a rocket in the 2003 Iraq invasion or Hillary Clinton’s 2008 account of landing under sniper fire during a 1990s trip as first lady.
But Smollett, instead of creating an image-burnishing fiction, positioned himself as a victim and the deserving centerpiece for outrage directed at his attackers. He said those who questioned him made him feel “victimized.”
The allegation that Smollett did it for money could be seen as both a betrayal and baffling, given what he earns: more than $1.8 million for the current 18-episode season of “Empire,” according to a person familiar with the situation.
Dezenhall said it would be tough for Smollett, who proclaimed himself innocent of the charges through his lawyers, to explain himself publicly.
“All of us have said something stupid, put something in an email we shouldn’t have — we can understand that. But very few of us would say, ‘I would orchestrate something like that to advance my career.’ There’s a difference between a mistake and a scheme,” Dezenhall said. His advice to Smollett: “’Vanish for a few years, take up a cause, devote yourself to doing something good, and revisit it later.’“
Or search out people like Kandi Burruss, the singer-songwriter and reality star.
“I consider him a friend. I love him and regardless of if it’s true or not, I’m still going to be here for him. I hate the situation but I don’t hate the person,” she told The Associated Press Thursday at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood luncheon.