French-Lebanese composer Zad Moultaka on Thursday night performed the world premiere of his new musical and visual composition Requiem for A New World in Italy.
The performance, which took place at the Basilica S S Giovanni e Paolo in Venice, and was live-streamed to a global audience, not only paid tribute to Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, but also raised funds for young students affected by the 2020 Beirut port explosion.
The piece was inspired by the theme of ritual found in Stravinsky’s work. The composer had a deep love for Venice, and his final composition, Requiem Canticles, was performed at his funeral in 1971, which took place in the same venue Moultaka performed his concert, marking 50 years since Stravinsky’s death.
Moultaka also drew from a poem by Lebanese writer Etel Adnan for the main composition. Adnan explores futuristic themes in the new work, which describes when humans decide to move to outer space, reflecting on the processes involved in establishing another civilisation.
An orchestra of 60 column loudspeakers conducted by Roland Hayrabedian, founder of vocal performance company Musicatreize, could be heard, alongside a choir and counter-tenor Raffaele Pe.
The funds from the concert are being donated to Lebanese non-profit arcenciel, which aims to support 50,000 students whose access to higher education has been impacted by the tragic events in Lebanon last summer, by funding scholarships and supplying devices and stable internet.
Moultaka is an award-winning composer and visual artist born in Lebanon in 1967. He started playing piano at the age of 5, and moved to Paris in 1984. His musical language takes influence from his western training and Mediterranean roots.
Watch the full performance here (from 15 minutes):