Saudi Orchestra…An Artistic Experience Elevating National Music To International Horizons
When a group of international musicians stood on the sidelines of the G20 Culture Ministers meeting in India to perform “Sur Vasudha”, celebrating the musical heritage of these countries, the leader of the Saudi Orchestra appeared in his national costume and Arabic accent to participate. in the song, which described the whole world as one family. From India to France, Mexico, Jordan and many more, the Saudi National Orchestra plays a universal musical language that connects people around the world and reminds them of what they have in common. .
At each international event, with the participation of approximately 70 Saudi artists and instrumentalists, the Saudi National Orchestra and Choir perform a bouquet of folk, patriotic and modern songs that showcase Saudi musical culture and special products of the national music library. .
The Saudi Orchestra has conducted unprecedented international events in which it has blended the diversity and richness of Saudi musical folklore with the music of the host countries. On social media, fans have shared some of the exceptional pieces that the Orchestra and the Saudi National Choir have performed with other international groups, including the Carlos Chávez Orchestra at the National Theater of Mexico, where the audience genuinely applauded in enjoying the great performance blending the two musical experiences.
An 80-year-old experience
The Saudi National Orchestra and Chorus made its debut in 1942, when Saudi Defense Minister Prince Mansour bin Abdulaziz appointed renowned artist and one of the first Saudi composers, Tariq Abdul-Hakim, to form a military band, which became the core of an artistic journey that developed over time and helped create a unique Saudi musical identity.
Abdul-Hakim traveled to Egypt in 1952 to begin preparations for a Saudi orchestra. During his journey, he met esteemed Arab and Egyptian musicians, who helped shape his musical taste and career path. Returning from his trip, which also included Lebanon, he founded the kingdom’s first military music institute and a musical group that paved the way for a prosperous artistic era.
New phase and promising start
In 2019, in light of growing momentum in the cultural sector, the Saudi Ministry of Culture announced the creation of the Saudi National Music Band and the development of a professional team that represents the kingdom internationally and promotes Saudi music and musical heritage. the globe. The ministry chose Saudi crooner Abdel Rab Idris, who has transmitted the Saudi musical experience since its inception, to form the national team and teach different types of Arabic and international music, as well as to support and promote the music industry in Saudi Arabia. , and spread the national musical folklore throughout the world.
Following the revelation of a new cultural network in the kingdom led by the Ministry of Culture, which divided the missions of the sector between 11 specialized commissions, the Saudi Music Commission launched in 2021 its own strategy to develop and support music in the kingdom in line with Vision 2030. As part of its strategy, the commission has supported outlets that facilitate access to Saudi musical product and strengthened the presence of the Saudi National Orchestra and Choir, a improved version of the Saudi national music group born in 2019.
Symbolic power and cultural identity
Maestro Imad Zaree said the National Orchestra and Choir represents Saudi musical heritage internationally and provides a support system for Saudi artists and musicians in different fields. He also noted that the national group supports the local artistic movement with the discovery of talents and their qualification through specially organized programs, as well as by supporting the different artistic fields, promoting Saudi heritage internationally and reinforcing the objectives of Vision 2030, which defines culture, in its various categories, as a symbolic power, a cultural identity and an economic complement.
Zaree, who has conducted the National Orchestra and Choir in several international events, praised the ministry’s efforts to lay out plans that resulted in early achievements in international events. “We have seen the efforts of the Minister of Culture, Prince Badr bin Abdullah and their remarkable interest in supporting the founding of the group and the development of its work. These efforts are manifested in the level of professionalism of the group members who perform local and Arab arts,” he added. This serves the interests of Saudi art and artists and helps spread the Saudi musical experience to the world.
Thriving Saudi music and arts
Music has flourished in Saudi Arabia with many new experiences and entities created to grow the music industry and nurture up-and-coming talent. The sector has witnessed new initiatives and the opening of new music institutes for those who wish to develop their potential and engage in the new artistic phase.
Since February 2020, the Music Commission has been working to develop the infrastructure of a musical culture in the Kingdom, providing everyone with the opportunity to learn music, as well as to discover, develop and empower musical talents, to make know the musical culture and establish a sector that contributes to the national economy by creating jobs for both sexes, live cultural performances, musical recordings and centers for amateur musical education. The commission also focused on the revival and documentation of Saudi Arabian folklore and musical performances in order to develop national and social sense, develop Saudi Arabia’s musical cultural identity and promote it regionally and globally. , and to highlight the kingdom’s leading position in the Arab and Islamic world.