Romeo and Juliet across musical genres
Our 2018 concert is going to focus on various musical adaptation of William Shakespeare's perhaps most famous play, "Romeo and Juliet". We are planning to perform music from Sergei Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet suite, two arias from operas by Vincenzo Bellini and Charles Gounod, Nino Rota's famous film score to Franco Zeffirelli's film, and excerpts from Leonard Bernstein's "West Side Story", also celebrating the 100th anniversary of the composer's birth. Based on the success of our last year's concerts, we are expecting a full house of enthusiastic audience.
Themed concerts: learning through fun and helping those in need
Our concerts aim to introduce young people to the world of symphonic music by offering programs which combine classical repertoire pieces along with popular music such as film score suites or musicals. Our last year's concert was titled "Tales from Around the World and Beyond" in which we performed music by classical composers such as Carl Nielsen or Edvard Grieg, alongside symphonic suites of "The Lord of the Rings Trilogy", and excerpts from the score of "Game of Thrones" and "Pirates of the Caribbean". The concert was a huge success, and the enthusiastic response on both the audience's and the musicians' part has provided a great inspiration for us to continue. The concerts are also meant to serve as charity events, in which we collects donations for local charity organizations. Last year, our choice of charity was the organization called "Bike Mafia", whose members provide people in abject poverty with food, clothes, and other bare essentials.
In the academic year 2016/17, I was coordinating a student project at the University of Debrecen, Hungary under the aegis of the P2P: Challenging Extremism (later Digital Challenge) international student program. My students created a group called Zerophobia, which organized awareness raising programs against xenophobia, racism, hate-speech throughout the academic year. The programs included an international potluck, a street-art event, and later we also developed an educational workshop specifically for teenagers aiming to raise their awareness of the central role of language and communication. The most successful of our programs, however, were two symphonic concerts (under my musical direction), which we organized as charity events and as a meeting place for members of the local international community. The events proved a success in terms of charity donations as well as artistic value, so both our audience and the participating musicians are eager for us to continue, which we would be happy to do, provided we get proper funding. The concerts last year were funded from the budget of the P2P project, which is no longer available for us.