Amwaj: The water symphony

Updated 30 May 2012

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/


No cheating: Frenchwoman was world’s oldest person, researchers say

Updated 16 September 2019

No cheating: Frenchwoman was world’s oldest person, researchers say

  • Calment “remains the oldest human whose age is well-documented”

PARIS: Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, who died two decades ago aged 122, should retain the title of the oldest person on record, French researchers said Monday, rejecting claims of fraud.
Ageing specialists Jean-Marie Robine and Michel Allard, who declared Calment the longest-lived person in the 1990s, said their review of old and new data confirmed she “remains the oldest human whose age is well-documented.”
“Recently the claim that families Calment and Billot (her in-laws) organized a conspiracy concerning tax fraud based on identity fraud between mother and daughter gained international media attention,” Robine, Allard and two other researchers wrote in The Journals of Gerontology.
“Here, we reference the original components of the validation as well as additional documentation to address various claims of the conspiracy theory and provide evidence for why these claims are based on inaccurate facts,” they wrote.
Calment, who used to joke that God must have forgotten her, died in southern France in 1997, setting a longevity record that has been questioned.
Last December, Russian researchers Valery Novoselov and Nikolay Zak claimed in a report that Calment had actually died in 1934 and that her daughter Yvonne stole her identity to avoid paying inheritance tax.
According to their research, the woman who died in 1997 was Yvonne, not her mother, and at a young 99.
The Russian report was based on biographies, interviews and photos of Jeanne Calment, witness testimony, and public records of the city of Arles where she lived.
The new article insists Calment’s identity “has not been usurped,” according to a statement from the French research institute INSERM, where Robine works as research director.
The authors cross-checked the original data used to validate the centenarian’s identity with newly uncovered documents, to show “there was neither tax fraud nor falsification of Jeanne Calment’s identity” the article says.
The team also turned to mathematical modelling to counter arguments that her considerable age was impossible.
In every 10 million centenarians, one can reach the age of 123, they said, “a probability that is certainly small, but that is far from making Ms Calment a statistical impossibility.”
“All the documents uncovered contradict the Russian thesis,” Robine told AFP, as the team demanded a retraction from Zak and Novoselov.
Novoselov, however, insisted Monday that the original work verifying Calment’s identity and age “is full of flaws and mistakes,” while Zak said he found the new article “weak.”
Born on February 21, Calment became the biggest attraction of the southern French city of Arles since Vincent Van Gogh, who spent a year there in 1888.
She said she had met the artist when he came to her uncle’s store to buy paints, and remembered him as “ugly as sin” and having an “awful character.”
Calment used to talk of enjoying chocolate and port and would smoke an occasional cigarette before her health deteriorated.
INSERM said however that it could not “support any requests for exhumation” of Calment’s body, on which no autopsy was performed after her death.