Islam Abd El Aziz, Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (QPO) Viola Player, tells QF Telegraph about music’s role in his life, and in enhancing Qatar’s cultural reputation across the world.
Where does your love of music come from?
I have studied music since I was nine years old. My parents are musicians and they wanted me to follow in their footsteps.
Who is your musical hero?
A famous viola player called William Primrose, because he played with passion and had so many of his own ideas about the music. I listen to his CDs all the time and try to learn how he is playing all these famous pieces.
How is QPO contributing to Qatar National Vision 2030?
Music is very important to the cultural life of this country, and QPO is a showcase for the musical talent that is here in Qatar. We play pieces from Qatar’s own composers; we have conductors visiting us; we do tours; and we present Qatar to the world. For the audience in Qatar, to hear and to live with classical music is something new. Qatar Foundation has supported us a lot and given us the opportunity to play.
What inspires you?
The moment in a concert when something about the music touches you, and you look around to see a lot of other people feeling the same way. I love that there is a point in a concert when you feel: “OK, they have got the message!” It is a really great feeling.
What qualities does a professional musician need?
You need to play constantly, because you are looking to be in the greatest orchestra in the world. We have so much support, which means we always need to work harder. Football players must train all the time to play a match, and we must train all the time to play a concert and be at the level required of a professional orchestra.
What do you like most about living and working in Qatar?
I actually feel I know everybody here. It is a country that feels like one big family. If I go to the mall, I will always see someone I know, which is a great feeling.
How would you describe yourself in one word?
Proud, because I am doing what I love. I play music to big audiences, which not everybody has the opportunity to do. It is really nice to work in Qatar, with this support and these facilities, and to have this experience. I feel I have fulfilled a dream.