Ten years on Finnish-Egyptian Musical Bridge

18-03-2017 07:59 PM

Mary Fikry


To commemorate Finland’s 100 years of independence as well as the tenth anniversary of the Finnish-Egyptian Musical Bridge, Laura Kansikas-Debraise, Head of Mission of the Embassy of Finland in Cairo, last week held a celebration in her house in Cairo.
In her speech, Ms Kansikas-Debraise said that the slogan of the celebration is ‘Together’ meaning that we unite to accomplish work together.
She said that the 10-year-old Finnish-Egyptian Musical Bridge, which was not designed primarily for Finland’s independence celebration, was yet a strong example of the idea of ‘accomplishing work together’.
The bridge carries special musical value, she said, and it now marks ten years on Egyptian Finnish musical collaboration. This year, she said, the celebration lasts for almost ten days in March, and mark’s two occasions: the tenth anniversary of Musical Bridge, and Finland’s 100 years of independence. It runs in both Cairo and Alexandria.

The Musical Bridge is the brainchild of the well-known Finnish pianist and conductor Ralf Gothóni, with the aim of promoting cultural relations between Finland and Egypt by bringing together musicians from the two countries.
Since 2007, the Musical Bridge has been a valuable stepping stone for leading many young Egyptian opera singers and musicians to international careers. The Bridge joins together talented Egyptian musicians from the Cairo Opera House with world renowned Finnish maestros and performers through musical workshops, master classes and joint performances. Some of the young musicians are later invited to continue their studies at the Savonlinna Music Academy in Finland, and to perform during the International Savonlinna Opera Festival in the summertime.

During this year’s Musical Bridge, Mr. Gothóni and his professional colleagues organised workshops with Egyptian musicians and singers in both Cairo and Alexandria. In addition, it treated Cairo’s classic music lovers to three concerts, all free of charge: an opera concert for the most famous opera arias and two chamber music concerts playing classic pieces. Two concerts were also held for the first time at Bibliotheca Alexandrina.
Alongside these three concerts, there was a photo exhibition entitled “Stories from the Past – Ancient Rock Art in Egypt and Finland” by Finnish photographer Paivi Arvonen at the lobbies of both the Arab Music Institute and the Cairo Opera House. The exhibition was part of the celebration of the Centenary of Finland’s independence this year.

Watani International
18 March 2017

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