Muti conducts Syria musicians in memorial concert amid ruins

In this Jan. 1, 2018 file photo, Italian Maestro Riccardo Muti conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra during the traditional New Year's concert at the golden hall of Vienna's Musikverein, Austria. Nine musicians from the Syrian diaspora in Europe are playing in the 24th friendship concert conducted by Riccardo Muti, this year at the Paestum archaeological site in southern Italy, but the coronavirus pandemic blocked others from arriving directly from Syria. (AP)
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Updated 05 July 2020

Muti conducts Syria musicians in memorial concert amid ruins

  • Nine Syrian musicians in Europe are playing in the 24th friendship concert conducted by Riccardo Muti

RAVENNA: Nine musicians from the Syrian diaspora in Europe are playing Sunday in the 24th friendship concert conducted by Riccardo Muti, this year at the Paestum archaeological site in southern Italy, but the coronavirus pandemic blocked others from arriving directly from Syria.
The concert Sunday by the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra founded by Muti, part of the Ravenna Festival summer series, is dedicated to Syrian archaeologist Khaled Al-Asaad and Kurdish-Syrian politician Hevreen Khalaf, both of whom were slain during Syria’s ongoing civil war.
“These concerts give to Ravenna the possibility to be an important ambassador of peace and brotherhood from Italy,” Muti told The Associated Press earlier this month in Ravenna. Khalaf was killed by Syrian fighters trained by Turkey 2019, and Al-Asaad was beheaded in 2015 by fighters of the Daesh group after he refused to aid their destruction of the ancient Roman city at Palmyra, a UN world heritage site.
Muti launched the Roads of Friendship concert series in 1997 in Sarajevo, shortly after Bosnia’s 1992-1995 civil war ended, and has since traveled to cities wounded by war, including Beirut, as well as in ancient and historic sites to “reestablish ties” with places that have made history, including the ancient Roman amphitheater in the southern Syrian city of Bosra.
“We can build bridges between civilizations, between people, with music,” said Karoun Baghboudarian, a cellist living in the Netherlands who is playing in Sunday’s concert and who sang in the chorus during the 2004 concert in Bosra — before Syria devolved into war, a period when she said musicians’ lives flourished.
Her brother, Missak Baghboudarian, conducts the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra and had hoped to travel to Italy to conduct a concert in Ravenna and attend the Paestum concert of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, known as the “Heroic,” but was unable to travel because of travel restrictions imposed by the coronavirus. Instead, the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra streamed Beethoven’s “Heroic” from Damascus on July 2.
Karoun Baghboudarian said she hoped the concert would renew attention on Syrians’ suffering.
“We hope that Syria will come through the war and all the difficult situations as heroes, and that they can live normally,” she said by phone from Paestum.


Bella Hadid lands Michael Kors fashion campaign

Updated 23 September 2020

Bella Hadid lands Michael Kors fashion campaign

DUBAI: The fashion campaigns just keep rolling in for Bella Hadid. The part-Palestinian model was selected to star in the new Michael Kors fall 2020 ad campaign, which was shot by Swedish photographer Mikael Jansson. 

Appearing alongside models Luke Maehlmann and Kendall Harrison, the half-Dutch catwalker looks the part of a rock star on tour wearing bohemian designs, oversized felt hats, patchwork prints, yellow-tinted aviator sunglasses and leather handbags.

“The campaign channels the ultimate in rock star glamour,” said Michael Kors in a release. “The laid-back cool, the attitude and the star power.”

For Hadid, who has been an ambassador for Michael Kors since 2018 and featured in the brand’s spring 2019, holiday 2019 and spring 2020 ready-to-wear campaigns, working with the American house is familiar territory.

The 23-year-old has long been a muse for the American label and has also walked for the brand during New York Fashion Week.

The designer announced in June that he has opted out of New York Fashion Week’s fall edition this year in favor of a presentation in either October or November. Whether or not the new campaign can be taken as a barometer of the label’s forthcoming spring 2021 collection, something tells us that house favorite, Bella, could be involved. 

Indeed, the younger sister of Gigi Hadid hasn’t let the global health pandemic slow her down. In fact, she’s been as busy as ever, in spite of the restrictions brought about by the coronavirus.

In addition to her latest work with Michael Kors, the California-bred model also recently appeared in a beauty campaign for Dior as well as British heritage house Burberry’s Pocket Bag campaign.

Hadid also featured in an ad for fine jewelry label Bulgari, shot by Brooklyn-based photographer Tyler Mitchell.

And fashion lovers may recall that back in June, Hadid and Hailey Baldwin Bieber were spotted tanning on a yacht in Sardinia during lockdown.

As it turns out Bieber and Hadid, who were recently revealed as the faces of Versace’s Dylan Turquoise and Dylan Blue women’s fragrances, respectively, were shooting new-season campaigns for the Italian house. 

The part-Arab catwalker was also the star of Calvin Klein’s spring 2020 campaign for its CK Swim range, alongside Italian-Moroccan model Malika El-Maslouhi.